Rights Violations in 2014

Rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2014 in Turkey

Trans activist Figen commits suicide

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Trans activist Figen yaşamına son verdi”, (“Trans activist Figen commits suicide”), Kaos GL, August 24, 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17381.

Trans activist had been tortured by the police on a Mersin street in the recent past.

Trans activist Figen, a member of the Mersin 7 Renk [“7 Colors”] LGBT group and formerly on the board of directors of Pembe Hayat, committed suicide today (August 24th) evening by drowning herself in the sea off Mersin.

Trans women, routinely subjected to transphobic violence by both the Turkish police and local gangs, are trying to survive under harsh conditions. A recent escalation in transphobic attacks is destroying their living spaces.

Torture in the middle of the street!

As reported by the media, Figen and other trans women had been tortured in public by the police on July 22. Seated at a bus stop, the women were approached by a group of police officers who yelling, “Get the hell out of here. You are disturbing people in the vicinity”, attacked them with batons and tear gas. They were then taken to the police station by force.

Not only did the police not process them at the station, but their request to file a complaint was also denied. Both Mersin 7 Renk and Pembe Hayat called the police station following the attack. The police lied in order to cover up the event, saying, “There is no report of such an incident. How did you come up with this stuff?”

At the time, Figen was dealing not only with police abuse but also with the loss of her older brother in the Soma mine massacre. She was unable to attend her brother’s funeral due to family pressure.

LGBTI organizations will claim the remains

Officials from Mersin 7 Renk, Pembe Hayat, and Kaos GL are trying to reach her family in order for them to claim the remains. Evren Çakmak from Kaos GL, and Buse Kılıçkaya and Gani Met from Pembe Hayat have arrived in Mersin to claim the remains, in case the family fails to do so themselves.

Chanting “Murderous State” will work only to relieve ourselves

Umut Güner from the Kaos GL provided the following assessment regarding LGBTI suicides:

“It is not just the violence, but the very heterosexist culture and its social structure that renders life unlivable. There is no truth to claims such as ‘I am not homophobic, I am not transphobic!’ Even LGBTIs can be homophobic and transphobic. Projects such as awareness raising campaigns are no longer enough. We have to organize for and build alternative living networks. The ‘Murderous State’ chants will work only to relieve ourselves. I cannot say ‘rest in peace’ to Figen. I witnessed what she lived through over the past two years. She did not live in peace, how is she to rest in peace?”


Having suicidal thoughts? Please, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

To the best of our knowledge, the online and IRL resources below will provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space.

IRC / Chatlines

Hotlines

Sexual Assault Resources

If you know of any other suicide resources where you live or work, please do let us know so that we can add them to our website. To contact us, email us at info@lgbtinewsturkey.com, or see https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/about/.

https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

 

Stabbed 28 times upon offering same-sex intercourse

Source: “Eşcinsel ilişki teklif eden arkadaşını 28 yerinden bıçakladı”, (“Stabbed his friend 28 times upon being offered same-sex intercourse”), Milliyet, 20 August 2014, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/escinsel-iliski-teklif-eden-gundem-1928483/

A man living in the Gebze district of Kocaeli stabbed his friend 28 times when the [male] friend offered to have sexual relations with him.

Sources indicate that while S.Ç. (35) was sitting on his balcony, he saw his friend E.Y. walking down the street and invited him up to his house. Allegedly, the two friends were drinking and S.Ç. offered to have sex with E.Y. Upset by this, E.Y went to the kitchen and called his friend in. Then he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed his friend 28 times.

The police arrived and began investigating. They were able to catch E.Y. at the textile workshop where he worked. E.Y. admitted to having committed the murder during his initial testimony at the police station and he was referred to court.

Public Abuse of Trans Individuals by Police

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Mersin’de Polisten Translara Sokakta İşkence!” (“Public Abuse of Trans Individuals by Police!”) KaosGl.org, 22 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17153.

 

In Mersin, police officers attacked trans women in public, shouting “Get out of here” and assaulting them with batons.

The violent treatment of trans women by the police has gone unstopped. Citing a misdemeanor law, the police attacked and publicly abused 7 trans women.

Police used tear gas on the trans women while violently attacking them. Among them were activists from the solidarity group, “7 Renk” (“7 Colors”). A 7 Renk activist, Ece Yiğit, recounted the events to KaosGL.org.

Beating for Disturbing the Peace!

“We were hanging out last night on İsmet İnönü Boulevard with the other girls. There were seven of us and we were only chatting. There was also a man next to us sipping beer. Then the police came out of nowhere and said: ‘Get the hell out of here. You are disturbing people in the vicinity.’ Honestly, we did not understand what was going on. We were not making any noise. The man next to us reacted to the police, ‘what is the harm of these people to you? They are just sitting here.’ Police attacked him first with batons. Then, they started pepper spraying us. After we protested, they assaulted us with batons.”

Police denies the events!

The trans women were later taken to the police station. No legal proceedings took place at the station. The police also declined the trans women’s request to file a report. According to the members of the LGBTI solidarity organizations, Mersin 7 Renk and Pembe Hayat (“Pink Life”), police denied the events, claiming: “There is no report of such an incident. How do you come up with this stuff?”

After no legal proceedings took place, the trans women left the station. Now they are demanding that the abuse be investigated through footage to be obtained from the security cameras.

Perpetrators of Hate Murders are unpunished!

A trans woman named Cansu was attacked in Mersin, on May 25th in an attack alluding to Miraç Kandili[1]. In December, a trans sex worker called Deniz was attacked with sticks and knives in Pozcu. Four transphobic hate murders have been committed in Mersin since 2006. However, these murders are not recorded as hate crimes and the perpetrators are not handed down the appropriate sentence.

[1] Lailat al Miraj – A religious day commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven –trans.

Armed Assault Against Trans Women Followed by Harassment

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Translara Silahlı Saldırı ve Polis Tacizi!” (“Armed Assault Against Trans Women Followed by Harassment”) KaosGL.org, 16 July 2014, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17106

3 trans women were attacked in Harbiye which was followed by police harassment. Wounded women were kept waiting in the hospital for a long time, delaying treatment.

An addition to the list of violent attacks against trans women was made yesterday. In Harbiye, where violence against LGBTI society is on the increase, three trans women were assaulted with a deadly weapon.

“They unloaded a whole magazine!”

In the assault that took place on the midnight of July 9th, a trans woman named İlknur was wounded in the head. The bullets scratched her friend’s waist. İlknur recalled the events to KaosGL.org:

“I was chatting with my trans friends by the road around 1 am. We were not working at that time. It was too crowded anyway. A black Doblo drove by quite fast and we heard gunshots unexpectedly. He unloaded a whole magazine of bullets at us. We ran towards the side and I felt a sharp pain above my eye. I asked my friend ‘I think, a stone hit my head. Can you take a look?’ My friend panicked and told me, ‘do not move, there is something metal on your head.’

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Okyanus Özyavuz’s Girlfriend: “I can’t even go the funeral of the person I love”

Source: İpek, “Sevdiğim insanın cezanesine bile gidemiyorum,” (“I can’t even go the funeral of the person I love,”) kaosGL.org, 3 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17014

My name is Ipek. I was Mukaddes’ girlfriend for the last 8 months. I was his first girlfriend. You can see that he was a trans person. At the time, when we first met, he told me ‘I want to be a boy,’ which didn’t surprise me, since there was already no difference, I found this quite normal.

On that day while looking for a name for him, we came over the name ‘Okyanus.’ I told him, that this name would suit him. After this day I always called him Okyanus. You can not even imagine what a good and kind person he was. His dreams were as interesting as the rainbow, he was as eager as the sky. Today I wanted to go to the funeral with a rainbow flag but at midnight my family got a threatening phone call that said ‘tonight blood will be spilled’. My mum came instantly to Izmir to pick me up. Just four hours ago, I was testifying in the police station.

Anyway, the day he hanged himself, I met Okyanus in the morning. There was a red bruise on the top left side of his head, on his left hand on the side of the thumb there were 3 cuts. ‘Are you going to explain these to me?’ I said. ‘I will explain,’ he said. ‘Yesterday, after they picked me up with the car from your place, my dad, my mum, my sibling gave me a hard time, they were really pushing me. Do you know what my dad said to me? ‘Hang yourself, so we can finally get over it,’ he said. They pressured me so much, that I don’t even know how I’m still here,’ he started to explain. After ‘If something happens to me, they won’t be able to look Mira in the eye, right?’ (Mira: His only dream was a daughter named Mira who had eyes as beautiful as his own and I’m sure he loved the dream about Mira even more than me.) Later he asked ‘If I will go, will you come with me?’ ‘I can’t come,’ I said. After this we spoke for maximum 10 minutes more. ‘I will go home,’ he said. ‘Okay,’ I said. He didn’t even properly hug me. ‘Without properly hugging me, you can’t go,’ I said. I hugged him, he hugged me the same way as before. I kissed him. He left… You finally have to realize that the pressure, that lies on LGBT-people, leads them to commit suicide. When he died, he had two pieces of paper in his pocket on which I wrote the contents of the slides I was going to prepare for him. This morning he said ‘They took the phone but I won’t give these to them even if they killed me.’ What a pain, I cannot even go to the funeral of the person I loved.

 

17-year-old Trans Teen Commits Suicide in Turkey

Source: Kaos GL, “17-year-old trans teen commits suicide in Turkey,” kaosGL.org, 3 July 2014, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=17012

A 17-year-old trans teen named Okyanus Efe Özyavuz committed suicide in the western city of Izmir yesterday. Having won kick box championships both in Izmir and in the region, Özyavuz shared a note on his Facebook account which reads “What’s the fucking use of being normal?”
Noticing that Özyavuz hung himself from his apartment balcony, the neighbors broke in and cut the rope.
An autopsy will take place in Izmir Forensic Medical Institution. The police started an investigation about the suicide.

Having suicidal thoughts? Please, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

To the best of our knowledge, the online and IRL resources below will provide you with a safe and non-judgmental space.

IRC / Chatlines

Hotlines

Sexual Assault Resources

If you know of any other suicide resources where you live or work, please do let us know so that we can add them to our website. To contact us, email us at info@lgbtinewsturkey.com, or see https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/about/.

https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

 

Police Raid on Firuzağa Hammam

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Firuzağa Hamamı’na Polis Baskını” (“Police Raid on Firuzağa Hammam”) kaosGL, 13 June 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16842

Ahmet, a member of the Istanbul Bears, comments, “the areas created by the LGBTIs for themselves are being systematically narrowed down.”

Firuzağa Hammam

Firuzağa Hammam

Police raided the Firuzağa Hammam (Turkish Bath) on the grounds that prostitution was being conducted there and took into custody 60 people who were in the establishment at the time.

After being processed, those under custody were released. After being sent to the courthouse, the administrator H.G. was released from custody awaiting trial.

Raids against hammams, which also act as gay hangouts, are not new. Istanbul Bears had hosted an event as part of the Istanbul Bear Pride Week. We talked to Ahmet, an Istanbul Bear, about the raid.

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Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “Trans Öldürmek İndirime Gerekçe,” (“Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences,”) milliyet, 3 June 2014, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/trans-oldurmek-indirime-gerekce–gundem-1892227

Soybozkurt, a felon who murdered a trans woman in Avcılar and for whom the prosecutor asked for a sentence of life in prison was given a reduced prison term of fifteen years.

Regarding the case of B.Ü., the trans woman beaten to death in 2013 in Avcılar (Istanbul), the court issued a reduced penalty on account of unjust provocation and good behavior. As the reason for the reduced sentence, the court cited the possibility that the felon’s statement might be true. The felon had claimed in his statement that “he beat the victim in anger because she was a transvestite and she propositioned him.”

Seda (B.Ü.), the trans woman, lived in her friends’ apartment at Avcılar Meis Housing Complex, which was the site of attacks against trans residents and where the apartments of trans residents were sealed for allegedly being used for prostitution. B.Ü. died after she was found beaten on the street on 01 March 2013. Ramazan Soybozkurt, who was tried for murder, claimed that he did not intend to murder the victim, but he beat her upon getting upset by her proposition.

The verdict was issued on February 26, 2014 after the trial at the Bakırköy Fourth Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes. The verdict cited as the reason for the reduced sentence the victim “being a transvestite.” The convicted felon Soybozkurt was given a reduced sentence due to provocation taking into account that “his statement might be true.” His sentence was reduced from life in prison to eighteen years; his prison term was further reduced to fifteen years for “good behavior.”

“They think it is entirely reasonable”

Fırat Söyle, the lawyer, reacted to the verdict by calling attention to other similar court verdicts for trans murders. He stated: “This is a verdict far from justice. The felon’s statement is not an unheard of defense. Courts find such statements as “they propositioned,” or “they propositioned for anal sex;” “I thought they were a woman” all as entirely reasonable defenses that warrant reduced sentences. If the murderers do not confess to their crimes, it is even possible that they may be acquitted.”

Carolina’s letter dated 26.05.2014 and the refusal of bathroom visits as a form of abuse

Source: LGBT Hapiste, “Carolina’nın 26.05.2014 tarihli mektubu ve bir kötü muamele olarak tuvalete çıkarmama” (“Carolina’s letter dated 26.05.2014 and the refusal of bathroom visits as a form of abuse”), LGBT Hapiste, 29.05.2014, http://lgbthapiste.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/carolinanin-26-05-2014-tarihli-mektubu-ve-bir-kotu-muamele-olarak-tuvalete-cikarmama/

Carolina wrote a new letter to our organization on 26.05.2014. In her three page letter, she talks about how she was denied trips to the bathroom even though she was taken to the hospital in the morning and was kept on the transport bus for hours. After knocking on the door of the transport bus for 45 minutes, the soldiers refused to let her visit the bathroom, saying “Are we going to take you to the men’s or women’s bathroom?” This clearly is a form of maltreatment and even torture. Carolina also attached a two-page report, issued by Istanbul Faculty of Medicine – Department of Psychiatry on 09.01.2012, which provides a response to the soldier’s question. In the report, it is decided that Carolina “be allowed to live in line with her female identity, roles and behaviors.”

We are sharing this letter, which represents a fitting example of maltreatment Carolina is being subjected to in her everyday life.

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“What Would Be Different If A Gay was Slapped There?”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Tokat Yiyen İbne Olsaydı Ne Değişecekti?” (“What Would Be Different If A Gay Man Was Slapped?”) Bianet. org, 27 May 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/155961-tokat-yiyen-ibne-olsaydi-ne-degisecekti?bia_source=newsletter

The mashup photo of Taner Kurucan, a Soma resident who was allegedly slapped by PM Erdoğan during his visit, and Yasin Keskin, an LGBTI activist holding a banner “Even if we are gay,” went viral online. Bianet interviewed Yasin Keskin as the mainstream media articles and comments covertly legitimized the violence against him as he was gay.

Yasin Keskin, the real owner of the photo taken at Gay Pride, filed a criminal complaint to the Antalya Prosecutor’s Office in order to determine the distributors of the photo and to prevent further publication of the images. The criminal complaint has been submitted to the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office.

“The comments under the released photo on social media include threats and hateful phrases.  I’m 29 years old and have spent 29 years under the oppression and violence of society against homosexual people. I have been exposed to violence many times during my struggle and now I am scared of going to Istanbul, even of going out,” LGBTI activist Keskin told Bianet.

“When I went to the courthouse, people said that they saw the photo. People that I don’t know have sent messages on social media. If anyone recognizes me while walking on the street, I could be exposed to a lynching attempt. We are living in a country in which homophobic and transgender murders occur frequently,” he added.

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A transphobic assault in Mersin: “What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “‘Mersin’de Transfobik Saldırı: “Kandilde Sokakta Ne İşin Var?’” (“A transphobic assault in Mersin: ‘What are You Doing Out on a Holy Evening?’”) Kaos GL, 26 May 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16683

A trans woman, Cansu, was assaulted with a bat in Mersin. The attackers’ excuse was the holy day [commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven]: “What are you doing out on a holy evening?” And transphobia continued in the hospital too…

The most recent addition to hate crimes against trans people took place last night (25 May). A trans sex worker by the name of Cansu was attacked in Mersin, by a group of people, armed with a bat. The group’s excuse was the holy day commemorating Prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven. They attacked Cansu saying, “We will not allow you all to survive here.”

“What are you doing out on a holy evening?”

Cansu recounts her experiences as follows: “Three or four people got out of a car with bats in their hands. The license plate read 27. They attacked me saying, ‘Are you out on a holy evening too? What are you doing out on a holy evening? We will not allow you all to survive here. Get out. We will clean up our streets.’”

Police attitude following the attack was as usual. Instead of investigating the issue, they chose to ignore it. Yağmur Arıcan, president of the Mersin Seven Colors LGBT Association describes the police’s attitude for kaosGL.org:

“The police is trying to cover up the incident”

“The police is trying to cover up the incident. The first police squad that arrived after the assault did not even attend to the issue. They received the announcement, “a woman has been assaulted.” They came to check out what happened. When they saw that the assaulted person was a trans woman, they did not even care. Cansu was insistently reporting the license plate number and describing the direction to which they escaped but the police did not listen. They said, “You must be mistaken in what you saw.”

Transphobia continued at the hospital

The police did not even call an ambulance. Cansu’s friends took her to the hospital and transphobia continued there as well. The health personnel did not want to attend to Cansu upon realizing that she was a trans individual. When their attitude was met with negative reactions, they began to treat Cansu.

Cansu, who was suffering from multiple broken bones in her skull, was also subjected to transphobia on the part of other patients. Cansu recounts her experience in the hospital as follows: “They looked at me and they laughed. They kept pointing their fingers at me.”

Cansu was supposed to be kept under supervision overnight. However, due to the indifferent attitudes of the health personnel and transphobia in the hospital environment, she left. She was half-conscious when she arrived home. Cansu rested at home, suffering from nausea and the risk of internal bleeding…

Yağmur Arıcan explains that as the Mersin Seven Colors LGBT Association, they will follow up on this issue and go to the court. They will request MOBESE [city surveillance cameras] records from the police but it is doubtful whether the records will be shared or not.

“We will follow up on these assaults!”

This is not the first hate crime that took place in Mersin. Arıcan explains the situation in Mersin:

“Transphobia does not give us a break. Transphobia was resurrected in Mersin. They are trying to wipe us off of the streets. It just does not end. There have been assaults in Pozcu before. Trans people are constantly under attack. These are only incidents that are known to us. Many trans women are afraid of the police and so they do not report the incidents. Some believe that nothing will change if they sue. We will follow up on this issue and make sure that it is recorded as a hate crime. It must be accepted that this was a hate crime.”

Four hate murders in Mersin!

One of the assaults that Arıcan referred to had taken place in December. Sex worker Deniz had been attacked in Pozcu with bats and knives. Four trans murders have been committed in Mersin since 2006. None of them were recorded as hate murders and their perpetrators were not convicted as they should have been.

“Transvestite knifed while soliciting sex”

Source: Bülent Tatoğulları, “Travestiyi Yolda Müşteri Beklerken Bıçakladılar,” (“Transvestite knifed while Soliciting Sex,”) DHA, 21 May 2014, http://www.dha.com.tr/travestiyi-yolda-musteri-beklerken-bicakladilar_676780.html

A transvestite nicknamed “Serap” (real name initials KY), who engaged in sex acts for money, was wounded in her right leg by an unidentified person in Antalya yesterday. KY, who was stabbed twice in her right leg, screamed “don’t shoot this; you unbalanced lot” at the journalists trying to photograph her.

The incident took place yesterday (20.05.2014) at 22:30 at 122 Sokak, Deniz Mahallesi, Muratpaşa. The transvestite KY, nicknamed “Serap” was stabbed in her right leg by an unidentified person. Onlookers reported the situation to the police and emergency medical services. The medical crew performed basic first aid in the ambulance. KY, who refused to be rushed to a hospital, was later taken by police to the Bahçelievler Police Center.

Quite angry at having her picture taken by journalists, KY screamed “don’t shoot this, you unbalanced lot.” The police have started their efforts on apprehending the stabbing suspect.

Translator’s Note:

This news story has been worded in a distinctly transphobic tone that is common in Turkish newspapers. The victim is repeatedly referred to by the initials of her male name and her chosen trans name “Serap” is purposefully presented as her “nickname.” The victim is also portrayed as a prostitute without any evidence and as being in the act of solicitation during the incident without a supporting witness account.

 

Are you the one booing? First he was slapped by the PM, then they said he was GAY

Source: Haluk Temel, “Are you the one booing? First he was slapped, then they said he was GAY”, (“Sen misin yuh çeken: Hem tokadı yedi hem de GAY oldu”), Radikal Blog, 18 May 2014, http://blog.radikal.com.tr/Sayfa/sen-misin-yuh-ceken-hem-tokadi-yedi-hem-de-gay-oldu-60183

Two days ago in my blog I wrote that the real catastrophe would involve what we would go through after the blast. I still think so.

Yes, it is true that a massive catastrophe took place under that mine [Soma].

But what about the things that happened above the mine? Were those normal? Kicks, slaps, declarations such as “do not push your politics through the dead”, which were only followed by more politics.

Let us accept the fact that what we have witnessed in the past four days have been as saddening as what happened inside the mine, in terms of social significance. How sad is it that we are split even during a moment of disaster!

All of us are, to some extent, able to vocalize our thoughts and feelings in relation to this accident and the more than 300 hundred people who died. But what about the ugliness that ensued? Are we fully capable of expressing our thoughts on those? No. Even as you try to collect the sentences you are about to form, you experience strain in the creases of your brain. You are unable to form sentences. Because it is harder to talk about a humanity that is dead – or on the verge of dying – than it is to talk about dead bodies!

You may find it easier to comprehend what I am saying when I explain below the last deeds of those who accused us of “involving politics in the matter” when we criticized the prime minister’s slap and his adviser’s kicks.

That group’s most recent accomplishment was to declare that the citizen slapped by the prime minister is “GAY.” They came up with fake photos and spread this news online. One of the people involved in this disgusting scheme is not just a layperson. He is the CEO of ANAR, the main social research company that serves the AK Party, İbrahim Uslu. The infamous puppets of AK Party set out to denigrate the young man who was slapped by the prime minister. For this, they found an image on Google, made a sloppy modification to it and made him look like he was “gay.” The puppets engaged in this deceit in order to motivate supporters of the AK Party. The CEO of ANAR, İbrahim Uslu, offered his support by sharing the photo online. When Uslu saw the fake photo, he added a flashy caption that read, “See who the person is who claims that the prime minister slapped him? Pay attention to the logo on the microphone. They are now in a position to need these people’s help” and he shared the photo on Twitter. He thought he was pleasing the crowds as he did this. Perhaps he wanted to appear to be the man who provided a sneak peak backstage. Who knows?

38zoX0

Tweet by ANAR Research CEO Ibrahim Uslu: “Look who the man who claimed that the Prime Minister slapped him? Look at the logo on the microphone! [referring to TV channel Kanal D owned by Aydın Doğan] They are now in need of these people’s help.”  

Headline reads: “The man who claims that the Prime Minister punched him: Both Taksim and Soma?”

The banner on the left reads: “Even if we are gay,” a widespread slogan for Turkey’s LGBTI community. 

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Trans Inmate Funda’s Letter on Prisons in Turkey

Source: LGBT Hapiste,Trans Mahpus Funda’nin Türkiye Hapishanelerini Anlattığı Mektubu (Trans Inmate Funda’s Letter on Prisons in Turkey), LGBT Hapiste, May 6, 2014, http://lgbthapiste.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/trans-mahpus-fundanin-turkiye-hapishanelerini-anlattigi-mektubu/

Funda, a trans prisoner incarcerated for the past ten years, describes her experiences in various prisons. Corresponding with the Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation, Funda testifies about the early years of her sentence and says that she will continue her story in her letters to come.

Some of the abusive practices described in Funda’s letter are:

  • Forced stripping and genitalia searches when entering the prison.
  • Forced haircuts.
  • Not being allowed to wear women’s clothing.

  • Being forced to wear men’s clothing.

  • Being kept in a solitary cell, without a shower or warm water.

Reading about these practices from Funda’s point of view will help with understanding how trans inmates are made to suffer.

Note: Funda ends her letter by saying that their situation is quite difficult and they need any help they can get. Those who want to send letters and/or help to trans prisoners can call 0542 336 75 67 for more information.

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Beyoğlu Chief of Police: Wait and See What Else I Will Shut Down

Source: “Beyoğlu Emniyet Müdürü: Dur daha nereleri kapatacağım” (“Beyoğlu Chief of Police: Wait and See What Else I Will Shut Down”) Muhalif Gazete, 6 May 2014,  http://www.muhalifgazete.com/haber/99014/beyoglu-emniyet-muduru-daha-dur-nereleri-kapatacagim.html

Daracık Street in the Beyoğlu District of Istanbul, where a trans individual was murdered two weeks ago, is once again in the spotlight; this time due to claims of forcible “shut-downs.”

Istanbul Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transvestite Transsexual Solidarity Association (Istanbul LGBTT) has claimed that building doors in the street where trans individuals were staying have been welded shut. Beyoğlu District Chief of Police, Ünal Altıner, has denied the claim; whereas Director of Municipal Police, Ahmet Öztürk, disclosed that the Beyoğlu Police already had a request for unoccupied buildings to be closed down and that they were acting on that request.

Murder on Daracık Street

On the night of April 20th, gunshots were heard on Daracık Street. Çağla Joker and her friend, Nalan, were shot by the 17-year-old H.T.; Çağla was killed and Nalan was badly wounded. The murder suspect, H.T., was soon caught and arrested. The building, in which the murder was committed, was sealed shut.

Joint Operation Two Weeks Later

Approximately two weeks later, the Beyoğlu Police and Municipal Police Departments started to act on abandoned and rundown buildings located on Daracık Street. According to Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet’s reporter, Kazım Ataer, property owners’ demands and the murder were the catalyst for the shutdowns.

Beyoğlu Chief of Police: “The Property Owner Got the Welding Done”

Beyoğlu Chief of Police, Altıner, made the following statement on the subject: “I am only tidying up the area.” Altıner, who says that they have only cleared and shut down three buildings so far, went on: “If we had not gone ahead and clamped down on the subject, those buildings would crumble. We cleared all of them. The property owners called their lawyers. They declared that they [the people staying there] did not have any lease or tenancy agreements. We also shut down and sealed a coffee-house in the same place. I am only tidying up the area. I am not shutting down a workplace or residence of a person illegally. And it was the property owner who got the welding done on the doors.”

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