LGBTI Reports

Reports and analyses by Turkey’s LGBTI organizations and international mechanisms

SPoD LGBTI publishes Trans Women’s “Alternative” Work Experiences in Turkey

Trans Women’s “Alternative” Work Experiences in Turkey is a research project was conducted between October 2015-September 2016 by Social Policies Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association, and funded by ILGA Europe. Qualitative methods were adapted for this research and 15 in-depth interviews were made with trans women who have different job experiences.

Source: SPoD LGBTI, “Trans Women’s “Alternative” Work Experiences in Turkey”, http://www.transkadinlarinistihdami.org/en/

In this project, informants’ education background, employment processes, problems at the workplace, transitioning and military service status were focused to explain their ways to exist in the working life, individual strategies, socio-economic factors and relations with LGBTI movement.

Explore the project at http://www.transkadinlarinistihdami.org/en/

INTERVIEWS/ NARRATIVES

#1“My last dismissal case was as my boss stated, ‘I have nothing to say about your practice but I couldn’t resist to the pressure coming from around. You always have complaints. Unfortunately they are about your existence.’” (Ece, 41, Dentist)

BEING FIRED, DISCRIMINATION

#2“My education, I am a high school graduate. Well, in fact my trans identity precluded me from many things that I wanted to do at the condition of Turkey.” (Neriman, 34, Barmaid/Manager)

EDUCATION, PROFESSION

#3“I came here after I finished my studies. Because it was too hard to find a job in Balıkesir. While even the ordinary people or the ordinary women have difficulties to find job, it was even harder for a trans woman who did not start life with a silver spoon in their mouth.” (Peyker, 22, Sex Worker)

DISCRIMINATION, JOB APPLICATION

#4“If you don’t want to do sex work, the family is a huge factor. This is the only thing that I want to add… I mean, for example I realized that I didn’t do sex work just to be accepted by my family and my neighbors. My moralistic attitude, even that I declare myself as a socialist feminist I come from a feudal family. I don’t think some things will be possible until we destroy this feudality and the force inside of us. If it will be possible, there should be the support of the family.” (Peyker, 22, Sex Worker)

ACCEPTANCE, FAMILY, HONOUR, SEX WORK

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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

 

32 Hate Crimes Directed at LGBTI People Appeared in the Press in 2015

According to Kaos GL’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Human Rights Observation Report, in the year 2015 there were 5 hate crime-murders, 32 hate crimes, 2 cyber-attacks and 3 suicides appeared in the press.

Source: Kaos GL, “2015’te LGBTİ’lere yönelik 32 nefret saldırısı basına yansıdı!” (“32 Hate Crimes Directed at LGBTI People Reflected in the Press in 2015”), kaosgl.org, May 25 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21730

The Kaos GL Association has published its 2015 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Human Rights Observation Report. The report, which the association has published regularly since 2006 to monitor the human rights violations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, contains striking conclusions about this past year.

5 hate crime-murders, 32 attacks!

General findings are listed in the introduction of the report as follows:

“2015 was a year in which bombs exploded, massacres occurred, systematic attacks were carried out against social groups at the government’s hand, surveillance and detentions were carried out, and the most basic right, the right to life, was not protected. From the perspective of LGBT rights, alongside positive developments it was a year in which generally the routine was not broken;

“Throughout the year of 2015, there were 5 hate crime murders, 32 hate crime attacks (with more than 15 committed by more than one person, 2 at the hands of the police, 12 with a sharp object, 2 with a firearm, and 1 with arson), 2 cyber-attacks, and 3 cases of suicide that were reported to the media;

3 instances of discrimination were reflected in the media. Of these instances, 2 occurred in prison and 1 occurred in the workplace. Out of 9 cases of hate speech, 4 were produced by political figures and 3 appeared in newspapers known to be close to the ruling government.”

Call for killing of LGBTI people

“The societal reflection of hate speech can be [a] hate crime. The attacks by police at the Pride March and ensuing instigation of hate at the hands of politicians turned into a call for murder. A group calling themselves the Young Islamic Defense hung posters on the streets of Ankara calling for the killing of LGBT people.”

Censorship for the internet

“Administrative measures were taken by Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığı, or TIB) against 7 LGBT websites. Of these decisions, 1 was lifted by TIB after making its way into the press and another after being appealed to TİB. However, 5 sites still cannot be accessed. In 2 cases students were attacked because of LGBT banners and a rainbow flag at a university. Bafra Penitentiary denied prisoners access to Kaos GL publications on the grounds of its “obscene” content.”

“The police attacked the Pride March with plastic bullets, teargas, and water cannons; a number of people were injured.”

“The Constitutional Court identified the state’s official relationship format by using the expression ‘unnatural relation,’ in clear violation of the Constitution.”

The report only contains cases reflected in the media

While emphasizing that only cases reflected in the media were reported, problems experienced in the reporting process are outlined in the report as follows:

“The violations found in the report are cases reflected in the media only. For this reason this report does not display all of the human rights violations experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Turkey

“We have presented this report as the 2015 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity-based Human Rights Violation Observation Report. However, our struggle continues in reaching the problems of gay and bisexual women and the discrimination and human rights violations suffered by transgender men.”

The report contains separate sections on ‘hate crimes and violations of the right to life,’ ‘discrimination and hate speech,’ ‘freedom of expression,’ and ‘lawsuits taking place and ending in 2015.’ Violations reflected in the media over the course of a year are listed.

What should be done?

The conclusion of the report lists the necessary steps for getting ahead of human rights violations as follows:

  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals should be granted equal civil rights in the Constitution and “sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status”(CYCKİD) should be protected categories in the Constitution’s discrimination article
  • Adjustments should be made to the Turkey Human Rights and Equality Foundation Law to include protections for CYCKİD; the law should be rewritten to take into account Civil Society recommendations about the impartiality of the foundation
  • LGBTI people should be included in public social policy
  • Effective campaigns should be led against the homophobic and transphobic hate speech of politicians, public authorities, and opinion leaders
  • All relevant public institutions, especially the Directorate General of Migration Management, should develop sensitivity towards and policies related to the various problems of LGBTI refugees
  • The Turkey Human Rights and Equality Foundation and the Ombudsman Institution should handle all violations of human rights, democracy, and law that come under its jurisdiction with an approach based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Clauses on sexual orientation and gender identity should be added to articles regulating discrimination law in the judicial system
  • Regulation regarding hate crimes should be expanded to cover basic rights such as the right to life, bodily integrity, education, and shelter alongside hate speech, and clauses on CYCKİD should be included in hate crime regulation. The necessary punitive measures should be taken for hate crimes directed at LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) individuals; modifications in the law should be made to prevent reduced sentences for “grievous provocation” following hate crimes
  • Ambiguous phrases such as “general morality,” “public decency,” “obscenity,” “immodesty,” and “infamous crimes” used in the Turkish Republic Constitution, the Turkish Penal Code, Civil Code, Law of Misdemeanor and various other foundations and institutions should be taken out of regulation or readjusted in a way that cannot be interpreted as against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) people.
  • Turkey should immediately take all necessary legal and political steps to fully comply with the 2010 Combating Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Recommendations from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, of which Turkey was a founding member
  • In the investigation and prosecution stages following rights violations such as hate crimes, discrimination, and police violence suffered by LGBTI people, precautions should be taken to eliminate the discriminatory and/or prejudiced attitudes of law enforcement officers and forensic units, which heighten the victims’ suffering
  • The classification of homosexuality and transsexualism in the Turkish Armed Forces Health Code as “sexual identity and behavior disorders” and practices suffered by homosexual, bisexual, or transgender individuals that damage their honor and dignity should be eliminated
  • The Turkish Armed Forces Discipline Code, which punishes homosexuality by stigmatizing it as an “unnatural relation” and leaves the homosexual officers in question to fall victim to discrimination in the workplace and lose their jobs, should change and homosexuality should no longer be considered a crime.
  • The government should regulate CYCKİD discrimination in work life. Regulations directed at LGBT workers should be made in job announcements, hiring, continued work relationships, and termination. Sexual orientation, gender identity, and intersex status should become protected categories under the discrimination article in the Labor Law
  • Societal and institutional educational programs to eliminate the rights violations experienced by LGBTI people in education, employment, and health in the public sector and private institutions, as well as in access to services, should be applied and followed as a positive obligation of the state.
  • On every subject relevant to human rights and especially when making changes related to the prevention of discrimination, opinions from the United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union, and related units should be taken into account. Human rights organization, organizations that work in the field of women’s human rights, and LGBTI organizations should work in collaboration to accomplish all of these endeavors.
  • Statistical studies to aid in bringing discrimination to light should be completed.
  • To ensure fair trials, human rights education based on homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination should be designed for law enforcement officers and members of the judicial branch. This education should be carried out in collaboration with civil society organizations.
  • Prison schemes should be designed with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity; an end should be put to isolation.
  • Pursuant to all of these endeavors, dialogue and collaboration should be established between LGBTI organizations and public establishments and Parliament.

Access report here [Turkish]

Kaos GL publishes “LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet” Report

Just published is a research report by lawyer Yasemin Öz, “LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet,” concerning internet statutes and regulations, and censorship directed at LGBTI people.

Source: “‘LGBTİ’lerin İnternet Yoluyla İfade Özgürlüğü’ raporu yayınlandı” (“Report published: ‘LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet'”), Kaos GL, 16 October 2015, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=20358

The Kaos GL Association, continuing its efforts in Internet freedom, censorship, and discrimination on the internet, has published the report “LGBTI People’s Freedom of Expression on the Internet.”

The report, prepared by lawyer Yasemin Öz, examines the effect of Internet regulation and laws on freedom of expression. Featured in the report are blocked web sites with LGBTI content, the legal process, and a survey of statutes and regulations.

The results of the report reveal that in Turkey, statutes and regulations concerning the content of internet publications and the allocation of domain names is not aimed solely at LGBTI individuals, but in a general sense constitutes a threat in the area of freedom of expression.

“Obscenity,” “public order,” and “morality”

The examples evaluated in the report demonstrate that by means of vague concepts like “obscenity,” “public order,” and “morality,” the way has been paved for the broad application of blocking authority.

Including six chapters, the report begins with a general discussion of freedom of expression on the Internet in Turkey. In the subsequent sections of the report, the relationship between LGBTI people’s freedom of expression and the internet, the statutes and regulations concerning Internet use, examples of blocking access to Internet sites with LGBTI content, censorship applied by global Internet sites to LGBTI people in Turkey, and legal recourse had by LGBTI organizations in connection with restrictions on their freedom of expression on the Internet are successively featured.

At the end of the report are found the Association’s recommendations and the text of “Feminist Principles on the Internet,” prepared by Kaos GL’s Internet freedom project-partner APC (Association for Progressive Communications).

Laws should be designed so as not to discriminate

At the conclusion of the report it is made clear that in order for freedom of expression, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Turkish Republic and international agreements to which Turkey is a party, to be effectively used in practice, there is a need to reformulate the legal provisions granting authorities the power to restrict Internet access so as, without leaving any room for vague criteria, not to make way for discrimination.

You can access the report in its printed form through the Kaos GL Association.

For the Turkish version, click here.

For the English version, click here.

Kaos GL’s Internet-related efforts

Kaos GL, which, with its four-day “New Media School,” brought together over 20 volunteer correspondents from 14 cities last May, also organized in September the meeting [“Virtual-Reality Aficionados Get Together”] in order to establish a network in connection with Internet freedom. On 12-13 September, representatives of LGBTI organizations from various cities met in the hall of the Association for Civil Society in the Penal System (CISST) in order to discuss Internet activism and to seek together the ways of engaging in the fight.

*This research has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) within the scope of the “Sexual Rights Project,” of which the Kaos GL Association is a partner. The “Sexual Rights Project” is a project run by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) with partners from India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. Financial support by the APC and SIDA does not mean that they agree with the ideas set forth in this publication.

Summary Results of the Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research

Source: Yılmaz, V. and Göçmen, İ. (June, 2015), “Summary Results of the Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research”, Vol. IV, Issue 6, pp.97-105, Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey), London, Research Turkey. (http://researchturkey.org/?p=9142)

Abstract

Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research offers insight to social and economic problems that LGBT individuals face due to the discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Results of the research report diverse forms of discrimination that LGBT individuals encounter in various domains of social policies including employment, health, education, income poverty, housing, participation in the social life, family and ageing. While reporting different forms of discrimination from the perspective of LGBT individuals, the research also demonstrates that the legal system falls short of tackling these forms of discrimination again in the eyes of LGBT individuals.

Please see the full article here: http://researchturkey.org/summary-results-of-the-social-and-economic-problems-of-lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transsexual-lgbt-individuals-in-turkey-research/

On IDAHOT, LGBTI individuals face countless problems in Turkey

May 17th, the day homosexuality was removed from the classification “illness”, has come to be celebrated for the last 11 years as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Many years have passed since the Declaration of Montreal on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Human Rights, which was published following the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, has called for all nations to recognize this date. Yet, the stigmatization of and discrimination against LGBTIs continue to this day.

This Sunday, May 17th marks the 11th year of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), which was established in order to fight against homophobia and transphobia, to raise the public’s awareness about LGBTIs, to draw attention to rights violations and discrimination, and have their voices be heard. Following the removal of homosexuality from the classification of “illness” by the World Health Organization on May 17th, 1990, and published after the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, which was organized by the UN, the Declaration of Montreal called for all nations to recognize that date and the wide array of rights and freedoms that ought to be secured. Until now, 130 nations did so formally. Yet, unfortunately, even though many years have passed since then, the stigmatization of and discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans continue.

In Turkey, as in many other regions of the world, prejudice and discrimination not only cause LGBTIs to be excluded from health programs and limit their access to health services but also deprive them of the most basic human rights. Furthermore, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity also show themselves in the forms of violence and hate murders. While numerous LGBTIs are massacred in hate murders, many others are forced into making their voices heard through suicide. In the meantime, the government, which refuses to recognize the very reality of LGBTIs, fails to take any legal precautions to protect LGBTIs whom it deprives of basic human rights.

SPoD (Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) has began its journey with the goal of drawing attention to the discrimination against LGBTIs, of showing that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans, and intersex are neither alone nor in the wrong, and of producing stronger solutions to their problems. In preparation of May 17th, the day to protest and struggle against all physical, moral, or symbolic violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, SPoD has compiled the following 24 problems commonly experienced by LGBTIs.

  1. LGBTIs’ existence is defined through concepts such as illness, perversion, sin, immorality, and other terms of negativity and negation. This situation, in turn, pushes LGBTIs into hiding their identities, into acting as that which they are not, into depression, and into thoughts of suicide. Yet, the medical institution defines homosexuality not as an illness but as an expression of human sexual diversity.
  2. Unrecognized and unprotected by the Constitution’s article on equality [Article 10], which fails to specify them by name, cannot benefit from social and economic rights afford to “all citizens.”[1]
  3. Their most basic rights, such as the right to life, to labor, to housing, to health, and to education, are disregarded.
  4. The current government and the pro-government media publicize them to be ill and perverted and target them.
  5. They are subjected to humiliation and verbal and physical harassment and violence.
  6. They are forced into exile to large urban centers in order to be free, to live comfortably, and to be free of social pressure.
  7. They are allowed only in certain regions of the cities.
  8. They are readily evicted from overpriced rental properties.
  9. Because they are not protected as a recognized disadvantaged group [by law], they either cannot find employment or have to endure long periods of unemployment. When they announce their identities or orientations, they are fired, subjected to workplace harassment, sexual harassment, and blackmail.
  10. LGBTIs, who already have limited access to health services, are pushed out of health programs. They have difficulties especially in accessing services related to sexual health.
  11. Sexist, homophobic, and transphobic discourses are deployed in textbooks. LGBTIs who are educators face dismissal under the pretense of acting against public morality or of acting dishonorably.
  12. LGBTIs who lack social security and stable income are clearly targeted more by discrimination and have a difficult time protecting themselves.
  13. While the internal dynamics of hetero relations are not questioned, LGBTIs are always subject to public curiosity [and scrutiny]. Homosexuals are treated as if they were merely sexual beings [2]. Their sexuality is scrutinized and pulled to shreds while they are subjected to absurd and offhand “jokes,” as if such behavior were part of ordinary life.
  14. The lack of the right to establish legal partnerships [civil unions –Trans.] brings with it economic and emotional problems. They are not afforded any of the related rights, including the right to making medical decisions when the spouse gets sick or the right to inheritance if the spouse dies. The state does not provide any legal protections to couples who have been cohabiting for years, even decades. Spouses are obstructed from visiting their partner in the hospital, or even from attending to their partner’s funeral.
  15. They are not legally allowed to adopt children.
  16. The majority of LGBTIs live alone when they become elderlies. Because the state does not produce any protective effort or projects, it is not only more difficult for them to fight against discrimination but they also experience various problems in relation to housing and care. They are once again forced to keep their sexual orientation and gender identity as they age.
  17. A widespread exclusion is experienced by those who are discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity in school, at work, at home, on the streets, and in the public sphere.
  18. They cannot benefit as they need from public transportation services due to various prejudices.
  19. In murders of LGBTIs, the murderers either remain unidentified and uninvestigated or enjoy impunity in the judiciary as their sentences are reduced under the pretense of “unjust provocation.” As violence is legitimized, instances of suicides among and of hate crimes against LGBTIs increase.
  20. According to the 2015 Trans Rights Europe Map and Index, Turkey, which demonstrates significant shortcomings in protecting trans people and recognizing gender identity [and gender expression], is 9th highest in the world for the frequency of hate murders against trans individuals. There are countless cases of assault, bodily harm, and murder with LGBTI victims, who are one of the most targeted groups in hate crimes.
  21. The harder it is for LGBTIs to announce their sexual orientation or gender identity, the harder it becomes for them to access the legal system and to bring to the judiciary their struggles. Another important problem is the chaos in the legal system and the vagueness of laws as they relate to LGBTIs. Even bars lack commissions regarding this issue.
  22. Many LGBTIs are subjected to hetero/sexist profanities, insults, and police brutality, with trans people being targeted by such dishonorable conduct the worst.
  23. Lesbians, bisexuals, and trans women are not allowed in shelters when they are subjected to violence. Gays and trans men, on the other hand, do not have any resources they can appeal to when they are subjected to violence.
  24. In situations where their appearance is perceived not to abide by the color of their ID card [3], trans women and men are subjected to various allegations [by law enforcement officers and private security and citizens alike –Trans.], such as “is this yours or is it your sibling’s?” or “did you steal this ID card?”

Mehtap Doğan
Media Director, Media Partnership Communications Consultation
mehtapdogan at mpiletisim.com

LGBTI NEWS TURKEY is the official translation source for SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign, which is endorsed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

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Türkiye’nin İnsan Hakları Sicili Birleşmiş Milletler İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nde İncelenecek

Ortak Basın Açıklaması
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

İletişim:
İstanbul: Zeynep Bilginsoy zeynep@lgbtinewsturkey.com
Ankara: Ezgi Kocak ezgi.kocak@kaosgl.org
New York: Hossein Alizadeh halizadeh@iglhrc.org
Cenevre: Alessia Valenza alessia@ilga.org

#UPRTurkey, #UPR21, @lgbtinewsturkey, @KaosGL, @IGLHRC, @ILGAWORLD

(İstanbul, Cenevre, New York; 26 Ocak 2015)

27 Ocak 2015 tarihinde, Birleşmiş Milletler’e üye devletler Türkiye’nin 2010’dan bu yana tutulan insan hakları sicilini inceleyecek. 2010’da devlet cinsel yönelim ve cinsel kimlik temelli ayrımcılıklar üzerine sicilini iyileştireceğine dair güvence vermişti. Fakat o günden beri LGBTİ kuruluşları Türkiye’nin bu alandaki başarısızlığını belgeledi.

İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nin gerçekleştireceği Evrensel Periyodik İnceleme’nin (EPİ) ikinci turu Türkiye’nin 2010’daki ilk turda kabul ettiği tavsiyelerin bir takibi niteliğinde olacak. Türkiye’nin ikinci periyodik değerlendirmesi İnsan Hakları Konseyi EPİ Çalışma Grubu’nun 21. oturumunda gerçekleştirilecek. İnceleme altındaki diğer ülkeler gibi Türkiye’nin EPİ süreci farklı bölgesel gruplardan seçilmiş üç konsey üyesi ülke tarafından yürütülecek: Gabon, Küba ve Suudi Arabistan. Bu üçlü, Türkiye’nin EPİ sürecinde raportör olarak hareket edecek. Üye ülkeler, sivil toplum tarafından belirtilen görüşlerle birlikte Türkiye’nin insan hakları sicili hakkında Birleşmiş Milletler üyesi diğer ülkelerin de tavsiye ve sorularını gündeme getirecek.

Türkiye’nin ikinci EPİ turuna katkıda bulunan yerel ve uluslararası sivil toplum kuruluşlarının sayısında ümit verici bir artış görülmüştür. LGBTİ kuruluşları da bu harekete katkıda bulunarak “Türkiye’de LGBT Yurttaşlara Yönelik İnsan Hakları İhlalleri” başlıklı belgeyi İnsan Hakları Konseyi’ne sunmuştur.

Gazetecilere, gelecek EPİ incelemesi hakkında bilgi vermek amacıyla  IGLHRC, KAOS GL ve LGBTI NEWS TURKEY tarafından hazırlanan “Arka Plan: İnsan Hakları Konseyi Evrensel Periyodik İncelemesi’nin Türkiye Değerlendirmesi” kuruluşların internet sitelerinde bulunabilir. Uzmanlar süreçle ilgili medya tarafından sorulacak soruları cevaplamaya da hazırlar.

Türkiye’nin ikinci periyodik incelemesi Cenevre’de Birleşmiş Milletler İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nde (Palais des Nations, Oda 20, 09.00) 27 Ocak’ta gerçekleştirilecek ve oturum http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast adresinde canlı olarak yayınlanacak. Oturumun video arşivi, ilk oturumun arşiviyle beraber http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast/Turkey adresinde bulunabilir.

Arka Plan: İnsan Hakları Konseyi Evrensel Periyodik İncelemesi’nin Türkiye Değerlendirmesi

Ortak Basın Açıklaması
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

Birleşmiş Milletler İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nin 27 Ocak 2015 tarihinde yapacağı değerlendirme Türkiye’nin insan hakları sicilinin uluslarlarası boyutta incelenmesi için ikinci defa gönüllü olmasıyla gerçekleşiyor. Türkiye’nin ilk EPİ değerlendirmesi, İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nde Mayıs 2010’da gerçekleşmişti. Evrensel Periyodik İnceleme, devletlere insan hakları performanslarını tartışma ve kendilerini nasıl geliştirebilecekleri üzerine geri bildirim alma imkanı veren devletler tarafından yürütülen bir süreçtir.

Birinci Tur

2010’da devletler Türkiye’nin sicilindeki cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli ayrımcılıklar konusundaki endişeleri dile getirmişti. Türkiye bu oturumda Norveç, Kanada ve Hollanda’nın tavsiyelerini kabul etti ve bu tür ayrımcılıkları azaltmak için girişimlerde bulunacağına dair söz verdi. Çelişkili bir biçimde, Çek Cumhuriyeti ve İrlanda tarafından verilen benzer tavsiyeler hükümet tarafından reddedildi fakat Çek Cumhuriyeti’nin kadına karşı ayrımcılıkla mücadele etmek için verdiği tavsiyede cinsel yönelim teriminin ve İrlanda’nın tavsiyesinde cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği terimlerinin kaldırılması ile önerileri kabul edilmişti. Hükümet ayrıca Çek Cumhuriyeti’nin devlet personeline verilecek cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği odaklı bir insan hakları eğitimi üzerine tavsiyesini de not aldı.

Birinci Turun ve Yeni Gelişmelerin Takibi

Türkiye ilk değerlendirmesinden bu yana, cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli ayrımcılıklar konusunda kabul etmiş olduğu tavsiyeleri uygulamaya koymada başarısız oldu. “Cinsel yönelim” ve “cinsiyet kimliği” terimleri, içinde ayrımcılık ve nefret suçları üzerine düzenlemeleri de bulunduran Mart 2014 tarihli Yeni Demokrasi Paketi’nde yer almadı. Buna ek olarak, cinsel yönelim ve cinsel kimlik terimlerine dair herhangi bir referansa yeni anayasa taslağının eşitlik üzerine olan maddesinde de yer verilmedi.

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasası’nın 90. maddesi, usulüne göre yürürlüğe konulmuş temel hak ve özgürlüklere ilişkin milletlerarası antlaşmaların kanun hükmünde olduğunu ve üstünlüğünü belirtir. Türkiye’nin Kasım 2011’de onayladığı Kadınlara Yönelik Şiddet ve Aile İçi Şiddetin Önlenmesi ve Bunlarla Mücadeleye İlişjkin Avrupa Konseyi Sözleşmesi’nin ayrımcılık karşıtı hükmü, “cinsel yönelim” ve “cinsiyet kimliği” terimlerini içeriyor. Bu hükümetin bu zamana kadar sorumluluğunu üzerine almayı reddettiği LGBTİ bireylerin güvenliğinin sağlama alınması için iç hukukunu bu anlaşmanın eksenine getirerek uluslararası yükümlülüklerini yerine getirmesi gerektiği anlamına geliyor.

İkinci Tur: LGBTİ Grubu Gönderisi

2014 yazında, yerel ve uluslararası LGBTİ kuruluşları koalisyonu BM İnsan Hakları Konseyi’ne 2010-2014 yılları arasında LGBTİ bireylerin yaşadığı insan hakları ihlallerini belgeledikleri ortak bir EPİ raporu sundu. Rapor, gerçek veya varsayılan cinsel yönelim veya cinsiyet kimliği sebebiyle gerçekleşen en az 41 ölümün altını çizdi. Bu sayı LGBTİ dernekleri ve basına yansıyan vakalarla sınırlıdır.

Türkiye’nin EPİ’nin ilk turunda cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği terimlerinin de bulunacağı kapsayıcı bir ayrımcılıkla mücadele yasasını yürürlüğe koyma sözüne karşın hükümet bu kesimi tanımak ve korumak adına hiçbir girişimde bulunmadı. Devlet tanıması ve korumasının yokluğu sebebiyle Türkiye’de cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli suçların verileri toplanmıyor, hatta bazı hakimler LGBTİ bireylere karşı işlenen nefret suçlarının faillerinin hapis cezalarına indirim uyguluyor. Eşcinsellik bir suç olarak görülmese bile çoğunlukla “müstehcen” veya “hukuka ve ahlaka aykırı” olarak adlandırılıyor. Cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliğinin bu şekilde yorumlanması LGBTİ topluluğunun ifade ve dernek kurma özgürlüğünü kısıtlıyor. Buna ek olarak, LGBTİ bireylerin yasal korumasının olmaması, bireylere yönelik cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli sistematik bir ayrımcılıkla sonuçlanıyor. Cinsel yönelimleri utanç verici ve “memurluk sıfatı ile bağdaşmayacak nitelik ve derece yüz kızartıcı” bulunduğu için kamu personelleri işlerinden çıkarıldı. Trans bireylerin ayrımcılık sebebiyle çalışma hayatına erişimleri yok ve seks işçiliğine başvurduklarındaysa polis tarafından keyfi olarak cezalandırılıyorlar.

AKP hükümetinin temsilcilerinin LGBTİ bireyler hakkında yaptıkları aşağılayıcı açıklamalar, homofobik ve transfobik bir ortama katkıda bulunuyorlar. 2010’da Kadın ve Aileden Sorumlu Devlet Bakanı Aliye Kavaf, “Ben eşcinselliğin biyolojik bir bozukluk, bir hastalık olduğuna inanıyorum. Tedavi edilmesi gereken bir şey bence” açıklamasında bulundu. 2013’te, İstanbul Milletvekili ve Sağlık, Aile, Çalışma ve Sosyal İşler Komisyonu Başkanı Türkan Dağoğlu “LGBT dediğimiz durum normal dışı bir davranıştır” açıklamasını yaptı. Hükümet yanlısı gazetelerin yinelemesiyle, bu söylemler ayrımcılık ve nefret suçlarının devam edebilmesini sağlıyor.

Son olarak, Türkiye’nin EPİ’nin ikinci turu için sunduğu Ulusal Rapor da cinsel yönelim, cinsiyet kimliği veya LGBTİ sorunlarıyla ilgili herhangi bir referans içermiyor.

Turkey’s Human Rights Record to be Reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council 

Joint Media Advisory
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

Media Contacts:

In Istanbul: Zeynep Bilginsoy zeynep@lgbtinewsturkey.com
In Ankara: Ezgi Kocak ezgi.kocak@kaosgl.org
In New York: Hossein Alizadeh halizadeh@iglhrc.org
In Geneva: Alessia Valenza alessia@ilga.org

#UPRTurkey, #UPR21, @lgbtinewsturkey, @KaosGL, @IGLHRC, @ILGAWORLD

(Istanbul, Geneva, New York; January, 23, 2015) — On 27 January 2015, United Nations’ member states will review the Republic of Turkey’s human rights record since 2010, when the nation pledged to improve its record on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Since then, LGBTI organizations have documented Turkey’s failure to do so.

The Human Rights’ Council’s second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be a follow up on the recommendations that Turkey accepted during the first cycle in 2010. The second periodic review of Turkey will take place during the 21st session of the Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group. Similar to other countries under review, Turkey’s UPR process is facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, Gabon, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. This troika will act as rapporteur for Turkey’s UPR review. Member states will be raising questions based on civil society’s submissions along with recommendations and questions about Turkey’s human rights records shared by other members of the United Nations.

The second cycle of Turkey’s UPR already shows a promising increase in the engagement of local and international civil society organizations that include LGBTI organizations who have submitted a document entitled “Human Rights Violations of LGBTI Individuals in Turkey” for the Human Rights Council’s consideration.

To help journalists cover the upcoming UPR review, IGLHRC, KAOS GL, and LGBTI NEWS TURKEY have included the attached “Background: The UPR Review of Turkey by the UN Human Rights Council” also available on the organizations’ websites. Experts are available to answer media inquiries about the process.

The Second Periodic Review of Turkey will take place at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s (09:00 in Room 20 at the Palais des Nations) in Geneva on January 27 and will be telecast live at this address: http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast. The video archives of the session, as well as the videos from the first session are available on this website: http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast/Turkey

Background: The UPR Review of Turkey by the UN Human Rights Council

Joint Media Advisory
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

The January 27, 2015 review of the Republic of Turkey at the U.N. Human Rights Council marks the second time that Turkey volunteered to present its human rights records to be evaluated by members of the international community. In May 2010, Turkey had its first UPR review at the Human Rights Council. The Universal Periodic Review is a state-driven process, which allows states to discuss their human rights performance and receive feedback on how they can improve.

The First Cycle

In 2010, states raised concerns about Turkey’s record of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Turkey accepted recommendations by Norway, Canada and the Netherlands and committed to take steps to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Paradoxically, the Government rejected similar non-discrimination recommendations by the Czech Republic and Ireland but accepted amendments to combat discrimination against women with the removal of the term sexual orientation in the case of the Czech Republic and the removal of the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in the case of Ireland. The Government also noted the Czech Republic’s recommendation on human rights education and training for state personnel with a focus that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The full list of recommendations accepted by the Republic of Turkey during the first UPR review can be viewed here.

Follow-up to the First Cycle and New Developments

Since undergoing its first review, Turkey has failed to implement the accepted recommendations of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of March 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination provision of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfill its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

The Second Cycle: LGBT Group’s Submission

In the summer of 2014, a coalition of local and international LGBTI organizations submitted a joint UPR report to the U.N. Human Rights Council documenting rights violations against LGBTI individuals between 2010 and 2014. The report highlighted the murder of at least 41 individuals due to their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity. This number is limited to data compiled from reports by LGBTI associations and the Turkish media.

Despite Turkey’s pledge to implement comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation with the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) in the first UPR cycle back in 2010, the government of Turkey has not taken any steps to legally recognize or protect these categories. In the absence of state recognition and protection of LGBTI individuals, Turkey does not collect data on crimes committed on the basis of SOGI; while some Judges apply reductions to prison sentences of perpetrators of hate crimes against LGBT individuals. Though homosexuality is not criminalized, homosexuality is often considered “indecent” and “contrary to law and ethics”. Such troubling interpretations of sexual orientation and gender identity have in effect limited the right to free speech and freedom of association for the LGBTI community. Furthermore, the lack of legal protection for LGBTI persons have resulted in systematic discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity: Civil servants are fired because their sexual orientation is considered shameful and “unfit for the position of a civil servant”. Trans individuals have no access to employment because of rampant discrimination and are arbitrarily fined by the police when they turn to sex work.

Officials from the ruling AKP government in some cases contribute to a homophobic and transphobic environment by making derisive statements about LGBTI persons in public. In 2010, Aliye Kavaf, then the State Minister of the Affairs of Women and Families, stated that she believes “homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease … something that needs to be treated”. In 2013, Türkan Dağoğlu, Istanbul MP and Deputy President of the Committee on Health, Family, Labor, and Social Affairs, stated in that “’LGBT’ is a behavior that is outside the bounds of normality”. These statements are then mirrored in pro-government newspapers, potentially contributing to a context in which the cycle of discrimination and hate crimes can continue.

Finally, the Republic of Turkey’s National Report submission for the second cycle of the UPR does not include any reference to sexual orientation, gender identity or LGBTI issues.

Universal Periodic Review Statement to the European Union

Statement delivered by Kaos GL’s Ezgi Kocak on December 3, 2014 in Geneva to Permanent Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations on behalf of Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, and ILGA World. 

Dear colleagues and representatives of the European Union,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of this meeting and to present the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans individuals in Turkey. We represent the coalition of organisations (Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Human Rights Commission).

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At the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, Turkey accepted recommendations by Norway and the Netherlands for non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, Turkey accepted the Czech Republic’s recommendation to review national legislation on non-discrimination with regard to women and gender identity. However, Turkey has failed to implement these recommendations and have instead moved in the opposite direction.

Despite the Turkish government’s commitments made during the first UPR and in spite of the collective efforts of the Turkish and international civil society organisations over the past four years, no anti-discrimination legislation – in line with the UN and the CoE norms and standards- has yet been put into the legislative process. Particularly, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of February 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination article of the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfil its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

Finally, Turkey’s 2014 Progress Report complements our UPR submission and highlights equality and non-discrimination, right to life and security of the person, administration of justice, including impunity and the rule of law issues where the Turkish government fails to address in order to improve the human rights situation in Turkey for all citizens including LGBT individuals.

Recommendations

We respectfully request that the issue of protection of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is raised during the upcoming UPR session and that the following recommendations are made to the government of Turkey:

  • Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  • Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  • Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Take all administrative measures, both on national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT persons in Turkey.
  • Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  • Cease to categorise homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  • Guarantee the freedom of speech and association for LGBT community members and their allies.
  • Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

Universal Periodic Review Pre-Session Statement

Statement delivered by LGBTI News Turkey’s Zeynep Bilginsoy on December 3, 2014 in Geneva to Permanent Missions to the United Nations on behalf of Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, and ILGA World at Pre-Session event hosted by UPR Info. 

Dear colleagues and representatives of the Permanent Missions,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of this session and to present the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans individuals in Turkey. This statement is delivered on behalf of a coalition of Turkish and international LGBT rights groups that have been engaged in the UPR process with the submission of a report entitled “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey”.

IMG_6056.JPG

Although the National Report of Turkey states that a consultation meeting took place on 27 February 2014, none of the eight officially registered LGBT associations were invited to this meeting.

We believe that recommendations during the UPR review of Turkey can specifically help the LGBT community in Turkey in areas such as (1) right to life, non-discrimination, and administration of justice and (2) refugees and asylum-seekers.

(1) Right to life, non-discrimination, and administration of justice

“LGBT is a behaviour that is outside the bounds of normality” Türkan Dağoğlu, Istanbul MP and Deputy President of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Family, Labor, and Social Affairs, 2013

Between 2010 and June 2014, 41 individuals have been killed due to their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Moreover, several incidents of gun and physical-assault-related injuries, fatal lynchings and rape cases have also been reported throughout this period of time.

Due to the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are not recognised as categories protected under anti-hate crime legislations, there is a lack of official data on instances of hate crimes. As a result, the number of deaths is estimated to be far higher. Besides, the fear of humiliation and undignified treatment that LGBT persons face throughout the legal process, along with concerns about revealing the survivor’s sexual orientation and gender identity to the public, are among the factors that prevent many LGBT individuals from seeking justice through the court.

Although Turkish legal codes do not explicitly discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the applications of existing laws by Turkey’s Judiciary is often discriminatory against LGBT individuals. Even worse, the perpetrators of anti-LGBT hate crimes can benefit from penalty reductions stipulated as part of “unjust provocation” regulations. Given the absence of any legal protection for individuals subjected to hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and considering the biased application of the laws to the advantage of perpetrators of crimes against LGBT individuals, it is of utmost importance for the Republic of Turkey to consider offering comprehensive legal protection for LGBT individuals a top priority.

Follow-up to the First Review

At the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Turkey in 2010, several states raised concerns and put recommendations to the Government relating to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Turkish government accepted recommendations by Norway, Canada and the Netherlands (100.33, 102.11, 102.12) and therefore committed to take steps to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Paradoxically, the government rejected similar non-discrimination recommendations by the Czech Republic and Ireland but accepted amendments to combat discrimination against women with the removal of the term sexual orientation in the case of the Czech Republic (102.10) and the removal of the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in the case of Ireland (102.13). The government also noted the Czech Republic’s recommendation (102.32) on human rights education and training for state personnel with a focus that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

New Developments since the Review

Despite the Turkish government’s commitments made during the first UPR and in spite of the collective efforts of the Turkish and international civil society organisations over the past four years, no anti-discrimination legislation – in line with the UN and the CoE norms and standards- has yet been put into the legislative process. Particularly, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of February 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination article of the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfil its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

Recommendations

We respectfully request that the issue of protection of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is raised during the upcoming UPR session and that the following recommendations are made to the government of Turkey:

  • Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  • Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  • Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender
identity.
  • Take all administrative measures, both on national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT persons in Turkey.
  • Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  • Cease to categorise homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  • Guarantee the freedom of speech and association for LGBT community members and their allies.

(2) Refugees and asylum-seekers

Turkey has long served as a stepping-stone for thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Based on the Turkish government’s regulations, LGBT refugees arriving in Turkey are required to resettle in conservative satellite towns in the interior of Turkey, where they face discriminatory acts by public officials and law-enforcement agencies and violence from their neighbors. Their UNHCR processing times can take years, while they are unable to work both due to their refugee status and their sexual orientation or gender identity. Because of the lack of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, the existence of LGBT asylum-seekers and refugees as a category is not legally recognised. This issue is even more complicated for Syrians who have been given temporary protection in Turkish territory and who are considered “guests” rather than refugees.

Recommendations

We therefore request the distinguished delegations to consider making the following recommendations to the government of Turkey:

  • Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

Evaluating Hate Murders based on SOGI in Turkey: Shortcomings and Proposals

Between January 2010 and November 2014, 47 individuals have been killed due to their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. These deaths are represented in the infographic below (pdf, source, license), with data collected by LGBTI News Turkey volunteers from various online news media and LGBTI associations.

LGBTI hate murders in Turkey 2010-2014

LGBTI hate murders in Turkey 2010-2014

It is important to note that these figures point to the lack of information regarding a significant part of Turkey. This scarcity of data may be caused by the intersection of several factors:

a) Issues of visibility in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in Turkey,
b) Lack of official data (the Republic of Turkey does not recognise SOGI as categories pertaining to discrimination and hate crimes),
c) Systematic lack of attention and reach by Turkish mainstream media sources to regions populated by religious and ethnic [Kurdish] minorities.

(more…)

UPR Submission: “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey”

“The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.”

The UPR Pre-Session of Turkey will take place on 3 December 2014. This session will allow civil society organisations engaged in the UPR to give their recommendations to Member States. We will be taking the floor to present our joint submission (Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, ILGA) and to put forth the following recommendations:

  1. Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  2. Take all administrative measures, both on the national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT individuals in Turkey.
  3. Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  4. Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  5. Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  6. Provide a comprehensive framework for public school education on sexuality that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  7. Cease to categorize homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  8. Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  9. Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  10. Guarantee the freedom of speech and assembly for LGBT community members and their allies.
  11. Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

Links to our full report:

Turkish: EPI-LGBT

English: UPR-LGBT

Gay Police Officer Case in European Union’s Turkey 2014 Progress Report

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Eşcinsel Polis Davası AB Raporunda,” (“Gay Police Officer Case in EU Report,”) bianet, 9 October 2014, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/159047-escinsel-polis-davasi-ab-raporunda

The European Union’s (EU) Turkey 2014 Progress Report included the case of Osman, a gay police officer who was expelled from his post due to his sexual orientation.

The report’s section on LGBTI rights cited that while an open gay person could become a municipal assembly member in Istanbul, discrimination against LBGTI individuals remained in workplaces.

“A police officer’s appeal against dismissal from his profession for his sexual orientation was awaiting a trial date,” the report said regarding the situation of state workers dismissed due to their sexual orientation.

“We are visible in the EU but not in Turkey’s judicial system,” Osman told bianet after hearing that the report cited his situation.

“I don’t know how far it will go, but one day we will acquire our rights.”

Osman, 28, has been dismissed due to his sexual orientation after working as a policeman for 6 years.

Osman previously spoke to bianet after starting a legal battle to return to his post. His struggle continues.