Rights Violations in 2015

Rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2015 in Turkey

Rights Organizations in Turkey: End the Unjust Suffering of LGBTI Prisoners

Twenty-eight LGBTI and human rights organizations* released a statement regarding the isolation of trans women who are not Turkish citizens at Maltepe Prison and demanded that the prisoners’ suffering be ended by bringing them together again.

Source: “Hak Örgütleri: LGBTİ Mahpusların Mağduriyetini Giderin” (“Rights Organizations: End the Unjust Suffering of LGBTI Prisoners”), Bianet, 14 July 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/166036-hak-orgutleri-lgbti-mahpuslarin-magduriyetini-giderin

Twenty-eight LGBTI and human rights organizations released a statement related to the transfer of non-Turkish-citizen trans women at Maltepe Prison to another prison on the same campus.

Addressing the Ministry of Justice’s General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses, the rights organizations requested that these prisoners be reunited and that an end be put to their unjust suffering.

The organizations’ statement is as follows:

In June, twenty-one LGBTI prisoners in the Maltepe Type-L Penal Institution Number 2 were transferred to the Maltepe Type-L Penal Institution Number 1. Later LGBTI prisoners from Turkey and non-citizen trans woman prisoners were separated from one another and five prisoners were brought to the Maltepe Type-L Penal Institution Number 3.

In light of this situation, the LGBTI prisoners from Turkey and the foreign trans woman prisoners wrote letters criticizing the transfers and sent them to civil society organizations.

The prisoners indicated that there was no separation among themselves, as from Turkey or as foreigners, and that the prisoners who did not receive money from outside could rely on the help of the other prisoners to meet their needs, but said that following the transfers this solidarity had disappeared and that they had been made to suffer.

Most notably, one Azerbaijani and four Brazilian trans women prisoners who were transferred to Penal Institution Number 3 express that they can no longer meet any of their needs. They also wrote that until some of the Turkish and foreign trans woman prisoners are brought together again they will go on hunger strike:

‘We had been living with them for about four years. After all, all of us are homosexual [sic]. Currently we are on hunger strike. We are suffering a lot here. The Turkish homosexuals [sic] were giving us financial and moral support. I am doing very badly now. I am on hunger strike, and my strike will continue until I return to my Turkish friends. If it goes on like this I am going to die here; I want you to help me. There are four of us. I want you to help us reunite with the Turkish homosexuals [sic].’

‘We LGBTI individuals were brought from L-Type Number 2 to here, Number 1. As a matter of fact, before our Brazilian friends who we lived with could stay with us for even ten days, they came to take them saying that because they were foreigners they would be transferred to Number 3. And now a letter from Rafael Q. Alves De Souza has come to me. She expressed that her situation was dire, that because of her location she had been assimilated and that she needed my help, and that she could not eat and was in very poor mental state. She stated that the Consulate had not come to see her [or her compatriots] and that they could not reach them. Additionally, we had been sharing a common fate as a dormitory, staying in the same one together for two and a half years. We used to help her communicate with her family. The economic and social aspects [of our life here] were based on our unity and we are very upset by this now. We are prepared to do whatever we need to do. This situation has worn us out too and our mental wellbeing has broken down.’

‘We were twenty-one prisoners, now we are sixteen. We were already living completely isolated from the others for safety reasons. Between the twenty-one of us fighting and making peace we had created a world. Now our world is even smaller. Please explain this to the Ministry; we are small in number and alone, do not let them separate us more and leave us on our own. Have them return [our friends] to us again.’

When the characteristics of prisons are considered it is understood that the foreign trans prisoners were brought to Maltepe Type-L Department of Corrections Number 3 so they could be placed with other foreign prisoners. The General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses and the prison management may have put a transfer like this one on the agenda to allow prisoners to be visited by their consulates. However this transfer was undertaken despite not having taken the prisoners’ opinions into consideration, and the possible hardships were not foreseen.

So that similar undue suffering is not experienced again, when making decisions about prisoners, the opinions of the prisoners and relevant civil society organizations should be taken into account and a mechanism for them to present their views in these decision-making processes should be created.

Signatories: Afyon LGBTI Foundation, Civil Society in the Penal System (CİSST), Edirne LGBTI Work Group, Association for Monitoring Equal Rights (ESHİD), Initiative for Health in Prison, Hebun LGBT, Hevi LGBTI, Human Rights Association Headquarters, Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, Kaos GL, Kars Platform Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Keskesor LGBT, Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association, Lambdaistanbul, Families of LGBTs in Istanbul (LİSTAG), Limbo Concept, Mahsus Mahal Association, Malatya Rainbow LGBTI Initiative, Liberal Lawyers Association, Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association, Positive Living Association, Human Rights in Mental Health Association (RUSİHAK), Black Pink Triangle İzmir Association, Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD), Trabzon Purple Figh LGBT, Trans Solidarity Center (T-Der), Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), Queer Documentaries.

*The number of signatories is now 29 with Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association.

Kaos GL and Pink Life’s Criminal Complaint Against Posters and Online Statements Calling for Massacring LGBTs

Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association and Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association is filing a criminal complaint with the Information Technology Bureau of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding the group Young Islamic Defense’s statement issued on their website and the posters posted throughout Ankara streets which quote a hadith by the prophet Muhammad calling for the massacre of LGBT individuals. Attorneys Hayriye Kaya, Yasemin Öz, and Oya Aydın are accusing Global Analysis (Küresel Analiz), the content provider for the website, for violating constitutional rights and relevant legislation in the Turkish Penal Code regarding inciting hatred and provocation to crime. Below are key points underlined in the complaint:

EVENTS:

  • The LGBTIs have been characterized as “THE PEOPLE LIVING THE SUMMIT OF IMMORALITY” and were made the target of homophobic and transphobic hate and violence in the article entitled “Remains of the Tribe of Lot” published in the website www.gencislamimudafaa.com on 6 July 2015.

In the relevant article it was stated that:

The march of the organization entitled ‘LGBT’, that we are ashamed even to write the long form thereof, has once again proven us that the remains of the Tribe of Lot are still present in this day and age. These people living the summit of immorality also made sure to ridicule the names of the holy Three Months, namely ‘Rajab, Sha’bān and Ramadan’. We could not have remained indifferent, in the God’s righteous path, to this deprived march in the void cause. We showed effort both to raise awareness of our society and to do a small portion of our part. By putting up our posters on this matter to some areas, we shared the hadith ‘If you see the one carrying out the Tribe of Lot’s dirty work, kill the doer and the done!’ mentioned in Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood, with our society in order to show that the Muslims must not stay silent about this and that Islam strictly forbids this matter. Our wish is that we learn the conduct Islam requests from us, in the light of the Quran and Sunnah, instead of learning it from the preachers who cannot scream the truth on televisions.”

Below the statement, there were photographs of the posters (Annex-1) stating “If you see the one carrying out the Tribe of Lot’s dirty work, kill the the doer and the done” that were put up in various areas.

STATEMENTS:

There is an explicit call for the murder of LGBT individuals justified by religious references in the statement on the website  and the posters (as shown in the photographs below the statement).

  • Article 214 of the Turkish Penal Code entitled “Provoking Commission of Offense” states:

(1) The person who provokes a crime shall be punished by imprisonment for six months to five years.

(2) The person who provokes a section of society to arm itself and kill another section of society shall be punished by imprisonment for 15 to 24 years.

(3) In the event of said crimes being committed, the person who provokes the crime shall be punished as the person who enables the crime.

As explained above and as can be seen in the internet print outs attached to our petition, through this statement and posters, a call is issued to Muslims not to be spectators to “immorality” but to kill LGBT people.

  • The right to life is a basic human right. The right to life and the material and spiritual integrity of a person is guaranteed in international covenants and the Constitution. Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights also emphasizes the right to life as one of the most fundamental provisions.

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Raped and Assaulted, LGBTI Activist Kemal Ördek says: “I’m not well…”

One of the founders of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association (Kırmızı Şemsiye), Kemal Ördek, was raped in their home on Sunday. Kemal Ördek shared the following text with us in Turkish and explained the violence, the discrimination, and the fear. 

Source: Kemal Ördek, Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association’s Facebook Page, 2015.

It’s so difficult to write this when my body, my soul aches.

All I want to do is scream. I want people to hear me and then I want to hide in a corner, break away from this world.

How many times does a person cry after all that happened? How many times does a person shake and shiver when they think of what happened?

For years I have been engaged in rights advocacy to bring visibility to the rights violations LGBTIs and sex workers face. So it’s not that I don’t know what this is; I know what discrimination and violence mean.

Up to today, I’ve been beaten twice and hospitalized. I’ve been raped twice. I know very well what rape means, the dominating way manhood descends on me, and the pain of being in the midst of helplessness, alone.

Two men who came to my house… Three men who stole my phone… One more man waiting outside the house. One man who raped me. Three men who wanted to take my cash along with my phone… Three men who threaten me with death… One man who strangled me… One man moaning “I will fuck you, take your money, and come and fuck you again!”… Three men who are at my door and who say “think about what will happen” if I refuse to give them money… Three men who are the same as threats, rape, death.

In the middle of this hypocritical manhood, a sex worker, an LGBTI… A rights advocate…

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 18.40.02What I will tell you is not a simple robbery case. It’s not a mere rape case either. This is the story of a series of events that could possibly end in murder. It is a story of the apathy and the denial and ignorance that come after—the story of the surrounding paralysis of a lonely sex worker and an LGBTI.

“We’ll fuck you, take your money, and fuck you again…”

Two people, they stole my phone. One raped me. At that moment, they spoke to another person, who I found out was their relative, on the phone. They gave him the address of my house. I tried to resist and not open the door when the third came to my house. I somehow managed to convince the two people who insulted me and who were in my home. This time, they demanded money along with my phone. They threatened to kill me. When they realized I did not have cash on me, they took me out to withdraw money from the ATM. The third person joined them. They threatened me on the way to the ATM and said they wanted all of my money. One took me by the arm and said he’d “fuck” me. They told me the three of them will come back to my house after taking out money and “fuck” me. They said if I resist “my ending will be bad”.

I saw a police patrol car at the corner of the road ahead. The people taking me to the ATM through threats became anxious when they saw the police. They said that we’d take a different road and find another ATM. I spoke softly and told them I would not make a complaint and give them the money. I don’t know how but the person in charge believed me. To get to the ATM, we’d have to go near the corner where the patrol car was parked. As we were passing the police, I screamed and ran to the police. I told them they detained me, that they wanted to rob me, that they stole my phone.

“Officer, we’re manly men. You understand us, don’t you? Don’t listen to what this faggot has to say…”

As I tried to explain myself to the police, the police shut me up. They said, “Be quiet. Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to!” In the meantime, the policemen calmly listened to the perpetrators as they said: “Officer, we’re manly men. You understand us, don’t you? Don’t listen to what this faggot has to say…”,  “Officer, he invited us in, you know how they are…”

One of the two police officers searched them loosely and somehow they did not find the cellphone belonging to me on the assailants. I told the police to search them properly and that they had my phone. The police who was searching them said he searched them and could not find the phone. He asked me several times if I was sure that they stole my phone. They found a pocket knife on one of them and when they asked about it, the assailant said “it’s nothing important, officer” and the issue ended there. One of the perpetrators repeated “Officer, he’s lying, don’t believe him”. The police officers started to put us in the car. Two police officers in the front, three assailants in the back, and me in the “cage” at the very back of the patrol car, sealed off with iron. They thought I deserved to be in the place reserved for the guilty. When I said “I feel nauseous, officer, I think I will puke, why I am in here, I’m not well”, the police complained “what, are we going to deal with you, just get in, look at the trouble we found ourselves in”.

“Don’t even dare to make a criminal complaint, we’ll kill you…”

There was a thin iron bar between the perpetrators and me, stuck in the back seat, and an intimate chat between the police and the perpetrators… “Where are you from, officer?” “We’ll be fine, right, brother policeman? I mean, we have families and everything,” “Don’t make us suffer because of this faggot, you and us, we understand each other, right brother?”

As this conversation went on, one of the perpetrators turned to me and threatened me, “I’ll kill you by fucking you over and over, don’t even dare make a criminal complaint, I’ll chop off your head, we’ll kill you.” When I shouted, “They are threatening me, don’t you see, officer?”, one of the police said “Cut it out, don’t annoy us,” and the other told the perpetrators, “Don’t be scared, if he makes a claim, you’ll also make a complaint for slander.”

“I’m the head of an association, what you are doing is a crime, you have to stop them from hurting me”

When we arrived at the Esat Police Station, I told one of the officers that they witnessed that the perpetrators threatened me many times in the car and that they have to do something if they do it again. I said that this was not the first time I experienced something like this, and that I, as a head of an NGO, knew the steps that should be taken against this type of crime—also that their tolerant attitude towards the perpetrators constituted a crime. The two officers, who treated me really badly only 10 minutes before, started to say that they friends of LGBTIs/sex workers: “I know a lot of transvestites, I know you. I don’t discriminate in terms of kind, don’t you worry.” I was astonished.

We’ll bounce you on our lap, who the hell are you, faggot!”

The perpetrators kept threatening me even though we had arrived at the police station. They made threats and insulted me many times in front of the police. “Drop this case. You know what will happen if you don’t,” “We know where you live now. They’ll release us anyway and you’ll have to deal with the consequences.”

I stated to the police repeatedly that they must prevent this, that I do not feel safe, do not understand how they could make me sit with the assailants and they will be responsible if something happens to me. Nothing changed except they kept a one meter distance between us. I waited for several hours for processing while being threatened.

“Will you drop the charges if we find your phone?”

While they were continuing to threaten me, one of the perpetrators kept on approaching me, saying they’d find my phone, and asking me to drop the criminal complaint. Almost all of these dialogues between me and that person happened in front of the police. The perpetrator confessed that he had the cellphone and would eventually give it back to me if I dropped the complaint and met him outside the police station. I told the policemen who were listening to record the talks that they witnessed since it was finally understood that they actually had my cellphone. Nonetheless, all went up in thin air.

While this conversation kept going on, one of the police officers went out with one of the assailants, talked for five minutes. Did some kind of bargaining. Then came inside and called me outside. Took me near the police vehicle and started to talk: “Will you drop the charges if we find your phone?” I told them that I want to first see the phone. The police officer took the phone out of his pocket; my SIM card was taken out. I took both of them back at that moment. Turns out the assailants had thrown the phone inside the police vehicle when they were taken in. The police told me that. I said I will file criminal charges.

“Enough with this Tribe of Lot”

I called my lawyer and sat on a bench in the garden of the station while waiting. In the meantime, a police vehicle came and the police who arrived in it passed by me. After learning about the case, one of them passed by me saying, “Enough with this Tribe of Lot”. I started to shake because of anger. I came to the police station to find justice, found myself in the middle of prejudice, hate and partisanship. Additionally, the assailants came out to the garden and started to verbally attack and threaten me.

“These people rose against the government during Gezi…”

When my attorney arrived, we sat together outside of the station to talk. It was time for the pre-dawn (sahur) Ramadan meal and there were officers sitting around in the garden and eating… Oh, they began… They were talking about me, laughing out loud, saying things like “Look what a big deal he made out of a small incident of robbery”… One of the policemen said loudly to the others, “These people rose against the government during Gezi”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I started to shake and cry out of anger.

“You were not raped…”

While the assailants were taken to the hospital for a health check, the policemen who were going to take my statement came up to us and asked what happened. My lawyer stepped in and said I am a victim of violence so I should not be traumatized repeatedly, therefore an explanation cannot be given to him. The police officer got angry and said, “I did not ask you, Ms. Lawyer”. A loud argument began. Like this was not enough, the same police told me, “You were not raped, how are you coming up with all this…” The police, the ones who would take my statement, were telling me whether I was raped or not.

“What kind of lawyer are you, do not make our job difficult!”

After going to the hospital to get the health report on the beating and rape, we went back to the police station. I was raped and 6 hours had passed. My statement still was not taken. After surviving such a crisis, we waited for hours at the police station to deliver the statement. There wasn’t even any other work at the station… Since we first arrived at the police station, there was no one else there except me, my lawyer and the assailants. Which strong willed or patient person could wait this much when there are a victim of rape, threats, robbery and psychological violence? When is it reasonable to make a person wait this long? What part of this is correct or understandable? It seemed like they were saying do not make a criminal complaint and just leave.

An officer came out from the statement room and came to ask for our signature for the police report. When I read it, I saw that the police wrote the report from a one-sided view. Most of it were the assailants’ statements. I told them that I would abstain from signing it. The officers got angry and started to yell at me. When my lawyer stepped in and stated that I do not have to sign it, all of a sudden 5-6 officers surrounded us and started to snap at us. At that moment, one officer yelled at my lawyer, “What kind of lawyer are you, do not make our job difficult!” This psychological torture went on for five minutes. I did not sign the report, demanded that the police write down a statement with their own handwriting saying that I abstain from signing the report. They did that.

“This statement is too long, keep it short…”

We were taken to the statement room 7 hours after I arrived the police station. I started to give my statement. Sure I was giving my statement but the officer who taking the statement and who had told me a few hours before “you were not raped…” kept on interfering. Towards the middle of the statement, he “warned” (!) me saying, “But this statement is too long, keep it short. I am being lenient and understanding here. Just describe it briefly”. My lawyer intervened and said I can give my statement however I want, that all the details are important. The officer got angry at my lawyer, raised his voice and said he has to deal with a lot of work and that things like this are not done this way. I was in the middle of seeking justice in a system that does not even allow me to give my statement as I want…

“You’re free to go…”

I signed my statement and applied for a decision of protection and restraining order. The day I wrote these lines, the day after the attack, I found out that the perpetrators were let go without even being sent to the court by the prosecutor. That means that the three people who tried to rob me, who raped me, and threatened me with death are free and walking around in Ankara. But I, the victim, have to hide. I can’t go to my house since the event. The perpetrators keep calling me on my cell number… I don’t pick up but I’m scared.

Thank you for all the genuine messages…

I’m not answering my phones. I’m not picking up calls from anyone other than my friend who I’m staying with, one or two close friends, and my lawyers. I’m not ready to talk. I’m not picking up calls from numbers I don’t know for security. It’d be good to text me if you want to cover this for news.

I’m crushed psychologically. I know so many people tried to reach out, they gave their kind messages through others. I thank you all. Feeling you by me strengthens me.

So how am I now?

How am I?… Not well. I feel lost in between. I have not rested either. I aim to rest but I can’t. I am scared of the people I see when I walk on the street, I keep checking what’s behind me, I’m at my friend’s house and I can’t go anywhere other than this neighborhood, I can’t go to my usual sports, I’m cleaning out my social media accounts…

In short, I’m scared, I have nightmares, I wake up, I have nightmares again. I feel stuck. Every conversation reminds me of what I lived. I want to be alone and get away from everything but at the same time, I want to get rid of the fears I have when I am alone.

My dear lawyers are following the investigation. Of course I can’t stay out of it. I need to get away from it all but I can’t. I have gotten used to running around for victims but when it’s me, I can’t. My psychology is not well, my physical strength is not there…

The perpetrators are free. What am I going to do? What’s the attitude of the prosecutor, will they take the steps we want? How will the trial process be? Why doesn’t it all go quicker? Why are people not sensitive to sexual assaults? Will I forever lead a nomadic life? Do I have to change cities? Why don’t the legal authorities make the effort to solve this situation of stuckness that I feel? How correct or healthy is it to try to prove rape? Isn’t that raping my brain?

I can’t go to the association’s office, I can’t do my work, I can’t follow the process, and when I do, I am traumatized again. I relive what happened a thousand times a day.

I’m not well…

A short but important final note… “Do I have to get killed for you to say two nice things”

“Why did they take so many people into their house”, “What was their goal?”, “There, you can’t get rich easily…”, “Did they willingly invite them in, who knows what actually happened that this happened…” I heard these from LGBTIs, sex workers, activists. If you can still ask these questions after such a terrible experience, if you still try to say that I “made a mistake” after all this, if you cannot say “get well”, then I don’t need you around me.

If we don’t make each other feel better, then we don’t need to continue our struggle together. Know that you, also, have tired me as much as the perpetrators of the violence and the police.

Kemal Ördek, trans – sex worker – rights advocate

LGBTI Activist Attacked in Their Home: “They’ll release us anyway: You’ll have to deal with the consequences” 

One of the founders of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association (Kırmızı Şemsiye), Kemal Ördek, was raped in their home. The police commented, “Enough with this Tribe of Lot.” The assailants who said, “Officer, we’re manly men. You understand us, don’t you?” were released. You can also read Kemal’s letter

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu. “LGBTİ Aktivistine Evinde Saldırı: Nasılsa Serbest Kalırız, Sen Düşün” (“LGBTI Activist Attacked in Their Home: “They’ll release us anyway: You’ll have to deal with the consequences”), Bianet, 8 July 2015, http://m.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165878-lgbti-aktivistine-evinde-saldiri-nasilsa-serbest-kaliriz-sen-dusun

Founder and chairperson of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association Kemal Ördek was robbed and raped in their home in Ankara. A police officer at the police station reacted by saying “Enough with this tribe of Lot.” [1]

It has been three days since the attack. At the police station the assailants threatened Ördek by saying, “We know where you live now. They’ll release us anyway and you’ll have to deal with the consequences.” The assailants are free and they continue to harass Ördek on their cell phone.

Kemal Ördek’s attorney told Bianet that the prosecutor who is responsible for the police station in question released the assailants without a trial. At the moment, the case is in the hands of the public prosecutor. Four attorneys continue efforts to collect evidence.

They took Ördek to an ATM to withdraw money

Kemal Ördek is an activist who has been working for LGBTI and sex workers’ rights for years. Two men appeared at their door on Sunday night. One of them raped Ördek and they confiscated Ördek’s cell phone. Then, they called a relative and gave them Ördek’s address.

The two men demanded money from Ördek. When they found out that they did not have any cash at home, they took Ördek to an ATM machine. Ördek spotted a police car near the ATM, ran to the police and described what had just happened.

(more…)

Group calls for massacre against LGBTIs in Turkey

The discourse of hatred directed at LGBT individuals is echoing on the street. A group, which calls itself the “Young Islamic Defense,” has put up posters in Ankara, calling for a massacre against LGBTIs.

Source: Kaos GL, “AKP’nin nefret siyaseti katliam çağrısına dönüştü” (“Turkey ruling party AKP’s politics of hatred has finally turned into a massacre call”), 7 July 2015, http://kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=19785

gencislamimudafaa

“If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both.”

The discourse of hatred against LGBTI deployed by President Tayyip Erdogan, the AKP government and the conservative media echoing on the street.

Participants of 13th LGBTI Pride Parade were attacked by the police. After, the AKP government declared Pride participants as “immoral” even though they proudly exhibited Pride in their election posters [as an example of freedom in Turkey]. “Conservative media” followed suit and fueled hatred.

The group, which calls itself “Young Islamic Defense” has been putting up posters throughout Ankara. The poster says, “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot [1], kill the doer and the done both.”

Arguing that Muslims should not be silent about this issue, the group has publicly defended their call to massacre on their website: “In order to show that Islam absolutely does not allow this situation, we have shared this hadith, mentioned also in [hadith scholars] Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood: “If  you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both!” Our wish is to learn the attitude Islam demands from us in light of the Qu’ran and the Sunnah, instead of the hodjas who cannot shout out what is rightful on television.”

The AKP’s politics is fueling hatred

In their 12 years of rule, AKP representatives from varying positions have made discriminatory statements and engaged in hate speech. However, the highest leaders of the AKP provoked hate in the extremely tense electoral atmosphere, revealing the AKP’s true self in matters of equality in human dignity with all of its nakedness. Through the government’s attack on Pride Parade, homophobic and transphobic hate groups have received the message in more clarity and have called for a massacre.

(more…)

Cyber-attack against Istanbul LGBTI’s Website

The website of Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association was hacked. Kıvılcım Arat from the Association said “LGBTIs used not to be perceived as a threat. Attacks increased as they became the subject of/in politics.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “İstanbul LGBTİ’nin Web Sitesine Siber Saldırı” (“Cyber Attack against Istanbul LGBTT’s Website”), bianet, 6 July 2015,  http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165826-istanbul-lgbti-nin-web-sitesine-siber-saldiri

The website of Istanbul LGBTI [LGBTT] Solidarity Association was hacked by a group called “Armania”.

510Hackers changed the first news heading of the website to “WE ARE SONS OF BITCHES YEAHH”. The website at http://istanbul-lgbtt.net is still accessible but news items display an error.

Istanbul LGBTI’s Kıvılcım Arat reported that “As it turns out, they had found a vulnerability in the website a while ago but waited for a controversy before hacking it. They took advantage of the order of the day where the police attacks the Pride Parade and LGBTIs continue to be targeted [for violence] and posted their messages to the website.”

Kaos GL’s website was targeted with a DDoS attack simultaneously with the police attack against the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade on June 28th.

Arat, who reported that online attacks against LGBTIs are increasing in addition to the already widespread physical and verbal assaults, expressed that the reason for the increase in attacks is the visibility of the LGBTI and LGBTI’s presence in the political arena:

LGBTIs used not to be perceived as a threat; we were seen as a group that keeps their head down at all times. But this perception dissipated after Gezi. A certain discomfort emerged from LGBTIs’ becoming political subjects in the last election process and their solidarity around the slogan ‘We will not let you become the President’.

It was indeed not Ramadan but the discomfort of the election process that lead to the attacks during the Pride Parade, which has been organized for 13 years. After all, a week ago and again during Ramadan, the 6th Trans Pride Parade was organized on the same street.

A message of ‘you better tread lightly, not get into politics, withdraw into your shell’ is being given with these target-ful statements, news articles, and assaults. Because Turkey’s LGBTI movement is one of the most political ones in Turkey. It seems that attacks will continue, unfortunately.

Cyber-attack against Kaos GL on Pride Day

Tar: “That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Onur Gününde KaosGL’ye Siber Saldırı” (“Cyberattack against Kaos GL on Pride Day”), bianet, 29 June 2015, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165656-onur-gununde-kaosgl-ye-siber-saldiri

Kaos GL was inaccessible for hours on 28 June due to a DDoS attack while police assaults continued on Istiklal Street.

Kaos GL’s editor Yıldız Tar spoke to bianet and, drawing attention to the simultaneous attacks on the streets by the police and cyber attacks online, expressed that the attack against LGBTIs’ news website is a planned assault on the freedom of speech and the right to be informed:

Yesterday, our Kaos GL website was targeted at the very moment police assaults began against the Pride Parade. The attack continued for a long time, preventing access to the website. At first we thought this to be a technical problem but out communications uncovered this to be an attack.

That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.

Our website was unable to recover until late last night. This prevented us from communicating rights violations. We experienced violence on the streets as well as intervention with our right to speech.

We do not know who the assailants were, but we witnessed tweets pointing Kaos GL as a target and claiming ‘this is how we silence you’ Naturally, we have documented each of these instances.

We believe that this was a concerted attack. They tried to silence us and failed. Just as the rainbow flag was flying over everywhere yesterday, Kaos GL too continues its broadcast.

What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) is an attack where a server receives considerable amounts of requests by many computers simultaneously to the point of inoperability. It does not [necessarily] mean that the server in question was breached.

Foreign LGBTI inmates are on hunger strike in Turkey

Brazilian and Azerbaijani trans women were separated from LGBTI inmates from Turkey in Maltepe Prison and transferred to a different section. The women say they have been deprived of their friends’ financial and psychological help and have started a hunger strike for being kept in isolation.

Source: Ayça Söylemez, “Trans Kadın Mahpuslara Tecrit İçinde Tecrit”, (“Isolation within Isolation for Trans Women Inmates”), July 6, 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165825-trans-kadin-mahpuslara-tecrit-icinde-tecrit

Non-Turkish citizen trans women at Maltepe Prison were taken to a different section in the same prison. Five of the 21 LGBTI inmates, four Brazilian, one Azerbaijani citizen, have started a hunger strike on the grounds that they were separated from their friends and “are living in isolation within isolation”.

On June 8, LGBTI inmates were taken from Maltepe C Type No 1 Prison to L Type No 3 Closed Prison, to ward B-9. The inmates have written that their Turkish friends had been helping them, and with this transfer they were left on their own, that they have no financial income and that their psychological state has deteriorated.

Among the trans women transferred to another section, Brazilian citizen Rafael Q. Alves de Sousa has told in her letter dated June 9, that they have been staying together with LGBTI inmates for the last four years and now were victimized.

Sousa, writing that the Turkish [trans inmates] have been helping them both financially and spiritually, told that the hunger strike will continue until they are taken back to their friends.

trbuyuk“I don’t even have money to buy water”

Azerbaijani trans woman inmate, who does not wish her name to be disclosed, has told Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation (CİSST) her experience and has written the following in her letter dated June 17:

“I’m in solitary here, I’m sentenced to 30 years 6 months. My sentence is too long, I can’t stay here on my own. I’m severely victimized, I don’t have a dime. When we were in the same ward, my friends would cover all my needs, now I’m psychologically traumatized. I’m in a very small space here.”

“They should take me back to Prison No.1. I wrote to the Ministry of Justice but there were no replies, I’m in an awful state. I’ve been on hunger strike since June 8. It’s very bad here, they are treating me very bad, they make fun of me, it is not suitable for me at all. I used to eat everything but now I don’t even have money for water. I drink from the tap.”

The inmate, who has tried to commit suicide when her demands were not fulfilled, wrote that her friends in her former ward understood her well but now she is alone.

“Our world got even smaller”

This is what the Turkish trans female inmate wrote to CİSST:

“We used to be 21 inmates, we are down to 16. We already lived in complete isolation on the grounds of security. We built a world of our own, 21 one of us, fighting and making truce. Now our world got even smaller. Please tell the Ministry, we are only a handful and alone, they shouldn’t separate us and make us lonelier. They should give our friends back to us.”

İHD: Isolation, psychological torture

The Human Rights Association (İHD) Prison Commission of Istanbul Branch has demanded that the isolation be ended in a July 4 press release about the trans women inmates:

“We consider this legally ungrounded situation as exile, isolation and psychological torture. The inmates have indicated in their letter that they were in dire straits economically and that they have solidarity when in the company of their friends.”

“The trans female inmate has written to us that the Azerbaijani Consulate has not taken care of the matter, that the lawyer appointed by the bar did not show up at court giving an excuse, that she gave her own defense against the prosecutor’s arguments, receiving a sentence of 30 years 6 months for murder in the first degree in spite of the incident being a case of self-defense. Their only wish is to go back being together with their Turkish friends.”

LGBTI inmates

According to the latest report of CİSST, the number of LGBTI inmates in Turkey remains unknown because the Ministry does not disclose this information, on the grounds of the “right to privacy”. Here is some information from the report on LGBTI inmates:

In Turkish prisons people are assigned to places based on the gender defined by their ID cards, which means that trans women who have not gone through a gender reassignment surgery are kept in a men’s prison, trans men in a women’s prison.

Gay inmates who are known to be or who have declared that they are gay or bisexual are assigned to the trans women’s ward in the men’s prison or remain in solitary cells. The women who are “understood” to be lesbians or bisexuals in women’s prisons may be taken to separate wards.

LGBTI inmates, especially trans women kept in men’s prisons are kept in separate wards or rooms on the grounds that they can be harmed by male inmates, they are not taken out to the workshops or courses, they cannot use the common spaces. The isolation is more severe in places where LGBTI inmates are fewer.

Homophobic attack in Istanbul: “Faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here”

Three young gay men were attacked by homophobic insult “faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here” in Istanbul. Police came late to scene of crime and prolonged process of testimony. The hospital delayed treatment on the excuse that ‘we don’t have tomography’.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Homophobic attack in Istanbul: “Faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here”,” KaosGL.org, 3 July 2015, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=19770

Just days after police attacks on Pride March and hate campaigns organized via social media, three young gay men were attacked at night in Istanbul on June 30.

Forum AVM security officers did not help the young people, who were attacked in Bayrampasa Forum, either.

Attackers ran away as police arrived late to the scene of the crime.

“We are not going to let you in Bayrampasa, you faggots!”

M.Ö, one of the attacked gay men, told the moments of the attack to KaosGL.org:

“We went to Bayrampasa Forum AVM, while passing a wall someone suddenly said ‘what are you looking at’. We were looking at our phones at that moment; I turned my back to look at my friends and escape from there but he suddenly jumped on us. That one screamed and two friends of his pounded us, they were also insulting us by saying that ‘we are not going to let you in Bayrampasa, you faggots!’, ‘we are going to kill and bury you in here’ and ‘faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here.’

“Police came late, attackers ran away”

Indicating that the security in the mall only watched the attacks, M.Ö said police came late to the scene of the crime:

“It almost took one hour for the police to come. We went to the Bayrampasa police station, they did not take care of us for such a long time. They made us wait for hours recklessly without even taking our statements. While they should have taken us to the hospital for a battery report, they told us to do it ourselves. After Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip’s talked to them on the phone, they took our statements but they did not want to file it as a hate attack. They tried to gloss over the event but at the end we were able to convey everything objectively.”

“It is directly related to the attacks on Pride March”

M.Ö indicated that the attacks are related to being shown as target and the hate campaigns that started before and after Pride March:

“It is directly related to the Pride March, insults against us are all because of it. Insults are parallel to the hate organized via social media. It is a place we went to before but we did not encounter any attacks like this before.”

Lawyer Kip: The recklessness of the police and the hospital is more disappointing

Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip criticized the police by saying that they did not fulfill their duty because of their “reckless behaviors” and homophobic discrimination.

“The recklessness of the police and the hospital is more disappointing actually. Police took the victims to the station but did not take their statements for hours. I was able to talk to the officers after persisting for a long time and arguing with them. I told them that they should take their statements and take the victims to the hospital, otherwise; as the police, they will be responsible for the assault.”

“After nearly one hour, one of the victims called me and told me that they were still waiting for their statements to be taken and so, I told them that they should wait for the statements and reminded the police that it’s the police’s duty to go the hospital together to get report on the beating.”

Lawyer Kip summarized the discrimination at the hospital:

“First the victims went to the Bayrampasa State Hospital as wounded victims, the hospital tried to gloss over the event especially after the Pride March. Then the victims are sent back with an excuse that they don’t have tomography equipment. On the other side, the police did not want to take them to another hospital even though it’s their responsibility. These are serious violations and homophobic discrimination.”

Deputy Prime Minister Arınç criticizes Istanbul Pride: “They get completely naked in broad daylight”

Source: DHA video, “Bülent Arınç: “Güpegündüz çırılçıplak hale gelip…”,” (“Bülent Arınç: “They get completely naked in broad daylight”,”) CNNTurk, 2 July 2015, http://www.cnnturk.com/video/turkiye/bulent-arinc-gupegunduz-cirilciplak-hale-gelip

bulenta00

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç answered journalists’ questions at the AK Party (AKP) Mardin Headquarters.

Arınç said,

Unfortunately, I am ashamed to say this in a place where our lady sisters are present but some people turn this into honor, meaning people in different sexual orientations. These things are not liked in our belief, our traditions, our customs and mores, and our society’s structure.

But it is extremely saddening that they get completely naked in broad daylight, challenging and having fun in the middle of Istanbul, and unfortunately, parliamentarians from the CHP and HDP supporting them.

I know that there are women and men parliamentarians, 5-10 parliamentarians from the CHP, who joined that march and who supported it. I submit this to our nation’s discretion. If our nation likes this and applauds it, it can continue to follow them. If our nation sees these as wrong, criticizes it, and beyond criticizing, says what comes to their mind, do the necessary thing at the ballot box.

LGBTI News Turkey Note: Please also see Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s statements on LGBT at the United Nations on 27 January 2015.

There is no discriminatory provision against LGBTs in our laws.

The principle that everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and other such grounds is organised by the Constitution’s Article 10. Due to the expression “and other such grounds” in the aforementioned article, types of discriminations are not limited but rather exemplified, and there is no question that other types of discrimination are left outside the scope. That there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that this group’s rights are not legally guaranteed.

On the other hand, pursuant to our Constitution’s Article 90, the international agreements we ratify are [considered] law. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence -Istanbul Convention-, which we ratified without reservations, includes provisions which state that there can be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In our country, like in all democratic states of law, perpetrators who commit murder and acts of violence against individuals of LGBT and all kinds of hate crimes are identified, the necessary investigations are started in order to bring them to justice, and the process is conducted by legal authorities scrupulously. The claims that the reasoning of unjust provocation constitute a routine in the reduction of penal responsibility do not match with the real situation that is revealed by tangible court decisions.

Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week Committee Press Statement

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FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLIC AND MEDIA RELEASE

The Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade has been held for thirteen years. Yet this year the Istanbul Governor’s Office blocked the parade, citing the fact that it coincided with Ramadan. The use of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, as an excuse to curtail the freedoms of assembly, demonstration, and speech is a clear violation of rule of law. In taking this illegal decision, the Governor’s Office has thus broken the law.

In applying the governor’s illegal order, law enforcement officials, too, became accomplices in a crime. They attacked tens of thousands of people with tear gas, riot-control vehicles, and plastic bullets, even though those people had come to assemble peacefully, just as they had last year. Law enforcement officials violated their legal obligations by carrying out the unconstitutional and illegal order handed down by the Istanbul governor’s office. Indeed, on the day of the attack, many police officers lacked helmets and registration numbers that would have helped identify them.

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Moreover, the decision to block the parade because of Ramadan artificially inflames tensions by presenting LGBTI status and Muslim faith as if they were supposedly two opposing identities. It purposefully ignores the fact that LGBTI individuals can come from all walks of life and aims to demonize them in the eyes of the wider public, preparing the ground for future attacks against LGBTI individuals. The government and the governor’s office will thus be held directly responsible for any attacks against LGBTI individuals that may be committed from this point on.

In a statement following the events, the Istanbul Governor’s Office stated that it had not received any notification about the parade and also that it had felt that certain groups were going to react violently to the parade.

First, if there was indeed credible information that an outside attack was to occur, it is the duty of the governor and of law enforcement to take measures to prevent such an attack, not to themselves attack the group exercising its right to assemble.

Second, Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstration Marches, as well as the relevant article of the constitution, are both entirely clear: Such assemblies are not subject to the prior permission of the governor’s office, nor is there even any obligation to notify the authorities. The 13th annual LGBTI Pride Parade planned for Sunday, 28 June in Taksim Square, was thus not in violation of any law. Moreover, after the parade itself was blocked, law enforcement continued to attack people gathered on the streets for hours. The streets and venues where the Pride Party was being held were attacked by police using gas canisters and plastic bullets long into the night. Such behavior on the part of the police goes beyond merely preventing an “unannounced” parade: It shows that this was an attack on our identities and our very existence.

Hundreds of people who came to participate in the parade were affected or harmed by the attacks, some with injuries serious enough to warrant hospital reports. We would like to take this opportunity to wish a speedy recovery to all of our friends and supporters who were victims of police violence on Sunday. For years, the state purposely ignored systematic violence being inflicted on LGBTI individuals and even reduced the punishments faced by perpetrators; now it is the state itself that has directly and physically attacked the existence of LGBTI individuals in Turkey.

Furthermore, we fail to understand how the same government that assured the United Nations on Friday (26 June) that it would protect LGBTI rights could on Sunday (28 June) go and attack the 13th annual Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade without providing a legal justification. At the UN meeting on Friday [for the Universal Periodic Review], Turkey approved Norway’s proposal that “Turkey should carry out its human-rights obligations by ensuring that LGBTI individuals and non-governmental organizations are included in the process.” It also declared that it would carry out all proposals approved within the framework of the United Nations. A mere two days later, however, the government acted in violation of these proposals.

We repeat: We were here before, we are here now, and we will always be here!

Turkey has held an LGBTI Pride Parade for thirteen years. It is just one of the many activities of Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week in late June, which has been held for 23 years to mark the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. It will continue to take place next year and every year thereafter. We will persist in our struggle for existence regardless of the government in power. We will continue to resist all forms of oppression, as we have for years.

We’re here to stay, so get used to it!

At 12:30 on Thursday, 2 July, we will file an official criminal complaint at the Çağlayan Courthouse in Istanbul against Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin, and Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altınok for their role in ordering the attacks on the 13th Annual Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade. We call on all political parties, labor unions, the democratically minded Turkish public, and international non-governmental organizations to come and express their solidarity with our cause.

Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week Committee

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Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan via Kaos GL

The police attacked the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade with tear gas, pressurized water, and plastic bullets. Protesters were taken into custody and journalists assaulted. Parliamentarians from HDP [People’s Democratic Party]  and CHP [Republican People’s Party] resisted police violence hand in hand. Despite the police attacks that continued throughout the day, the rainbow flag was waved in all the streets of Beyoğlu.

Source: Kaos GL, “Onur Yürüyüşü’nde saat saat ne oldu?” (“Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?”), 29 June 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19725

The governorate attempted to ban the Parade using Ramadan as an excuse. Assaults continued throughout the day on İstiklal Avenue and in Cihangir and Şişli. Three different crowds marched to Tunnel. During the press statement there, the crowds were assaulted [by police -Trans.]. Thousands of people resisted as they tried to gather together despite tear gas and plastic bullet attacks by the police.

Here is a minute-by-minute timeline of the attacks:

14.00 A press statement was read in front of the Galatasaray High School by mental health workers. At first, the police did not allow the reading of the press release.
15.00 The police attempted to take into custody [Bianet editor] Çiçek Tahaoğlu and Kaos GL editor Yıldız Tar when they tried to record the intervention of the Genç-Sen [Students’ Union] stand by the police. Our [Kaos GL] editor Tar was assaulted and removed from the stand area when they reminded the police that journalists’ right to report cannot be interfered with. Bianet editor Tahaoğu who reacted to the event was taken into custody. The editors were released upon the intervention of lawyers.
16.30 Participants encountered the first police attacks at the Pride Parade on İstiklal Avenue. Participants were scattered into side streets.
16.44 Following the police assault, LGBTIs in the side streets gathered again on İstiklal Avenue as they chanted slogans.
16.57 The crowd attempted to pass through the police barricades on side street entrances and enter İstiklal Avenue. Thousands succeeded in gathering together at the Taksim Square entrance of İstiklal Avenue.
16.46 The police assaulted the crowd that was gathered at Mis Street once again. Sporadic confrontations continued.
17.00 The police attacked and battered the journalists who were trying to record images. One person was reported to have been taken into custody.
17.01 The police attacked the crowd who were trying to enter İstiklal Avenue from the Taksim Square entrance. The crowd retreated towards Sıraselviler Street. The police continued their tear gas and pressurized water attacks.
17.03 The police attacked LGBTIs who were waiting in front of the Galatasaray High School with tear gas and pressurized water. The crowd retreated towards Tunnel. Police violence continued.
17.05 The crowd which had moved to Tarlabaşı gathered again. Thousands marched towards Taksim Square.
17.08 HDP’s Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğu participated in the Pride Parade as well. The police assaulted Kerestecioğlu.
17.20 HDP MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Beyza Üstün and Sezai Temelli and CHP MP Mahmut Tanal held hands in front of the police barricade and demanded that attacks be stopped. The police attacked the MPs and the crowd in the vicinity with plastic bullets.
17.22 Following the police attack at Hasnun Galip Street, one person was wounded. Thousands filled the streets leading to İstiklal Avenue. The crowd roamed the side streets trying to reach the Avenue, chanting slogans.
17.39 The police attacked once more the crowd who were marching towards and gathering in Taksim Square. The crowd retreated towards Talimhane.
17.48 The police blocked the members of the famous Boston Gay Men’s Chorus from entering İstiklal Avenue.
17.52 The police attacked once again the crowd who were gathering at Sıraselviler Street. The crowd responded by barricading themselves and throwing plastic soda bottles. Some of the crowd at Sıraselviler marched towards Cihangir.
18.05 MPs from HDP and CHP read a press statement at Taksim Square under a rainbow flag with regards to the police attack against the Pride Parade.
18.12 HDP Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu talked with Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin on the phone. Governor Şahin declared: “We won’t allow them to march because of Ramadan.”
18.26 CHP and HDP MPs read a statement in Taksim Square. HDP’s Musa Piroğlu said: “This nation hosts many people who have been othered. [This sentence has a dual meaning: “This nation has othered many people.” -Trans.] This assault was against all of us. The Istanbul Police Force is almost saying ‘We are ISIL’.” The crowd began their march towards İstiklal Avenue following the statement. In tandem with the march, the crowds nearby began gathering on İstiklal Street.
18.35 The crowd, which had moved towards Harbiye following the police attack in Taksim Square gathered together once again. Hundreds of people closed the road to traffic and began marching towards Şişli. The crowd at İstiklal Avenue gathered together as well. Thousands chanted “Don’t remain silent, scream LGBTs exist.” Ayşe Erdem, HDP’s co-chair, supported the LGBTIs as well.
18.39 The crowd who began marching along with HDP MPs moved to Tünel [Activist correction- MPs marched until Galatasaray]. Here, it was reported that Sendika.Org journalist Murat Karadeniz was wounded by police with a plastic bullet on his eyebrow. Karadeniz was taken to the hospital.
18.46 Police began once more their attack on the crowd at Mis Street with tear gas.
19.05 The police stopped the crowd who had blocked traffic and was marching towards Şişli. TOMAs [militarized police vehicles -Trans.] announced “Disperse”. The crowd responded by chanting.
19.10 Many were affected by the intense tear gas deployed during the attack at Galatasaray.
19.29 The police attacked the crowd once again while a press statement was being read.
19.40 The 23rd LGBTI Pride Week Parade participants did not disperse despite police assaults. The crowd, who were resisting for hours, marched towards the Tunnel. The protest ended here with a press statement stating: “We are everywhere, get used to it, we are not leaving.”
19.47 The police attacked the crowd which had already dispersed with batons, plastic bullets, and pressurized water.
22.00 The Pride Week celebration party at Tünel was attacked [by police].
23.00 [Police] attacked the street where the closing party [held in a privately owned bar -Trans.] was taking place. The participants took refuge in the terrace.

We have utilized the information passed on by our correspondents and by ETHA, and sendika.org.

Statement from the Governorate Concerning the Attack on Pride Parade

The Istanbul Governorate stated that the police intervened on the Pride Parade due to the possibility of provocation. No problems were experienced during the event until the police attack

Source: Kaos GL, “Valilik’ten Onur Yürüyüşü’ne Saldırı Açıklaması”, (“Statement from the Governorate Concerning the Attack on Pride Parade”) KaosGL.org, 29 June 2015,  http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19717

After the intense police attack on the Pride Parade, the Istanbul Governorate published their first statement. The Governorate, which could not be reached throughout the day, claimed that “there was no serious physical injury which needed medical attention in our health facilities as a result of the incidents.”

The police attack on the Pride Parade, which has taken place peacefully for the past 12 years, was explained with the possibility of a “provocation”.

The full text of the Governorate’s statement is as follows:

“Upon intelligence from the social media and the press organs on 28 June 2015 that some groups will be organizing a march and a protest on Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square under the name of LGBT Pride Parade and that some groups may react to this, necessary security precautions have been taken in the aforementioned places.

For the reason that there was no application nor prior notice to our governorate concerning the march and that it was open to provocations, the groups that gathered were warned. However, the protest continued and the groups were dispersed by our security forces within the responsibility assigned to us by the law and by paying attention to the principle of proportionality [of police force -Trans.].

After the dispersal of protesting groups, everyday life has returned back to normal at both Taksim Square, Istiklal Avenue and the side streets.

There were no serious physical injuries that would have needed the dispatch of our health facilities as a result of the incidents.

 


Update 29 June 2015: Link added to the minute-by-minute report.

Governor bans pride parade at the last minute; police attacks participants

The announcement by the 23. Istanbul LGBTI Pride Committee in response to a last minute ban against the pride parade is as follows:

The 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade scheduled to take place at 17:00 in Taksim has suddenly been banned by the Governorate, using the month of Ramadan as an excuse, without any announcement.

The police is attacking tens of thousands of people with pepper spray, plastic bullets and water cannons.

All entrances and exits to and from Taksim and Istiklal Street have been shut down.

We call on the Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin to adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, to immediately cease the attacks, and to make a public statement.

All Pride Parade participants are urged to remain in place and not leave Beyoglu until the walk can be started as planned.

People who believe in a free world but could not make it to Taksim: we invite you to make some noise with pots & pans or whatever you find, wherever you are, at 6pm.

WE ARE HERE, GET USED TO IT, WE ARE NOT LEAVING!

Love wins!

#GelYanima #JoinUs

23. Istanbul LGBTI Pride Committee

LGBTI refugees constitute the most invisible group

The Lambdaistanbul LGBTI Refugee Commission has released a written statement for the June 20th Refugees Day. The Commission, which listed the problems experienced by LGBTI refugees in Turkey and shared their demands, said that “LGBTI immigrants and refugees constitute the most invisible and disadvantaged group.”

syria-refugees-no-one-is-illegal (more…)