LGBTI Activism

LGBTI rights movement in Turkey

Kaos GL: Film Ban Determined to be not within the Jurisdiction of Ombudsman!

Ombudsman Institution stated that the ban against Kuirfest film screening is not “within the jurisdiction” of the institution.

Compiled from: “Film ban determined to be not within the jurisdiction of ombudsman!” (“Film yasağı Kamu Denetçiliği’nin görev alanında değilmiş!”), Kaos GL, March 19, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/yazarlar.php?id=4002

“Kuir Kısalar” (“Queer Shorts”) was a film screening, organized in collaboration of KuirFest with Pera and British Council and was scheduled to take place on November 25, 2017. The screening was first postponed to a later date with a notification sent to Pera Museum by the District Governorship. Another notice delivered to Pera Museum on December 29 stated the event was postponed until January 12. The screening was ultimately banned on the premises that “public safety” should be provided. Pink Life Association’s petition to the Ombudsman Institute regarding the ban was rejected on the grounds of “no-investigation.” Pink Life Association’s lawyer Emrah Şahin applied to Ombudsman on January 4 stating the “Kuir Kısalar” screening was banned unlawfully and that the parties were notified of the ban on the last day, which violated the legal right to appeal. Şahin stated that freedom of speech as well as “good administration principles” were violated.

District Governorship Demanded Dismissal

The defense statement of Beyoğlu District Governorship indicated that “Kuir Kısalar” might be targeted by terrorist organizations and that this situation could lead to a civil war. The District Governorship stated that it does not aim to other LGBTI+ individuals or to limit rights and liberties, instead the rejection was intended to prevent crime and to protect the public order.

The District Governorship did not state any reason for why the event was cancelled on the last day and opposes any review of this decision.

No Investigation Decision from Ombudsman Institute

Upon receiving the Beyoğlu District Governorship’s defense, Ombudsman Institute rejected the application for an inspection of the ban decision on the premises that the incident is not within the “assigned mandate” of the institution.

A “Careless and Sloppy Decision”

Lawyer Emrah Şahin stated his views on the decision of Ombudsman Institute to reject the application. Şahin reported the reasons the District Governorship has are same as the decision to ban Pride Walk. Thus, the issue has been handled in a sloppy manner. Ombudsman’s statement that the issue is “not within their jurisdiction” is self-contradictory.

Şahin said: “As you know we applied to Ombudsman Institute following the last day ban against our event which was scheduled to take place at Pera by Beyoğlu District Governorship. As the ban was issued on the day before the event, the Association was deprived of the right to appeal the decision since there was not enough time. Therefore, the association has suffered irrevocable harm and Beyoğlu District Governorship violated the “good administration principles” as well as interfered with the right to access justice, freedom of speech, the right to assembly, to art and property rights. Based on these reasons, we petitioned Ombudsman for further information and the Governorship of Istanbul based its decision on memos from Ministry of Interior and the Security Directorate which stated: “the walk planned by LGBTI members could potentially be targeted by terrorist organizations, given the increase in the threats of terrorist acts against our country.

Neither the dates or numbers of these memos were indicated. The banned event is not a ‘walk.’ Indeed, it is a film screening! The memos on which the decision is built were obviously memos written about ‘Pride Walk’, yet Ombudsman Institute found these responses to be adequate. The administration does not clarify why the ban was issued on the last day either. The Ombudsman Institution did not comment on this practice, which is blatantly against the “good administration principles.” Instead, Ombudsman determined there would be “no investigation” after first suggesting our application for review is “within the domain of legislation” only to retract by stating that it is “not within their jurisdiction”, leading our association to pursue further legal avenues.

“As a law practitioner, my confidence in Ombudsman Institute is lost after this decision. Such careless and sloppy decision making on such an important matter perhaps stems from the institute’s hesitation in making an advisory ruling on this issue.” –Pink Life

Istanbul LGBTI: We have news from Diren

Source: Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1599145250163198&id=143393965738341

On Feb. 21, the 27th day of Diren’s death fast, we, a group of Diren’s friends and lawyers, went to Tekirdağ No.2  F Type Penitentiary. We started the day with the news that Kıvılcım [Arat from Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association who joined Diren’s fast] was forbidden from visiting Diren.

Despite the bad news, we let Diren know that we as her family, friends and lawyers will continue to be active in achieving her demands. We then had a meeting with the prison administration about Diren’s primary demands regarding laser epilation, vegan meals and ending the wardens’ discriminatory attitudes towards Diren based on her trans identity.

In this meeting we agreed with the prison administration on the need to work together in achieving this and Diren has accordingly decided to put her death fast on hold while the prison administration continues to collaborate. Diren has thanked everyone who has shown solidarity with her and said that she wanted all her friends who had started a hunger strike and death fast to end their protests.

As the solidarity group for Diren, we will be publishing a more detailed update in the following days. We thank everyone who helped Diren’s voice be heard in this process.

#DirendenHaberVar (#NewsFromDiren)

 

#BeAVoiceForDiren

Friends of imprisoned LGBTI activist Diren Coşkun have started a campaign to support Diren who has started a death fast against the rights violations she has been enduring in a Turkish prison. The campaign urges supporters to sign a petition and to write e-letters, which will then be taken to Diren.

Diren was arrested on Aug. 14, 2017 with the allegation of “propaganda for an illegal organization.”

Diren is a trans woman and has been put in isolation after she rejected to stay in the male ward of the prison. Demanding an end to her solitary confinement and access to trans-specific healthcare, Diren started the death fast on Jan. 25.

Kıvılcım Arat from Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association announced her own death fast on Feb. 6 in solidarity with Coşkun. (Read Arat’s account of life in prison for trans inmates on here.)

To support Diren, please sign the petition or join the social media campaign by sharing your messages of solidarity these hashtags:

#SeiEineStimmeFürDiren

#DireneSesVer

#BeAVoiceForDiren

#WeesEenStemVoorDiren #SoyesUneVoixPourDiren

#TransRights

 

Kaos GL: Human rights defender Ali Erol freed under judicial control!

Our co-founder and LGBTI rights defender Ali Erol was detained on Friday, Feb. 2 in his Ankara home where he lives with his partner on the grounds of his social media posts. Following his statement to the police and the prosecutor Tuesday, he was sent to the Criminal Court of Peace with a demand that he be put under judicial control. The Fifth Criminal Court of Peace ruled to free him under judicial control.

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We could not find the details of this detention and the ongoing investigation due to a confidentiality decision and this is a clear violation of freedom of thought and expression. The detention and investigation of Ali Erol due to his social media posts demanding peace following Ankara governor’s “ban on LGBTI events for an indefinite period” in November 2017 reveals once again the increase in obstacles and pressures against LGBTI rights.

This pressure, detention and investigations against human rights defenders shows how much we need human rights. We once again repeat that everyone needs human rights.

Each year, thousands of human rights defenders are trying to be silence through fabricated or ridiculous reasons that turn into lengthy, costly and mostly unjust judicial processes. The long struggle in the field of human rights shows us that the effect of silencing human rights defenders can be more unnerving and long-lasting than directly putting pressure on those groups. Silencing human rights defenders who work to initiate civil organizations with bravery, who speak up and who are respected through their bravery and work is a powerful tool. Trying to suppress the courage of human rights defenders is a common tactic by those violating rights. Because of this, protecting human rights defenders is a fundamental area of work for human rights organizations across the World today. Because fear is as contagious as courage and fear can only be beaten by standing with courage.

Kaos GL Association

Editor’s note: Judicial control in Turkey usually entails going to the police station periodically and a ban on traveling abroad. 

Kaos GL: Co-founder Ali Erol has been detained

LGBTI activist Ali Erol, a member of the initial team to begin publishing Kaos GL magazine in 1994 and one of the founders of Kaos GL, was detained in a police operation on the house he shares with his life partner Friday morning.

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While there was no clear information on the grounds for Ali Erol’s detention, the lawyers said his social media posts were included in the detention warrant. The detentions of many people in Ankara police operations due to social media posts has been reported.

Detained Ali Erol is a leading LGBTI activist in the world and was the recipient of the David Kato Vision & Voice Award in 2013.

The detention of Erol, a leading activist in the LGBTI movement, once again shows the point freedom of expression has come to in Turkey. Erol’s detention following Ankara governor’s “ban on LGBTI events for an indefinite period” in November 2017 reveals once again the increase in obstacles and pressures against LGBTI rights.

Our lawyers are following the judicial process. We will continue sharing as we learn details.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. LGBTI rights are human rights. We demand that one of our founders, LGBTI activist Ali Erol be immediately released!

Kaos GL Association

Editor’s note: Hundreds of people have been detained on alleged terror propaganda charges on social media relating to Turkey’s cross-border operation on a Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria. The Turkish military and allied Syrian opposition forces are fighting the People’s Protection Units or YPG in Afrin. Turkey considers the YPG a terror group and an extension of the Kurdish insurgency within its own borders. The YPG is also a key ally of the United States in combatting the Islamic State group in Syria. Operation Olive Branch was launched on Jan. 20 and the Turkish government has cracked down on critical opinions of the military offensive. 

Bianet: We asked SPoD about the bans against the LGBTIs: The bans restrict the growth of the LGBTI+ movement

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Source: “We asked SPoD about the bans against the LGBTIs: The bans are against the growth of LGBTI+ movement” (“LGBTİ Yasaklarını SPoD’a Sorduk: Yasaklar, LGBTİ+ Hareketinin Büyümesine Karşı”), Çiçek Tahaoğlu, bianet.org, December 5, 2017, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/192163-lgbti-yasaklarini-spod-a-sorduk-yasaklar-lgbti-hareketinin-buyumesine-karsi

Serdar Ocaksönmez, Communications Coordinator for Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD), has evaluated the new restrictions imposed on LGBTI activities following the ban in Ankara for bianet.

Ocaksönmez suggests that these bans are not just against film screenings but aim to criminalize LGBTI individuals and the LGBTI+ movement. SPoD are concerned by the increasing constraints.

Ocaksönmez invites all civil rights defenders to show up in solidarity, saying “we feel frightened these groups are targeting us and spreading hate speech”.

“The ban criminalizes our existence”

What is your opinion on the indefinite ban in Ankara?

The ban in Ankara is not only against a film screening. Due to its scope, the ban restricts all means of public engagement and mobility. The notions of “social sensitivity” and “morality” defined in the decision are highly concerning; we cannot allow the existence of LGBTI+ individuals and their identities to be criminalized under the pretenses of “social sensitivity” and “morality”. If we think about the consequences of these actions long term, the existence of LGBTI+ associations presently active in Ankara may be directly affected and harmed by this decision. Considering that Ankara is the capital, I see this as a strategic decision.

 

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“Censorship in other cities is no coincidence”

Can you observe the influence of this ban in other cities?

The ban affects different populations in different cities. An event in Mardin, planned before the ban in Ankara was declared, was cancelled after it was targeted by the hate speech. In Bursa, another event was forcibly cancelled by the police. Lastly, LGBTI+ film screening in İstanbul was banned by the District Governorship of Istanbul. We cannot assume that these are separate or purely coincidental cases.

“We feel threatened”

Did the bans have an affect on SPoD’s work?

Even though they haven’t affected us directly, there is the definite possibility [bans] will spread all around the country–especially in Istanbul. Bans have had a psychological impact on all of us in the LGBTI+ movement. We are concerned there will be further bans on the activities we are organizing or the ones we will organize. Aside from this, we feel threatened by the existence of those groups targeting us with hate speech.

“We will keep following the trial”

Did you receive any applications, questions etc. from the local organizations and activists regarding this ban or other bans in different cities?

We are in close contact with the organizations in Ankara. We are following the lawsuit filed by Kaos GL and Pink Life after the ban, demanding the halt of execution. We are trying to gather as much information as we can regarding other bans and interventions.

“The bans are a reaction against the growth of LGBTI+ movement”

Do you think the ban in Ankara can spread to the other cities?

Frankly, we weren’t expecting such a ban. There have been individual bans which cited  “security” concerns over the last three years such as the ban against LGBTI+ and Trans Pride Walks in İstanbul and the May 17 events in Ankara. But this last ban is indefinite and we therefore feel it  targets us personally. We are facing a very different kind of violence when the existence of groups of people, our ways of life, and the right to peaceful assembly are targeted here. When we look at the last three years in their entirety, this looks like a reaction against the growth of the LGBTI+ movement.

“We invite all rights defenders to show solidarity”

Do you have any plans, strategies or calls regarding the ban attempts?

Right now, we as SPoD are acting in coordination with other LGBTI+ associations and platforms. We are following the lawsuits filed by Kaos GL and Pink Life Associations in Ankra and we are hope to see the ban lifted as soon as possible so that we can continue with our activities.

We request the authorities adhere to Article 10 of the Turkish Constitution as well as with international conventions, including the Istanbul Convention, to which Turkey is a party. We want the authorities to correct this mistake immediately. We believe that we will overcome these bans through advocating solidarity, like we did when Lambdaistanbul was sought to be closed. We invite not only LGBTI+ organizations but all civil rights defenders to be present in a show of solidarity.

 

Kaos GL: LGBTI+ rights in days of ban

We compiled what has happened before and after the Governorship of Ankara’s “indefinite” LGBTI+ ban, the rights violations and reactions against the ban.

Source: “Yasaklı günlerde LGBTİ+ hakları,” Kaos GL, Dec. 4, 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=25036

lgbtiyasaklanamaz

Over the past fifteen days,  the Governorship of Ankara banned LGBTI+ activities in the city on the premises of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties”.

During this period, the District Governorship of Beyoğlu has banned another scheduled event. We have reports of censorship of LGBTI+ activities coming in from many other cities.

We compiled the details of events that have transpired before and after the ban decision regarding the violation of our rights alongside reactions against the ban for readers of KaosGL.org:

“Gender Based Journalism Workshop” was Disrupted in Mardin

The “Gender Based Journalism Workshop”,  undertaken by IPS Communication Foundation and supported by Kaos GL, was planned for November 18, but could not take place in Mardin as it was targeted in the media.

On November 9, an event in Mardin was postponed after it was announced to the media in a piece titled “Mardinites: We don’t want these immoral people!”  Later editorials targeted the workshop and were published on Sabah’s website as well as on Güneş, HaberVaktim, Yeni Akit daily, and in other local media.

Hate speech was propagated on social media. Posts were made stating that there will be “gays marching in Mardin” on November 18 and that “we will stand against this situation and kill [them] if necessary”.

Governorship of Ankara and the German LGBTI Film Days Festival

In collaboration with the German Embassy, QueerFest and Büyülü Fener Cinemas, The German LGBTI Film Days festival was scheduled to take place in Ankara between November 16-17. These events were unfortunately canceled as they were banned by an official notice sent to Büyülü Fener Cinema by the Governorship of Ankara on Wednesday, November 15.

The day before the decision to ban was issued by  the governorship, Yeni Akit daily published an editorial defaming the event. In a news article titled “Support for the Perverts by the German Embassy”, Yeni Akit stated that the event was “supported by Germany which has participated in every activity meant to disrupt the country’s peace and will feature perverted films within the scope of the events [which are] to take place for two days”. The same newspaper announced the ban decision of the Governorship with the title “Governorship Slams the Brakes on Perverts”.

Prior to the governorship’s decision, hate speech was disseminated on social media with hashtags #LGBTfilmgünleriiptaledilsin (#LGBTfilmdaysshouldbecancelled) and #İstiklalimizeKaraLeke (#BlackStainOnOurIndependence)

Following the decision, the Pink Life QueerFest organizing committee issued a statement  indicating that, just like the arbitrary and unlawful ban against Pride Walk which took place over the past several years, the film screenings were banned using the same public security rhetoric and was only used to raise alarm over provocation and terror.  The Pink Life committee warned that this decision legitimized hate speech against LGBTI individuals and cast them as a threat to society.  Producers of QueerFest also stated that the decision deprives us of our constitutional rights under the disguise of “protecting” LGBTI individuals and continued: “The duty of the governorship is not to ban the marches or activities but to make sure that they take place in safety.”

Following the ban against the German LGBTI Film Days, the German Minister of State Michael Roth announced via his Twitter account that a rainbow flag was hung at the German Embassy. Roth wrote “The Governorship of Ankara banned the #LGTBI Film festival of our Embassy. The freedom of arts and minority rights are untouchable. This must be valid for Turkey too. Our colleagues in Ankara manifest their attitude clearly by unfurling the flag”.

After the governorship ban against the German LGBT Film Days festival, Hacettepe University subsequently banned a discussion titled “Gender and Discrimination” which had previously been approved.

The discussion planned for November 22, which was to be attended by Kaos GL as well, was banned with a verbal notice, even though there was official university approval 15 days prior.

The indefinite “public morality” ban from Governorship of Ankara

After the ban against the German LGBTI Film Days, which was scheduled to take place on November 16-17 in Ankara Büyülü Fener Cinema, the Governorship of Ankara announced on its website  the event has indefinitely banned “the activities undertaken by LGBTI civil society organizations” in Ankara. The statement lists banned activities as:  “film screenings, cinevision, theatre, panels, discussions, exhibitions etc. [and] activities”.

The governorship listed “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public securities, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others’ rights and liberties” as the reason for the ban.

Kaos GL and Pink Life : “The Ban is Arbitrary and Discriminatory”

In response to the Governorship of Ankara’s decision to ban,  Kaos GL and Pink Life have released a collective statement which announced that the governorship’s ban is unlawful, discriminatory and arbitrary and that a legal follow-up is in place.

Pink Life and Kaos GL indicated that the scope of the decision was vast and that it led to an ambiguous situation which ostensibly criminalizes LGBTI existence, opening  the door for further rights violations. They announced that the LGBTI civil society organizations have been fighting against discrimination and hatred as well as for equal citizenship for years and that this decision has rendered these associations inoperative.

In their statement, Pink Life and Kaos GL emphasized to the public these discriminatory policies are unacceptable as they are against Article 10 of the Constitution on equality in addition to Article 26 on freedom of expression and publication. Pink Life and Kaos GL also note these bans are in conflict with international conventions to which Turkey is a signatory.

LGBTI Associations of Ankara Take the Decision to Court

Kaos GL and Pink Life, LGBTI associations from Ankara have filed a lawsuit against the ban, demanding the ban be cancelled and its execution halted.  

The organizations call for the ban ordered by the Governorship on the premises of “social sensitivities and sensibilities”, “public security”, “protection of public health and morality” and “protection of others” rights and liberties to be cancelled and its enforcement be halted immediately as the ban can result in irremediable consequences.

Media Targeting LGBTI People and Hate Speech

LGBTI individuals and organizations were targeted in print press and digital media before and after the ban decision. Many media outlets, especially Yeni Akit daily, labelled the LGBTI individuals as “perverts”, “degenerates”, “against the public morality”. The hate speech was spread through libellous claims that LGBTI people are “diseases” or “criminal”.

Among these articles is a piece on Takvim daily’s website, titled “LGBTI Provocation Supported by CHP and HDP under the Control of Global Powers”, published November 14 . The article is an example of the press constructing a narrative of hate speech which is used to incite public discrimination of LGBTI persons as well as unlawful infringement on our rights.

Kaos GL is soon to publish its annual report which has tracked the use of discriminatory language and hate speech against LGBTI people in media on a daily basis coupled with reflections on the ban and the legal way forward.

Arbitrary Ban in Bursa

As part of the programing for events surrounding November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance, Bursa Özgür Renkler of LGBTI Association (Free Colors LGBTI Association) was pressured to cancel the screening of the film “Gacı Gibi” via  notification by police to event organizers that “the event will be shut down if it is not cancelled”.

Özgür Renkler LGBTI shared the cancellation on its social media accounts and wrote: “Our attorney got in touch with the Directorate of Security and was redirected to the security branch but received no answer at that office. We are yet to receive a written notification regarding the issue. We announce that we have cancelled the event and that we will be following [the process] as the association.”

District Governorship of Beyoğlu’s Ban Decision

“Queer Shorts” — a film screening and discussion panel planned to take place in Istanbul on November 25 in collaboration with Pink Life QueerFest, British Council and Pera Museum was banned by the District Governorship of Beyoğlu.

In a similar manner to the Governorship of Ankara, the district governorship in Beyoğlu indicated “[the event] might cause open and immediate danger against the public order and safety and might be against the constitutional order and public morality”.

Reactions against the Ban: #LGBTİYasaklanamaz (#LGBTICantBeBanned)

Keyfî yasaklara karşı kurulan LGBTİ+ Yasaklarını Geri Çekin Platformu, 29 Kasım’da #LGBTİYasaklanamaz ve 3 Aralık’ta #LGBTİFilmleriYasaklanamaz hashtagleri ile yasaklara karşı ses çıkardı. Her iki hastag kampanyası da Twitter’ın Türkiye gündeminde yer aldı. Çok sayıda sosyal medya kullanıcısı yasaklara karşı dayanışma mesajları paylaştı.

LGBTİ+ Yasaklarını Geri Çekin Platformu  (Withdraw the LGBTI+ Bans Platform) was created as a reaction to these unjust bans and  online advocates have protested the ban through the hashtag #LGBTIYasaklanamaz (#LGBTICantBeBanned) on November 29 and the hashtag #LGBTİFilmleriYasaklanamaz  (#LGBTIFilmsCantBeBanned) on December 3. Both hashtag campaigns were trending topics in Turkey on Twitter. Many social media users across the world shared solidarity messages with us against the bans.

A part of the statement of the platform is as the following: “We invite the national and international public to make some noise to end this nonsense. We demand decisions that restrict our liberties and take away our life spaces to be overturned immediately! We invite the authorities to bring life back to its normal flow.”

Film Screenings at METU

Aside from the lawsuits filed by Kaos GL and Pink Life associations, many LGBTI and human rights activists have reacted against the ban.

After the ban took effect, METU LGBTI+ Solidarity organized two film screenings for November 22 and November 24, to  the films “Pride” and “Romeos”. University administrators sought to prevent the LGBTI themed films by being screened by shutting down the power.

METU LGBTI+ Solidarity discussed the tensions which surrounded the screenings on both November 22 and November 24 through statements published on social media.

“The film screening planned for November 22 by Nar Women’s Solidarity was interfered with by the METU administration, by shutting down the power. The administration then retreated upon the reactions of the students and the film was screened.”

“On November 24, METI LGBTI+ Solidarity entered one of the physics classrooms in order to show the film “Romeos” which was on the schedule of the banned film screenings, after which METU administration shut down the power of the physics department. This caused GÜNAM (Solar Energy Research Center) to halt its studies, students were stuck in elevators and other students had to study for their midterms elsewhere.  In spite of all pressures and preventions, METU LGBTI+ Solidarity showed the film using a power source and a projector. This was followed by the METU administration sending a private security force of forty to the building, who did not refrain from threatening us with a ‘physical intervention’ “.

Altıok: The Decision is Discriminatory

In her press statement regarding Governorship of Ankara’s ban decision, CHP Vice Chair and İzmir MP Zeynep Altıok  stated that the decision is unlawful, misogynistic, and othering: “What discriminates and others the people is the decision of Governorship of Ankara which is polarizing the society, using diversity as an excuse.”

Ban Decision was Taken to Parliament

CHP Istanbul MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu has taken the governor’s ban decision to the parliament. Tanrıkulu presented a parliamentary question with the demand for a reply from PM Binali Yıldırım. The question asks whether the ban is discriminatory, whether the Governorship has a concrete document that can justify the ban, and whether the Governorship has taken necessary measures against discrimination.

Muiznieks:  Ban Clearly Disregards Turkey’s International Human Rights Obligations

Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks issued a statement regarding the ban, indicating that it blatantly disregards the international human rights obligations of Turkey, especially the European Human Rights Convention. Muizneieks wrote:  “I call on the Turkish central authorities to ensure that decentralised administrations uphold human rights standards and that this regrettable decision of the Ankara Governor’s Office is reversed immediately”.

Meanwhile, representatives of United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union have contacted the LGBTI associations and received information regarding the incident.

Call for Solidarity from Balkans

ERA LGBTI Equal Rights, founded by the LGBTI organizations of Western Balkans and Turkey, published a statement regarding the LGBTI+ bans in Turkey stating:  “[…] local authorities, have taken yet another concerning step, by banning events like film screenings, exhibitions, forums, panels and meetings by LGBTI+ groups on what could be considered illegal grounds, infringing on fundamental human rights such as freedom of assembly, expression and association. Authorities have also given reasons for banning these events such as “social sensitivities and sensibilities,” “protecting public health and morality” and “protecting other people’s rights and freedoms.”

“We Defend the Cancellation of the Decision”

Council of Europe Conference of INGOs published a statement regarding the indefinite ban against the LGBTI activities declared by Governorship of Ankara: “We call upon all authorities to rescind the ban on events by LGBTI organisations in Ankara and not to slide back into another dark age where people have to hide who they really are. We plead that they annul these decisions which might incite and legitimise aggression against LGBTI persons, who once felt free and proud in Turkey”.

Antep Laughs against the Ban

Antep ZeugMadi LGBTI organized a press conference on December 3 against the Governorship of Ankara’s indefinite ban against LGBTI activities. ZeugMadi condemned the unlawful and discriminatory ban and stated “We were banned in Ankara and we were reborn in Antep”.

Çanakkale LGBTI+: We are on the Streets Despite the Bans, we are cleaning the beaches!

The volunteers of Çanakkale LGBTİ+ Initiative came together at Barış Kordonu on December 2 and cleaned the trash on the beaches. The initiative made an open call saying: “We are on streets despite the ban, we’re cleaning the beaches”. The group did not leave the beach for four hours in spite of the weather.