Rights Violations in 2016

Trans Man Faces Discrimination in Istanbul Gym

The famous gym chain MACFit’s Anadolu Hisarı branch in Beykoz, Istanbul was the scene of transphobic discrimination. Trans male Çağlar Hamza was first warned by the gym’s managers, where he was a member, by being told “You have a pink ID card, you cannot use the men’s changing room”, and then was forced to freeze his membership.

Source: “Ünlü spor salonu zincirinden transfobik uygulama: Üyeliğini dondur!”, SoL, 20 September 2016, http://haber.sol.org.tr/toplum/unlu-spor-salonu-zincirinden-transfobik-uygulama-uyeligini-dondur-169646 

Çağlar Hamza, a trans male who is originally a graphic designer, but still working on ships as a vice captain, was subject to the transphobic discrimination of the managers of the gym chain MACFit’s Anadolu Hisarı branch, of which he has been a member for a year. Çağlar Hamza was warned by a fitness instructor the previous evening with the words “You cannot use the men’s changing room, go use the women’s side”. Çağlar Hamza stated that he is a man, that he had not applied to the court and had his ID card changed yet, but he would be continuing to use the men’s side. He was forced the next day by the gym management to have his membership frozen.

ÇAĞLAR HAMZA: THIS IS A CLEAR TRANSPHOBIC DISCRIMINATION!

Çağlar Hamza, who spoke to soL, said “They gave me three choices. They wanted me to either get dressed and take showers in the women’s side, get dressed outside the premises, or freeze my membership. This is a clear transphobic discrimination. I condemn this”.

Suspect who attacked trans woman with an iron stick: I am not done with you!

After being caught, one of the people who attacked trans women with an iron stick threatened them by saying ‘I am not done with you’ in Ankara Bülbülderesi. The attacker was released pending trial.

Source: “Trans kadınlara demir sopayla saldıran zanlı: Sizinle işim daha bitmedi!” T24, 3 September 2016, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/trans-kadinlara-demir-sopayla-saldiran-zanli-sizinle-isim-daha-bitmedi,358251

According to Pink Life’s news, the captured attacker went to trans woman S’s house pretending to be a customer and tried to extort her.

The attacker first left when the trans women did not file a complaint, but then came back with three others, in a car without a license plate, to threaten the women there.

The attacker was caught when the licence plate of the first car was detected. The attacker then threatened the trans women who went to the police station to identify him.

Rıza Yalçın Koçak, a lawyer from Pink Life Association, called the police headquarters to demand protection after the attacker’s attitude.

The policeman, who approved Koçak’s demand of protection on the phone, rejected the demand by saying ‘We are extremely busy, we cannot deal with you’ to the trans women.

The attacker was released pending trial.

Lesbian Woman Commits Suicide in Turkey

Nalan Bayar, a student at the department of Mechanical Engineering in METU [Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara] who was systematically subjected to family pressure and threats because of her lesbian identity, took her own life. Her friends made a written statement that said “It’s not a suicide but a social homicide, and the murderer is obvious.”

Source: “Eşcinsel olduğu için baskı gören kadın yaşamına son verdi”, T24, 30 August 2016, http://t24.com.tr/haber/escinsel-oldugu-icin-baski-goren-kadin-yasamina-son-verdi,357622

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“It’s not a suicide, but a social homicide and the murderer is obvious.”

According to the news of Jinha, Nalan Bayar who was systematically subjected to pressure and threats from her family and social circle and had gone to Germany for university education because of her sexual orientation. Nalan who was also a graduate student of the department of Business in Bogazici University, took her own life Monday morning, having been driven to suicide as a result of the hate that she was exposed to because she was a lesbian.

Her friends and 7 Renk Mersin LGBT who made a written statement have highlighted that the death of Nalan is not a suicide but a social homicide. The statement read:

“Again a murder was committed in front of our eyes and we weren’t able to prevent it. Our friend, Nalan Bayar who had gone to Germany for university education in order to get away from the pressures and threats from her family based on her sexual orientation, took her life Monday morning. It’s not a suicide but a social homicide, and the murderer is obvious. This is a criminal complaint, not to the governmental mechanisms producing the same darkness, but to the conscience of humanity. Nalan committed suicide because she despaired of this conscience blunted by darkness. We couldn’t be hope and light.

“She will be quietly buried whilst being presented by her family as ‘someone who had gone to study but committed suicide because of the depression of failure’. Nalan was a graduate from the department of Business in Bogazici University, and a student in the department of Mechanical Engineering in METU. She had dedicated herself to caring for street animals. Nalan and the fight she put up under the unendurable heaviness of being other, because of her sexual orientation, will wither on the vine in a trice. Murderers will live and die without being aware that they are murderers. As long as we keep silence like that and don’t proliferate, murders will be committed every day.

“The end result for those who don’t keep silent and search for a solution to any kind of social problem are prisons, exiles, political murders, etc. If that’s not enough, being burned alive in the basement would be continuous. It’s not known how much this situation will accumulate, but it’s obvious that we die every day, down to the crumbs of our humanity. Let’s announce, and be the voice! The death of Nalan was not suicide but a murder.”

Having suicidal thoughts? Please see our list of resources:

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

Trans woman commits suicide in Turkey

Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker who lived in İzmir, committed suicide due to not being able to stand social pressure. One of Azize Ömrüm’s closes friends, trans activist Öykü Ay said, “We are all responsible for this suicide.”

Source: “Trans Kadın İntihar Etti”, pembehayat.org, 22 August 2016, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1210

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After the suicide of Azize Ömrüm, a sex worker trans woman, Öykü Ay was quoted as saying “Azize was different from all of us. She only loved once, but her lover’s parents broke them up. Azize could not stand that her lover got married by force with another person. She told her love to all of us. She was telling this so frequently, we could not understand her strong feelings. Then she found her solution by isolating herself.”

Ay also mentioned that Azize wanted to be a chef and not a sex worker. Ay stated “She used to cook very well. The only person whose bed she wanted to get in was that of her lover. But she had to be a sex worker because of her life condition. The system did not let her  work in another job. She could not handle the burden and was lonesome” and mentioned that the whole of society is responsible for Azize’s suicide, including her friends.  

As Pembe Hayat, we all offer our condolences to everyone in the trans community.

Protest for Azize in Ankara!

After Azize’s suicide, High School LGBTI in Ankara invited everyone to gather against transphobia. High School LGBTI stated “We are gathering in front of the Human Rights statue in order to not stay silent but to be the voice of Azize’s scream” and invited all anti-transphobic people to Yüksel Street at 7 pm.

 

Having suicidal thoughts? Please see our list of resources: https://lgbtinewsturkey.com/2015/03/04/suicide-resources/

Trans Woman Burned and Murdered in Turkey

Hande Kader, a trans woman based in Istanbul, disappeared a week ago. Her friends and lover filed a missing person’s announcement. Hande Kader’s burned body was found in Zekeriyaköy.

Source: “Trans Kadın Yakılarak Katledildi”, Pembe Hayat,  12  August 2016, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1187

Trans sex worker Hande Kader was last seen getting in her customer’s car about a week ago and has not been heard from since. Her friends and partner have reported Hande’s disappearance to the police.

hande_kader

Following the report, police initiated a search and rescue. During the operation, they found a burned trans woman’s body near Zekeriyakoy.

Hande Kader’s partner D. mentioned that Hande was wearing prosthetics which helped identify her burnt body.

In order to confirm the body’s identification, Hande’s family has been informed and the burial will be on hold until they arrive.

 

Trans Woman Attacked with “Allahu Akbar” Chants in Mersin

 

Two assailants in Mersin’s Pozcu district attacked a trans woman with a knife and iron rod, shouting “Allahu Akbar”  [“God is Great”]. It was learned that the police did not take action regarding the two people who attacked the trans woman saying “We’re going to kill all of you.”

Source: “Mersin’de trans kadına tekbirli saldırı” (“‘Allahu Akbar’ Heard During Attack on Trans Woman in Mersin”), T24, 6 August 2016, http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/mersinde-trans-kadina-tekbirli-saldiri,353607

Following the attack, the trans woman who had gone to the hospital was discharged without being given a report.

Two assailants attacked a trans woman with an iron rod around 03:00 on 6 August at the Topçular bus stop in Mersin’s Pozcu district.

According to Cumhuriyet’s story, the trans woman called the police to report the assailants, but the police who came to the scene distanced the assailants by taking the knife from their hands and tossing it down the storm drain, and then left the scene saying “You leave, we’ll do what needs to be done.”

After the police left the scene, the assailants this time attacked the trans woman, Melisa, with iron rods. Melisa alleged that the assailants, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” said, “We’re going to kill all of you,” and that the police who came back to the scene took no action.

7 Colors LGBTI Association: We’re going to start the judicial process

Melisa, who went to the Mersin State Hospital through her own efforts, was sent home after her wounds were dressed without being given a report.

The Mersin 7 Colors LGBTI Association for its part expressed that they were going to start the judicial process against this hate crime, which they announced through their social media accounts.

 

Syrian gay refugee killed in Istanbul

Muhammed Wisam Sankari was a gay Syrian refugee. He had arrived in Istanbul a year ago. He was threatened, kidnapped, raped. Last week he was found dead in Yenikapi and was stabbed multiple times. Wisam’s friends identified him by his pants.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “İstanbul’da Suriyeli eşcinsel mülteci öldürüldü”, kaosGL.org, 3 August 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22065

Syrian gay refugee Muhammed Wisam Sankari left his house in Aksaray on the night of 23 July. He was found dead in Yenikapi on 25 July. He was beheaded and his body mutilated beyond identification. Wisam’s killers have not been caught. Wisam, who was previously threatened, kidnapped by a crowded group of men, and raped, was trying to go to another country as a refugee because his life was in danger. After the murder, we listened to Wisam’s housemates Rayan, Diya and Gorkem tell us about what Wisam went through, what it is like to be an LGBTI refugee in Turkey, and the problems refugees face. They spoke to KaosGL.org about the murder that was so clearly in the making, how the authorities did not take any preventive measures, and their anxieties about “who is next”.

wissam

“We complained to the Police HQ, they did not do anything”

Rayan, who has known Wisam for a year, says “He was feeling very insecure recently. When we asked him, he would not tell us much” and explains that Wisam had been threatened and kidnapped before. He said they had difficulties even walking on the streets of Aksaray where they lived and where crowded male groups wielding knives had threatened them several times, saying they wanted to rape them. According to Rayan, Wisam experienced the following:

“We were staying in a different house before and we had to leave that house just because we are gay. People around would constantly stare at us. We did not do anything immoral? About five months ago, a group kidnapped Wisam in Fatih. They took him to a forest, beat him and raped him. They were going to kill him but Wisam saved himself by jumping at the road. We complained to the Police Headquarters but nothing happened.”

“We identified him from his pants”

Gorkem is also Wisam’s friend and he was among the people who went to identify the body after Wisam was killed. Gorkem tells the story of Wisam’s disappearance and the news of his death in tears:

“That night Wisam left the house. We were already anxious because of the threats. We told him not to go but he said he was going out for 15-20 minutes. He didn’t come home all night. The next day, we panicked when we couldn’t reach him. We went to the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM). They directed us to Fatih Police Headquarters. We did not even know how to get there or what to say.

“On Sunday police called us. We went to Yenikapi with Rayan. They had cut Wisam violently. So violent that two knives had broken inside him. They had beheaded him. His upped body was beyond recognition, his internal organ were out. We could identify our friend from his pants.”

“Who is next?”

Diya says they live in fear and with the thought of “who is next” following Wisam’s death and says they are afraid to go out on the street:

“I am so scared. I feel like everyone is staring at me on the street. I was kidnapped twice before. They let me go in Cerkezkoy and I barely got home one time. I went to the UN for my identification but they did not even respond to that. No one cares about us. They just talk. I get threats over the phone. I speak calmly so something does not happen. It does not matter if you are Syrian or Turkish, if you are gay you are everyone’s target. They want sex from you and when you don’t they just tag along. I don’t have identification, who would protect me? Who is next?”

Rayan criticizes ASAM and the United Nations. “What’s the use of them doing anything after Wisam is killed? Our friend is dead,” and adds:

“ASAM and the UN don’t do anything for us. We can only protect ourselves. We stay together to protect ourselves. We cannot get any information or answers. Just talk… ASAM called us after Wisam’s death. After his death… What’s the point? A very pure and good person is gone from this world.”