Parliamentary Questions

Parliamentary Questions on LGBTI issues submitted by Members of Parliament in Turkey

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

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

TO THE OFFICE OF GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY of TURKEY

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

Mithat Sancar

Mardin MP

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

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

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

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

Within this scope:

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

HDP’s Paylan submits Parliamentary Question to Minister of Interior on LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek, Discrimination, and Violence against LGBTI

Garo Paylan, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member of parliament from Istanbul, asked Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk about the attack against LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek.

Source: Bia Haber, “Garo Paylan’dan LGBTİ Aktivisti Kemal Ördek’e Saldırı Hakkında Soru Önergesi” (“Parliamentary Question on LGBTI Activist Kemal Ördek from Garo Paylan”), bianet.org, 15 July 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/166058-garo-paylan-dan-lgbti-aktivisti-kemal-ordek-e-saldiri-hakkinda-soru-onergesi

Garo Paylan, an HDP member of parliament from Istanbul, asked Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk about the attack against LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek.

LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek was sexually assaulted on Sunday, 5 July, at their home in Ankara. In response to an officer’s comment, “Enough with this Tribe of Lot,” the assailants allegedly responded “We are real men, officer; you would understand, wouldn’t you?” and were subsequently released. Ördek spoke about the incident to bianet.

Following the attack, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville made written statements and called on Turkish authorities to take effective measures against homophobic and transphobic aggression and discrimination in a written statement. Republican People’s Party Members of Parliament Mahmut Tanal (Istanbul) and Veli Ağbaba (Malatya) introduced the issue to the parliament with parliamentary questions.

The parliamentary question that Garo Paylan submitted to the Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk includes the following questions:

  • Is it correct that Kemal Ördek called the police for help, but was ignored and scolded by the police?
  • Is it correct that one officer commented, “Enough with the Tribe of Lot,” referring to Kemal Ördek, and that some other officers teased them due to their sexual identity?
  • Has an administrative investigation been started about the officers involved?
  • What is the number of similar attacks against LGBTI individuals between 2010-2015 according to official records?
  • How many LGBTI individuals lost their lives or sustained injuries as a result of similar attacks in the last five years?
  • What kinds of penalties have Directorate of Security employees received as a result of investigations conducted in this subject?

Rape and Police Violence Carried to Parliament with Tanal’s Parliamentary Question

Mahmut Tanal, the Republican People’s Party’s member of parliament from Istanbul, submits question to Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk about the experiences of trans activist Kemal Ördek.

Source: Kaos GL, “Tecavüz ve polis şiddeti Meclis’e taşındı” (“Rape and Police Violence Carried to Parliament”), kaosgl.org, 11 July 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19823

Following the rape in their home and exposure to police violence of trans activist and Red Umbrella Association member Kemal Ördek, a parliamentary question was submitted by Mahmut Tanal.

The question encompassed the involved police officers’ covering up of the event and their use of offensive language, as well as the release of the people who allegedly committed the crime and their continued threats to Kemal Ördek over the phone. The following questions were posed to the Minister of Interior:

  • Are the allegations that on the night of these events, when Kemal Ördek asked for help from the police, they were not taken seriously and were reprimanded by the police officers, despite being the victim, true?
  • What was the legal justification for Kemal Ördek being brought to the police station alongside the suspects in the same car? Has any inquiry about the police officers who did this been started?
  • Are the allegations that upon entering the police station one of the police officers said, “Enough of this Tribe of Lot!”, that the other police officers mocked the victim for their gender identity, that the police officer who took the victim’s statement tried to make the victim sign a record of statement, different from their own and that this police officer interfered with the victim’s statement-giving true?
  • Has an inquiry regarding these police officers and other public officials been started by the Ministry?
  • What administrative sanctions will be taken towards these officials?

Kürkçü asked the Labour Minister about the LGBTI employment

Ertuğrul Kürkçü from HDP submitted a motion regarding the employment of LGBTI to the Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik.

“Kürkçü, Çalışma Bakanı’na LGBTİ istihdamını sordu” [“Kürkçü asked the Labour Minister about the LGBTI employment”], Kaos GL, 05 February 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18650

Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Mersin Representative of HDP, asked the Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik if they will begin taking actions about sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.

Minister Çelik did not count LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) among disadvantaged groups in the labor force participation while answering the proposed motion Mahmut Tanal from the CHP presented in November.

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LGBT People are not protected against hate speech in Grand National Assembly of Turkey

The campaign against hate speech and discriminatory statements in the Turkish Parliament does not cover “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression”. It has also been revealed that gay and trans people are excluded from the scope of protection.

Source: Murat Köylü, “TBMM’de LGBT’ler nefret söylemine karşı korunmuyor”, (“LGBT People are not protected against hate speech in Grand National Assembly of Turkey”), Kaos GL, 03 February 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18630

The campaign against hate speech and discriminatory statements in the Turkish Parliament does not cover the statements “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression”. It has also been revealed that gay and trans people are excluded from the scope of protection.

The parliamentary question from Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Deputy Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of the Turkish Parliament, of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), received a response.

The above mentioned parliamentary question on the “prevention of usage of hate speech and discriminative statements in Grand National Assembly of Turkey” submitted to Turkish Parliamentary Speaker’s Office was responded to by Sadık Yakut, Turkish Parliamentary Deputy Speaker.

MP Yakut from Justice and Development Party (AKP) referred to parliamentary immunity in his response and he reminded [the minister] that “according to the Bylaws of Grand National Assembly of Turkey, a person who utters rude and hurtful statements in the General Assembly will be immediately warned by the Chairman, requested to leave the floor in the case of that person’s insistence on speaking and may be excluded from the session if the Chairman deems it necessary”.

Sadık Yakut, Deputy Chairman of Grand National Assembly of Turkey, attracted attention to the Political Ethics Conciliation Commission’s bill of law on preventing hate speech and discriminative statements in the Assembly, which was finalized in December 2012 and submitted to the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office.

In this bill of law from the Commission, which was established with the purpose of developing a clear, honest and accountable understanding of politics and defining ethical principles by making a detailed examination on political ethics, the principle that “any discrimination due to such reasons as language, race, color, gender, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, age, physical, mental and psychological disabilities shall not be in question” was indicated. The fact is statements such as “sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” were not indicated and trans and homosexual people’s exclusion from the scope of the protection attracted attention.

In his response, Mr. Yakut also shared the [names of] MPs who received disciplinary punishment in the 24th Term of the 3rd Legislative Year of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

DISCIPLINARY PUNISHMENTS IN 24TH TERM OF THE 4TH LEGISLATIVE YEAR

Serial No

MP who receives disciplinary punishment

Disciplinary Punishment

Other Details re Disciplinary Punishment

Name Surname

Election District

Type

Reason

Session No

Date

1

Kamer Genç

Tunceli

Prohibition from speaking

Digression from the subject being discussed

102

12.06.2014

2

Kamer Genç

Tunceli

Punishment of  Permanent Exclusion from two sessions

Revilement to Deputy Chairman who chairs the session

78

17.04.2014

3

Oktay Saral

İstanbul

Reprimand

Carrying out an attack

51

23.01.2014

4

Özdal Üçer

Van

Reprimand

Rude and hurtful utterances

33

16.12.2013

TBMM Başkanlığı “milletvekillerinin, danışmanların, yasama uzmanlarının ve yardımcı personelin nefret söylemine karşı farkındalık düzeylerinin artırılmasına” ilişkin olarak ise TBMM’nin Etik Komisyonu’na işaret etti.

The Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey pointed to the Assembly’s Ethics Commission regarding “increasing the level of awareness of parliament members, consultants, legislative experts and supportive personnel against hate speech”.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu, MP from Republican People’s Party (CHP) asked the following in his parliamentary question:

1- Is any kind of mechanism projected which follows, assesses and plans the required steps through analysis on hate speech (or speech which have a high potential of being understood as hate speech) by MPs?

2- Which sanctions are applied or could be applied against hate speech and discriminative statements by MPs?

3- In the previous legislative year, was any provision of a by-law or any other legislation applied due to hate speech, discriminative statement or revilement? If yes, in which cases was it applied?

4- Does the Parliamentary Speaker’s Office plan on any project to increase the awareness and responsibility levels of parliament members, consultants and party group management of hate speech and discriminative language?

Turkey’s Minister of Family sees homosexuality as a “preference”

Ayşenur İslam, the Minister of Family and Social Policy, noted that there is no statistical record of gender and “preference” in applications received by the Ministry.

Source: “Aile bakanı eşcinselliği tercih sanıyor”, (“The Minister of Family thinks homosexuality is a preference”), KaosGL.org, 29 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18593

Responding to CHP MP Mahmut Tanal’s request for information on discrimination and violence against LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans), Minister İslam claimed that the Ministry produces “holistic social policies that target the entire society and prioritize disadvantaged segments.”

The Minister of Family does not observe international terminology

Not mentioning LGBTs in her response, the Minister of Family and Social Policy İslam used the term “preference” instead of “sexual orientation.”

Remarking that the applications received through the Ministry’s Social Support and Social Aid phone lines are processed based on the nature of the request, İslam said, “there is no statistical record regarding [the applicants’] gender and preference.”

In international documents, the term sexual orientation, which signals an unchangeable characteristic of the individual, is preferred over “sexual preference,” which implies voluntary choice.

The Protection of the Family Act ignores discrimination

Responding to the question regarding measures to make it easy for LGBTs to place complaints about domestic violence, İslam said that there is no discrimination in the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women Act.

Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, placed two expansive requests for information covering a number of issues including policies for the social inclusion of trans individuals, the social aid allocated to LGBTs, LGBT suicides, and policies addressing the special needs of minor, teenager, senior, and disabled LGBTs.

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MP Mahmut Tanal’s Parliamentary Question on LGBT Employment

Mahmut Tanal, a parliamentarian from the Republican People’s Party filed a parliamentary question on LGBT employment. PDF

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Republican People’s Party (CHP)
Group Presidency
Date: 18 November 2014
No: 32293

To the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Ankara

I respectfully request the Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Çelik to respond to the questions below in writing in accordance with the 98th bylaw of the Constitution and the 96th bylaw of the Standing Orders.

Lawyer Mahmut Tanal

Member of Parliament from Istanbul

  • Does your Ministry do any work to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens in the employment policies, especially regarding the participation of disadvantaged groups in labor force?
  • Do the public expenditures and the Ministry policies regarding youth empowerment include measures to help LGBT youth escape the circle of discrimination and social exclusion they are intensely exposed to, as well as suggestions based on human rights to address the problems of this group?