Hate Speech & Anti-LGBTI Media

Turkish media and similar sources with anti-LGBTI, homophobic propaganda

Group that targeted gays in Ankara indicted for Al Qaeda membership

Five suspects who are members of the Young Islamic Defense group are on trial for membership in Al Qaeda after they targeted homosexuals on social media and with posters hanging in the Turkish capital Ankara that said “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot [1], kill the doer and the done both.”

Source: Murat Benli, “Eşcinselleri hedef alanlar ‘El Kaide’den”, Hurriyet, 27 January 2017, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/escinselleri-hedef-alanlar-el-kaideden-40348739

An investigation began after a tip that the ‘Young Islamic Defense’ group targeted homosexuals on social media and hung posters on the streets on 7 July 2015, according to the indictment prepared by prosecutor Velihattin Eldemir.

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PRO-NUSRA FRONT

According to the indictment, this group has supported associations in Ankara that are in contact with groups in war zones organizing aid campaigns for Syria and protests. “It has been determined that [the group] has distributed texts, posters, and brochures in various areas of Ankara and have shared pro-Nusra Front [now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham] posts on social media,” the indictment says.

The group is not an official association and continues its activities via announcements on social media. It has been alleged that the group is connected to Ersin Mirac K who is loyal to pro-Nusra Front and is a ‘radical Salafi’. The indictment says:

‘FIRST CONTACT IS GARIP-DER’

“It is known that the people from our country crossing to so-called jihad areas first contact the association Garip-Der in Istanbul, and cross the border illegally from Hatay’s Reyhanli district by paying smugglers. According to open sources, international powers do not consider the Nusra Front a part of the Free Syrian Army and list it as a terror organization.”

[1] Tribe of Lot refers to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the twin cities which Prophet Lot was sent to with God’s message and were destroyed by God when the community did not reign in its lust. The trope is often used against LGBT communities in the Muslim world.

Fashion Designer Barbaros Şansal Arrested for Social Media Video

Fashion designer Barbaros Şansal, who was taken into custody following his deportation back to Turkey due to his posts on social media, was arrested by the court he was taken after the prosecutor’s interrogation.

Source: BBC Türkçe, “Modacı Barbaros Şansal tutuklandı” (“Fashion Designer Barbaros Şansal is Arrested”), 3 January 2017, http://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-38496401

Şansal’s attorney Efkan Bolaç announced the arrest warrant on his Twitter account.

Barbaros Şansal’s arrest was demanded under the accusation of “Public incitement for hatred and hostility or insult.”

In his statement to the prosecutor regarding his tweet subjected to the accusations, Şansal said “My purpose here was to draw attention to unjust treatment to which people of three different beliefs are subjected. No discriminatory, hateful and spiteful language is used.”

Doğan Haber Ajansı (DHA) [Doğan News Agency –Trans.] reported that fashion designer Şansal gave the following testimony regarding the aforementioned video:

“I had given an interview to a website called Reportare on 19 October 2015. The headline of this interview was “Drown in your s…, Turkey.” I shared these words in the video as a satire against discrimination. This was followed by insults on the phone by hackers. I have shut down all my accounts and communication because of this. I have no means of communication since January 1, 2017. I do not accept the accusations.”

Attack on Barbaros Şansal on the Airstairs

‘We could not contain our nationalistic feelings’

On the other hand, it has been reported that at least eight more people’s statement were taken regarding the attack Barbaros Şansal was subjected to on Monday evening at Istanbul Atatürk airport.

Among the people whose involvement in the attack were confirmed by their employers are three personnels of the ground crew company TGS [Turkish Ground Services — Trans.] who are now subject to an administrative investigation. It has been reported that total of 12 TGS ground crew were interrogated.

According to reports on Doğan News Agency, one of the suspects delivered the following statement “We could not contain our nationalistic feelings. We shouted. We could not do anything due to the police shield.”

Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi (DHMİ) [State Airports Administration –Trans.] announced that an investigation has been started regarding the attack on the apron. DHMİ’s statement included the following expression: “There is no question of negligence and weakness on our General Administration’s part.”

Akıncı: Lynch attempt should make us all think

Meanwhile, the leader of Northern Cyprus Mustafa Akıncı made a statement on the deportation of fashion designer Barbaros Şansal following the video he shared on social media and the consequent attack at the airport.

Akıncı stated that the deportation decision is based on an earlier decision made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and added that “Even though, it is impossible to approve of Barbaros Şansal’s sensational discourses, the deportation decision turning into a lynching attempt should make us all think deeply.”

Akıncı continued in his written statement as follows:

“This event may not have taken place in our country. However, I watch the attempts to plant the seeds of hatred, spite and lynch culture in our own country and society with a grave worry. We should not give hate, spite and lych culture a chance.

Law is the foundation of protecting, defining, and expanding the borders of freedom of expression. Lynch culture replacing the law is the biggest enemy of polyphonic democratic pluralist community life. What we need is for pluralist democratic constitutional state and community life to become enshrined, advance and improve; not for lynch culture to replace it.”

Editor’s note: Barbaros Şansal is an openly gay fashion designer and a public figure based in İstanbul.

 

Kaos GL: Lynch Attempt Against Barbaros Şansal is a Hate Crime!

Kaos GL’s statement on Barbaros Şansal’s having become a target and taken into custody, and lynching attempt: Freedom of expression is a legal right, but lynching is a hate crime!

Source: Kaos GL, “Kaos GL: Barbaros Şansal’a linç girişimi nefret suçudur!” (“Kaos GL: Lynch Attempt Against Barbaros Şansal is a Hate Crime!”), 3 January 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22737

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Famous fashion designer Barbaros Şansal was deported from Northern Cyprus because of a post on social media. Şansal, having been sent back to Turkey, was subjected to a lynch attempt at the İstanbul Atatürk Airport.

Şansal was exposed to verbal harassment by a group of men while being taken off the plane by cops. The attackers, who sweared at Şanal in a sexist tone, later surrounded Şansal and beaten him.

The police took Şansal into custody. Attorney Efkan Bolaç announced via social media that Şansal had given testimony in the Police Station and that he will be taken to the prosecutor’s office later today.

[A video recording of the lynch attempt is available on the source website –Trans.]

In the video Şansal shared on social media, he had said “Are you still celebrating the New Year while so many journalists are under arrest, so many children are being harassed or raped, corruption and bribery are over the top, and bigots share crap on the streets together with religious annunciators. Drown in your crap, Turkey.”

In 2012, Şansal was threatened with the words “You will pay for what you wrote and what you did”, and was attacked at Taksim Ayaspaşa.

Kaos GL: We are following the situation worriedly

After the lynch attempt against Şansal, Kaos GL Association shared a press release:

“We follow the updates on fashion designer Barbaros Şansal’s deportation from Northern Cyprus, then being subjected to a lynch attempt at Atatürk Airport and taken into custody with worry. We know the formula of the media’s firsthand targeting of an individual after sharing their opinion on social media  and then being subjected to a lynch attempt under the watch of law-enforcement officers.”

“Our LGBTİ activist friend from Balıkesir, Uğur Bülbül, was arrested in the last days of December because of his posts on social media. As Büber stated in his defense, “Duties of human right activists are  to express when somethings are going wrong and need to be fixed or changed; working for the sake of it and reminding lawmakers of its importance.”

Şansal’s right to life was attacked!

“Barbaros Şansal’s numerous legal rights and freedoms were violated including freedom of expression which is protected under the current Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, and his life was at risk. There are many questions about this step-by-step organized lynch attempt, yet six of these questions should be urgently answered by authorities:

*What are the elements of crime in the video that Barbaros Şansal shared on social media? Which statements are violating which laws, and why?

*Şansal was deported from Northern Cyprus on what grounds?

*Are there any legal actions against mainstream media, including Sabah newspaper, which targeted Şansal using expressions such as “The scum who poured out insults on Turkey ”?

*It is obvious that Şansal has received homophobic insults and was threatened due to his sexual orientation. Are there any legal actions on these insults and threats which form the basis of  hate crimes?

*How did the attackers break into the apron where it is forbidden for everyone except the ground crew due to airport security? What were they doing there?

*It is claimed that most of the attackers are ground crew. If so, is there any legal action against those members of personnel?

Freedom of Expression is a Legal Right, but Lynching is a Hate Crime!

“The response to expressing one’s opinions cannot to be targeted in newspapers, deported, having taken under custody or be the subject of a lynch attempt! The lynch attempt against Barbaros Şansal is a hate crime based on its organized formation and attackers’ expressions. We stand against  every action against the freedom of expression. We condemn the arrest of Uğur Büber due expressing opinions on social media, and Barbaros Şansal being the subject of a lynch attempt and being taken into custody.

We demand that Uğur Büber and Barbaros Şansal are released; and an urgent investigation against the people who targeted Şansal, the attackers and who condoned the attackers be launched.”

 

Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

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Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL), Families of LGBTI in Istanbul (LISTAG), Pink Life LGBTI Solidarity Association, and Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) declared that they would monitor and report rights violations experiences during the march. In this report, we share with the public our observations gathered before and during the march. This report is a short summary of the events and does not present all the rights violations. The main picture seen from observations of our monitors in the field and news is that on 19 June 2016, Istanbul Governor’s Office, Police Headquarters, and transphobic gangs in civilian clothes violated LGBTIs most basic human rights who experienced violence and harassment.

English Report: Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

Türkçe Rapor: 19 Haziran Trans Onur Yürüyüşü Gözlem Raporu

 

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Committee Files Criminal Complaint Against Hate Speech Groups and Applies to Overturn Governor’s Ban on Pride March

Dear Members of the Press,

On June 20, at Çağlayan Courthouse at 11:00, we filed a criminal complaint against groups such as Muslim Anatolian Youth, Alperen Hearths Foundation, Tembihname, Özgür-Der, and the Greater Union Party (BBP) for their hate speech and threatening statements that targeted us. Since we do not have a legal personality as the Pride Week Committee, we filed the complaint as individual members of the committee and the Lambdaistanbul Association.

Lawyer and activist Levent Pişkin spoke on behalf of the Pride Week Committee and stated:

“We think that prosecutors, especially press prosecutors, should start an investigation on the matter on its own initiative as there is more than one type of crime. The declarations include offenses such as targeting LGBTI+s, instigating crime, discrimination, instigating the public to rage and animosity, insult and obstruction of democratic rights. The governorate’s ban against the march, using these threats as an excuse, is not only against European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence and international conventions but also national laws and the the constitution. We will file the criminal complaint and follow up. We will continue our struggle and stand up for our rights against those who target the LGBTI+s, deem them deserving of death and instigate hate.

Against the decision of the governorate, we will open a lawsuit today (June 20) at the Administrative Court with an urgent request demanding a stay in the execution of the decision of banning next week’s march. We hope that there will be a verdict to stop the execution without further ado. There are similar cases in ECtHR cases regarding Georgia and Russia. There were also threats by certain faith groups against the LGBTI+, governorate bans against marches in these cases, and police attacks against LGBTI+s, which we have also attached these cases on our complaint.”

Anyone who wishes to can sign the complaint and submit it to the prosecutor’s offices.

Last week, Istanbul LGBTI Association and Human Rights Association filed another criminal complaint against these groups.

You can find the criminal complaint below.

(more…)

Far-right Alperen Group Says It will Stop Pride No Matter What

The Alperen Hearths are a far-right ultranationalist and Islamist youth group linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP). On Wednesday, the Alperens made a press statement on Trans and LGBTI Pride Marches and said “We will never, ever allow their immorality”. The full translation of their press statement is below.  

Source: http://m.haberler.com/alperen-ocaklari-baskani-mican-lgbt-onur-8528393-haberi/

As you know, the nature of the marches LGBT are planning to hold in Taksim on 19 and 26 June are contradictory to our nation’s national and moral structure and traditions. We will never, ever allow such Immorality, like this march that is called “honor” but really it is immoral, that touch the nation’s nerves, to be normalized or encouraged. 

We warn those who use the names Recep, Şaban, and Ramadan, the months we accept as holy, and try to be funny: they should not shed their clothes to shamelessness with saying things about our nation’s sensitivities with such fantasies. I’ll remind you this quote from Ziya Pasha for those who make fun of our moral values and surpass boundaries: “Those who do not settle down with advice should be scolded, those who do not settle down with scolding and advice should be beaten”.

Viewing the organization of this march as tolerance should not lead to social corruption and moral collapse with the creation of new genders using alternatives letters for our daughters and sons. This is not a reaction to anyone’s personal life or personal crimes. Ordering good is to abolish the bad.

State officials who allow this immorality and daring, who give way, who close their eyes and ears, we invite you to serve to end this immorality. Otherwise, we Alperens, the deep nation’s representatives, will not allow these immoral people’s fantasies in these lands left to us by our ancestors who paid a heavy price. Otherwise, our response will be very clear and harsh. We are announcing this to the public. And we are calling on all our brothers and sisters in religion. We will meet in Taksim Square on Sunday 16 June [sic] at 15:00 and Sunday 26 June at 15:00. We will never, ever allow their immorality.

They keep doing the same thing on this holy month and make fun of us by completely discounting our values. With God’s permission, we will not allow this. We invite you to Taksim Square to say “stop” to this immorality together. We will directly stop the march. We will face up to anything. There is nothing to do here. We will somehow not allow them to march. They can meet somewhere and do whatever they want but on this holy month of Ramadan, on this holy day, we absolutely do not want them to march with no clothes on, naked, on our country’s holy lands. That’s why we will not allow them. In a country where 99% of our people is Muslim, it is absolutely not possible for us to allow such vileness and immorality.

Our state should be saying “stop” this by considering our national values. Because this is not normal. This freedom is not a normal freedom. What they want is not a normal freedom. This is the Republic of Turkey. Our holy ancestors left us these lands for safe custody. We, especially the Alperen youth, will not allow people to walk without dresses, without tops in these lands.

We have made a press statement now. We are giving a warning. We have told the public. We have announced it ahead of time. We are not responsible for whatever that happens after this because the state needs to consider and take seriously that its people are 99% Muslim, its religion is Islam, and its national values. If the state ignores this and says “yes, go”, on a day of Ramadan, and allow 5000 people to march naked with whiskey, champagne, alcohol in their hands, then we will not allow it. Either the state will do what is necessary or the Alperens will.

Update, 16 June 2016

Spokesperson Küşat Mican spoke on RS FM’s “Bidebunudinle” program and made the following comments:

Source: Kaos GL, “Alperenler: “Biz Taksim’de sopalarla kovalayalım demedik”,” 16 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21877

We warned this group before, we warned the friends, we sent representatives. We are a Muslim Turkish nation, 99% of our people are Muslim. Yes, we need to live with tolerance but this march cannot take place by ignoring our religious values and ignoring us. We don’t want them to walk half-naked, with bottles of alcohol, in this holy city that has been watered by the blood of our ancestors. It looks like this is going out of the bounds of law but don’t perceive it as such. When we reminded them of Ziya Pasha’s words, it was not a threat. We are saying we will be there, we will react, and we will not allow them to walk. If they are ten thousand people, we will be ten thousand people, we will close that corridor, we will have a sit-in, we won’t let them walk. If they react to us, we will react to them. I did not say let’s go to Taksim and kick them out with sticks. One should not perceive this sentence as carrying sticks in our hands but as a reaction.

Update, 18 June 2016

BBP leader Mustafa Destici: “Perversion and immorality can not be called freedom.”

Source:BBP lideri Mustafa Destici: Sapık LGBTİ’ler benim ülkemde yürüyüş yapamaz!”, June 17, 2016, T24, http://t24.com.tr/haber/bbp-lideri-mustafa-destici-sapik-lgbtiler-benim-ulkemde-yuruyus-yapamaz,345724

Mustafa Destici, the chairman of the BBP (Grand Unity Party) stood by the Alperen Hearths, which announced that they would not let the 14th Pride March take place. In the speech he gave at the iftar, or fast-breaking dinner of his party in Duzce on 16 June, he stated:

Anything immoral gets by in our society during the month of Ramadan and these are represented as legitimate. In the capital of Islam, Istanbul an immoral group that we cannot accept according to our traditions and beliefs, makes a program that goes on for weeks. And they even go further as to crown it with a march. Our young friends, Alperens, say it’s wrong. They say “Those who govern the country should not allow this”, and then there is a huge outrage. Yes brother, this is Turkey, this is a Muslim country. I address the state and the government. You asked for votes claiming that you are conservative and religious, and came to power as such. If you let that march take place, you will be betraying your voters. Let’s see if you commit this betrayal or not. Perversion and immorality cannot be called freedom. This has nothing to do with personal liberties and rights. This cannot be accepted as such. My morality and Western morality are not the same. My belief and Western beliefs are not the same. We won’t stand by and watch this. We will show our rightful reaction. Of course this reaction is verbal, it is [a] protest. We have always been against violence. If there is a price for it, we will pay. They should go do the march somewhere else, they can’t do it in my country.  My country can’t be represented as a country of perverts.

 

Hate Campaign against Pride March

An organization named “Muslim Youth of Anatolia” has started a hate and lynching campaign on social media against Pride Week that will be celebrated during the last week of June. Facebook administration indicated that the page, which openly calls for an attack, “does not violate standards”.

Source: Mehmet Akın, “Onur Yürüşü’ne karşı nefret kampanyası”, Agos, 14 June 2016, http://www.agos.com.tr/tr/yazi/15648/onur-yuruyusu-ne-karsi-nefret-kampanyasi

 

Hate and lynching campaigns were started against the LGBTI Pride March which is celebrated in the last week of June every year. An organization by the name of “Muslim Youth of Anatolia” opened an event on Facebook, inviting people to attack Pride March. The event titled “We won’t let the dishonorable perverts walk” invites people to meet in Taksim on June 19 [when Trans Pride will take place]. The posts about this event have also been shared on Twitter.

The invite reads “We won’t let the dishonorable perverts walk! Do not let the disgrace that is ironically called Pride March take place on June 19. Intervene! We are waiting for you.”

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Messages and images which invite the people to attack Pride March are published on the event page on Facebook. Harun Sekmen, a reporter from Yeni Akit daily, infamous for its news filled with hate speech against LGBTI and Enes Babacan, another reporter from Millet daily sent messages of support to the event page. Images that are assumed to belong to ISIS and photos of people being tortured are also being shared on the event page.

LGBTI activists reported the event to Facebook administration. Facebook administration first sent a message to the activists, stating “We examined the page and saw that it does not violate our community standards”. Upon complaints the page was closed as of today.

SPoD: We are starting the legal process

Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip, from the board of Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) has stated that they will be following up on this discourse of hate. Kip has said “We will not let animosity and rage be spread in our society by those who made this call. LGBTI associations will start the necessary legal process as soon as possible”.

Neither the Governor’s Office nor the Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement about security measures to be taken for Pride March.

During a press statement yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli stated “We don’t know really, but if it’s permitted necessary security measures would be taken as well.”