Parliamentary Questions

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

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?

Ministry of Labor does not support LGBT participation in labor force

Turkish Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Çelik stated that the policies to support participation in the labor force do not include LGBTs.

Source: “Çalışma Bakanlığı: LGBT’lerin işgücüne katılımını desteklemiyoruz”, (“Ministry of Labor does not support LGBT participation in labor force”), kaosGL.org, 23 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18556

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security responded to a parliamentary question submitted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Mahmut Tanal on the inclusion of LGBTs in its employment policies.

Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Çelik did not count LGBTs among the “disadvantaged groups” in employment which the Ministry gives support to for their labor-force participation.

Çelik’s answer to Tanal’s parliamentary question was as follows and can be seen in the original PDF here:

“The measures taken by our Ministry to support the labor-force participation of especially disadvantaged groups and to tackle discrimination and social exclusion concern women, children, people with disabilities, the youth, ex-convicts, the Roma, immigrants, the poor or people under poverty risk, addicts and seasonal workers.”

MP Mahmut Tanal had asked Çelik the following questions:

  • 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?

MP Tanal asks Minister of Justice their activities on protecting the human rights of the LGBT citizens

Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission, is waiting for a response to his questions regarding the activities of the Ministry of Justice.

Source: “Milletvekili Tanal, Bakan Bozdağ’a LGBT Yurttaşların İnsan Haklarını Koruma Çalışmalarını Sordu”, (Parliamentarian Tanal asks Minister of Justice Bozdağ their activities on protecting the human rights of the LGBT citizens”, KaosGL.org, 22 November 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18021 

Mahmut Tanal, a parliamentarian of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Istanbul; submitted 20 questions to the Grand National Assembly to get information about the activities of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Security and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies for protecting the human rights of LGBT citizens.

Tanal, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission, requested a written response from the Ministry of Justice Bekir Bozdağ for the following questions:

  • Is there any activity carried out by your Ministry for recognising and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens, in accordance with international obligations?
  • Is there any activity being carried out for the Ministry staff, including the staff in provincial areas, to build awareness on this subject? What are these activities? What stage are these activities at?
  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • For the internal training of the aforementioned personnel, which resources and publications are used for the contents about human rights and democratic citizenship?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?
  • When a violence threat towards LGBT people from correctional officers or detainees and convicts is reported, what kind of procedure is followed by your Ministry for protecting the LGBT person, or as a sanction to the perpetrator?
  • What kind of mechanisms are there present in the prisons for LGBT convicts to easily report complaints to the management, or for the management and prevent them to be aggrieved and for establishing complete privacy and security?

Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts

The Ministry of Justice responded to a request for information regarding LGBT inmates and said that it provides training on how to approach LGBT convicts and detainees to the prisons’ psycho-social service experts. The Ministry did not respond to the question on whether correctional officers and the general inmate population receive programs on awareness-building and violence prevention.

Source: Murat Köylü, “Adalet Bakanlığı: Cezaevi psiko-sosyal servis uzmanlarına LGBT eğitimi verildi”, (“Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts”), Kaos GL, 30 December 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18372

The Ministry had said “We do not do any work on LGBT rights”

The Ministry of Justice sent a partial answer to Mahmut Tanal’s request for information regarding “LGBT rights in prisons”. Mahmut Tanal is a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Justice had answered that they do not conduct “any work on LGBT rights”, in response to another request for information by Parliamentarian Tanal. However, it has been revealed that the Ministry is in fact giving trainings on the issue to the prison psycho-social service experts.

Isolation instead of education!

The European Court of Human Rights had found Turkey guilty of discrimination and ill-treatment in a 2012 case regarding a gay inmate’s “isolation for his own security.” In the following months of the judgement,  the Ministry of Justice had put forth an “LGBT-only Prison”, which was criticized by civil society as “collective isolation”.

Mahmut Tanal, Member of Parliament from the Republican People’s Party, submitted a parliamentary question in November 2014 to the Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ on “LGBT inmates rights”. However, given the fact that questions submitted by opposition parties usually go unanswered, the same questions were submitted to the Ministry through a request for information, which makes a response mandatory.

The questions submitted by MP Tanal are:

  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?

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Turkish Ministry of Justice: “We do not do any work on LGBT citizens’ human rights”

The Turkish Ministry of Justice responded to an application to acquire information on LGBT rights: “There is no work on the protection and recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens’ human rights conducted by our Ministry.”

Source: Murat Köylü, “Turkish: ‘Adalet Bakanlığı: LGBT yurttaşların haklarına dair hiçbir faaliyetimiz yok”, (“Turkish Ministry of Justice: We do not do any work on LGBT citizens’ human rights”), Kaosgl.org, December 30, 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18362

An application to acquire information on LGBT rights made in November by the main opposition party’s, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), MP Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, was responded to by the Ministry of Justice.

“There is no work on LGBT citizens’ human rights”

In response to application to acquire information, the Presidency of Education Directorate affiliated to the Ministry of Justice stated “there is no work on the protection and recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens’ human rights conducted by our Ministry. For Ministry personnel at any level, including those working in local bodies, we have not implemented any work so far in order to raise awareness on the issue.”

With reference to the response, concerns regarding the fact that the Ministry has no approach to and given no priority to LGBT citizens, apart from the Ministry’s both internally and externally very much criticized “LGBT prison”policy, were confirmed. This comes despite Turkey’s LGBT citizens, civil society organizations, opposition parties [the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP)] and the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union emphasising how vital it is.

Tanal applied via the Act of Right of Information Acquirement

CHP MP Tanal submitting a parliamentary question “regarding LGBT rights” to the Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdag, brought the same issue to the agenda of the Ministry by applying under the Act of Right of Information Acquirement having considered that most of the opposition parties’ parliamentary questions are left unanswered. According to the Act, the applicant should access the requested information or document in 15 working days. Otherwise it is sent to the supreme board and administrative jurisdiction.

MP Tanal asked the following questions:

  • Is there any work on the recognition and protection of LGBT citizens’ human rights in your Ministry in line with Turkey’s national and international obligations? What kind of work and to what degree are they conducted?
  • Is there any work [on LGBT citizens] for Ministry personnel at any level, including those working in local bodies? What kind of work and in to what degree are they conducted?

MP Asks Prime Minister Davutoğlu Parliamentary Question on the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Fatwa Hotline and Homosexuality

Aykan Erdemir, a parliamentarian from the Republican People’s Party, filed an official parliamentary question asking Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to comment on the fatwa hotline of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. (PDF)

TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THE TURKISH GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

I present my questions below and request that they be answered in writing by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Respectfully,

Asst. Prof. Dr. Aykan ERDEMİR
Member of Parliament from Bursa

In the Milli Gazete dated 25 November 2014, there was a news story about a meeting which the European Parliament had arranged in Tirana in connection with the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, where a member of parliament, the Government Auditing Commission, and NGOs from Turkey participated.

In the aforementioned news story, it was alleged that an inquiry “concerning participation in the meeting” had been directed by the employees of the Milli Gazete to the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Hello Fatwa Line, and that a reply had been received saying that “It is certainly a perversion and is forbidden by our religion. Those who give support to such a meeting in a positive sense have accepted spiritual responsibility [for this sin]. It is necessary to publish the evil of this through the agency of NGOs”; and the aforementioned fatwa was shared.

In this connection:

  1. Was a question with the heading “concerning participation in the meeting” directed to the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ Hello Fatwa Line, as alleged in the aforementioned news story? If so, what kind of answer did the Ministry of Religious Affairs give?

  2. From 2002 until now, how many questions, and questions about what subjects, have been addressed to the Hello Fatwa Line either by homosexual and transgender citizens and their family members or in connection with the condition of homosexual and transgender persons? In what form and with what content have answers been given to these inquiries?

  3. What are the “religious and non-religious written sources” that the Ministry of Religious Affairs’ public services, including the Hello Fatwa Line, have taken or provided as references within the framework of the issue of discrimination, hate, and violence directed at homosexuals and transgender citizens? Do they include the human rights corpus, such as the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and other conventions and documents derived therefrom, the European Human Rights Convention, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights?