Law & Politics

Judicial and political environment in Turkey on LGBTI issues

They tried to put the LGBTI activist Kıvılcım Arat in a men’s detention cell!

Arat is in custody in Atatürk airport.

Source: T24, “Gözaltına alınan LGBTİ aktivisti Kıvılcım Arat’ı nezarethanede erkek bölümüne koymaya çalıştılar!” (They tried to hold the LGBTI activist Kıvılcım Arat in men’s detainment room!), 17 March 2017, http://t24.com.tr/haber/gozaltina-alinan-lgbti-aktivisti-kivilcim-arati-nezarethanede-erkek-bolumune-koymaya-calistilar,394365

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Trans activist
Kıvılcım Arat’s lawyer met her after she was taken into custody in Istanbul Atatürk International Airport and said they tried to put her in a men’s detention cell, but following an argument she was put in a single cell. Arat is detained for “not testifying in an investigation.”

According to a news report by KaosGL’s Yıldız Tar, following Istanbul LGBTİ Board Member trans activist Kıvılcım Arat’s detention in Atatürk Airport’s International Terminal today (March 17), her lawyer Aylin Kırıkçı met with Arat.

In an interview with KaosGL.org, lawyer Kırıkçı mentioned that they have not been informed on the content of the case file leading to the detention and made the following statement:

“Currently, we do not know the content of the case file, however, when we look into her GBT [General Information Gathering System — Trans.] record, we see that she was supposed to testify in a court case which led to an arrest warrant. It is unclear what she was going to testify about and in which court case. As her lawyers, we tried to contact the district attorney to start the process for her testimony but we could not reach them. Due to our client’s health problems the testimony was supposed to be taken today, but was not, because we could not reach the district attorney.”

They tried to put her in a men’s detention cell

Kırıkçı mentioned that Arat is held at the Atatürk Airport Police Station, and is expected to give her testimony to the district attorney tomorrow morning (March 18). Kırıkçı added that, even though Arat is a trans woman, they tried to hold her in a men’s detention cell:

“Even though my client is a trans women, they tried to put her in a men’s detention cell where 20 men are kept. Following Kıvılcım’s objection and an argument she was not put in the men’s area. Currently, she is kept in a single cell.”

She sent a message from detention

Arat sent a message with her lawyer. Her message emphasized solidarity.

“Just to spite those who try to call whistleblowing into in our spaces of solidarity, we will continue to fight, stick together, stand shoulder to shoulder.”

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Editor’s note: Kıvılcım Arat was released from detention on March 18.

HDP’s Sancar submits parliamentary question on hate speech and hate crimes committed against LGBTIs

Source: Mithat Sancar, Soru Önergesi, 7 March 2017.

TO THE OFFICE OF GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY of TURKEY

I present below questions to be answered in writing by The Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu in accordance with Article 98 of the Constitution and Articles 96 and 99 of the standing orders.

Mithat Sancar

Mardin MP

It was noted by the press that you have said “Who are you speaking for Ertuğrul Özkök? Do not interfere with things you don’t know, go be with whoever you want to be with, whether it’s the fruity types in America or Europe“ regarding Ertuğrul Özkök, during the “Referendum Consultation Meeting” that took place on March 7, 2017 in Trabzon’s Akçaabat district. On an advisory jurisdiction by Council of Europe Ministers Committee on 1997, hate speech is defined as “all forms of expressions that spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance. Even if it does not always constitute a crime on its own, it is an act of strong aggression and silencing by the powerful against the certain populations that are socially disempowered, and it gives way to the hate crimes. The stereotypes created with these words can result in the othering of certain groups, to the incitement of the violence against them or to these groups becoming invisible.

It is clear that the use of the word “nonoş”, which is defined as “homosexual man” in the Turkish dictionary of Turkish Language Institution, with the intention of insult is a sexist and discriminatory discourse. The violence against those “nonoş” as you called them, is ever more intense due to the rampant nationalism. According to Kaos GL’s report, one in every four hate speech is articulated by politicians, no precautions were taken against the posters or news that target LGBTIs.

In March 2016, a trans woman called Buse was found dead in her house, lost her life as a result of assault and hacking inflicted injuries. On March 21 in Çorlu, a trans woman sex worker Aleda was stabbed to death. Hander Kader’s photos resisting police during the banned Pride Walk in June 2015 were published by the press, her body was found completely burnt in Zekeriyaköy on Aug. 8, 2016. Around the same time, Muhammed Wisam Sankari, a gay Syrian refugee who has been living in Istanbul for around a year, was threatened, abducted, raped, decapitated and killed brutally.

It is clear that the violence against the LGBTIs is not always visible, but according to the data published in press, it is certainly established that at least 41 trans individuals were victims of hate murders between the years 2008-2015. Since 2009, over 100 “nonoş”s are estimated to have lost their lives due to hate murders. Harassment, rape and other cases of violence are not even reported. The police force either remains completely insensitive towards these cases or is the very perpetrator of this violence.

Within this scope:

  1. Who did you precisely indicate when you said “nonoş”?
  2. While the LGBTIs are exposed to daily violence in the country you are a minister for, how do you think your use of the word “nonoş” as an insult will effect this violence?
  3. How many LGBTI murders were committed since the day you have become a minister?
  4. How many cases of violence against the LGBTIs have been reported since the day you have become a minister?
  5. Of the cases mentioned in questions 3 and 4, how many perpetrators have been found?
  6. What initiatives did your ministry took in order to solve the unresolved hate murders?

Defendants at Kemal Ördek’s case to be jailed during trial

The court ruled to imprison the defendants who appealed the verdict of jail time and monetary punishment in Kemal Ördek’s case.

Source: Kaos GL, “Kemal Ördek davası sanıkları tutuklu yargılanacak”, 2 March 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=23206

The assailants who attacked sex worker and Red Umbrella Association rights advocate Kemal Ördek in July 2015 appealed the verdict of jail time and judicial monetary punishment. On their objection, the file was moved to the Ankara District Court.

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The hearing took place on March 2, 2017 at 11:45 at the Ankara District Court’s 17th Penal Office.

The court ruled to continue the prison sentence of suspect due to evidence of possible theft.

The court also ruled to arrest the two other suspects due to flight risk. One suspect appeared in court while the other did not.

What happened?

The fifth hearing of Kemal Ördek’s sexual assault case took place on Nov. 17, 2016 at Ankara’s First High Penal Court. Kemal Ördek had filed suit for death threats they received after the sexual assault and the case was finalized in October. Following that, the case of sexual assault and extortion concluded at the fifth hearing.

Ankara’s First High Penal Court ruled to punish the assailants who raped and extorted Ördek in their Ankara home with the crimes of qualified sexual assault, theft, threat, insult and depriving a person of their freedom. The suspects were sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison.  

 

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.

 

We demand that the government trustee appointed to the Akdeniz Municipality be dismissed and for Yüksel Mutlu to be reinstated

Source: SPoD, “Akdeniz Belediyesi’ne atanan kayyumun kaldırılmasını ve Yüksel Mutlu’nun görevine iade edilmesini talep ediyoruz” (“We demand that the government trustee appointed to the Akdeniz Municipality  be dismissed and for Yüksel Mutlu to be reinstated”), 20 December 2016, http://www.spod.org.tr/turkce/akdeniz-belediyesine-atanan-kayyumun-kaldirilmasini-ve-yuksel-mutlunun-gorevine-iade-edilmesini-talep-ediyoruz/

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Mersin Akdeniz Municipality Co-Mayor Yüksel Mutlu, who signed SPoD’s LGBTI Friendly Municipalities Protocol during the local elections of 2014 and supported our campaign, was taken into custody on December 12, 2016. It was announced that a trustee was appointed to Akdeniz Municipality.

We want to share our concern for the appointment of a trustee to the municipality and for Yüksel Mutlu’s detention. We have known Mutlu by the support she gave to the LGBTI movement, not only during the election period, but also after she was elected.

Akdeniz Municipality is a model local government with its work with 7 Renk [7 Colours –trans.] LGBTI Association and its services for LGBTIs. In particular, after the establishment of the Equality Unit, we look forward to an increase in Akdeniz Municipality’s services and policies in support of LGBTIs. The detention of its elected government and the appointment of a trustee are against the democratic principles.

As SPoD, we believe that the independence and freedom of the local governments should be protected, and thereby the number of exemplary municipalities that offer solutions to LGBTIs’ problems should be increased. Therefore, we demand that the government trustee appointed to the Akdeniz Municipality  be dismissed and that Yüksel Mutlu be reinstated!

20/12/2016

SPoD

LGBTI Activist Kemal Ordek’s Attacker Convicted

A landmark decision has been issued about the three aggressors who attacked Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association President Kemal Ördek. One of the attackers was sent to prison following the hearing after being charged with qualified sexual assault. 

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “LGBTİ Aktivistine Cinsel Saldırı Davasında Saldırgan Tutuklandı”, Bianet, 17 November 2016, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/180825-lgbti-aktivistine-cinsel-saldiri-davasinda-saldirgan-tutuklandi

Two people who attacked Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association President and LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek have been sentenced to up to 5 years in prison and a judicial fine on charges of robbery, threat and insult. The third attacker has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for qualified sexual assault in addition to the aforementioned crimes and sent to prison.

Evaluating the decision to bianet, attorney Deniz Aksoy said “Because the victim’s identity as a sex worker was taken as a basis, this penalty imposed on the ground of sexual assault will be seen as a precedent.”

What had happened?

LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek was sexually assaulted in their house in Ankara on 5 July 2015. The police allegedly said  “Enough with this Tribe of Lot” and the suspects said “Officer, we’re manly men. You understand us, don’t you? Don’t listen to what this faggot has to say.”

Following the assault Nils Muiznieks, the European Council Human Rights Commissioner made a written statement regarding the incident and called on the authorities to explicitly declare that they would not tolerate hate speech and crimes against LGBTI persons.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul MP Mahmut Tanal, CHP Malatya MP Veli Ağbaba and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul MP Garo Paylan had brought the issue to the Parliament and asked the Minister for Interior Affairs Sebahattin Öztürk about the assault and what had happened afterwards.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville made a statement regarding the assault of Ördek, reminding  Turkey the commitment it has made for LGBTI persons during the Universal Periodic Review and called on the authorities to take measures for the fight against homophobic, transphobic violence and discrimination.