Rights Violations in 2016

Video of detentions during Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride

[00:00:05] Police: Take this one!

[00:00:06] LGBTI+ Activist: It’s our natural right to read our press statement!

[00:00:07] Police: Disperse! Disperse!

[00:00:10] LGBTI+ Activist: It’s our natural right! // Police: Take this one!

[00:00:12] LGBTI+ Activist: Let us speak for once!

[00:00:15] LGBTI+ Activist: Wait a second! Wait a moment!

[00:00:17] Police: Disperse! // His supposed natural right!

[00:00:19] Police: Take this one!

[00:00:24] Police: His supposed natural right!

[00:00:25] Police: Take this one too! Take this one too!

[00:00:27] LGBTI+ Activist: No!

[00:00:33] Police: You’re banned brother, everyone go home!

[00:00:36] Police: Get out! Disperse!

[00:00:42] Police: His supposed right!

[00:00:47] Police: Come on move! // LGBTI+ Activist: Just a second!

[00:00:48] Police: Come on!

[00:00:51] Police: Go on, disperse!

[00:00:51] Police: Take this one too!

[00:00:53] Police: Take those too!

[00:00:55] Police: Disperse! / Walk! What are you waiting for?

[00:00:58] Police: What are you waiting for!

[00:00:59] Police: Disperse folks, disperse!

[00:01:03] Police: Okay, alright! // Walk already!

[00:01:08] Police: Come on brother!

[00:01:09] International guest: Wait, wait wait! (Showing his ID)

[00:01:11] LGBTI+ Activist: One moment! One moment!

[00:01:18] Police: Get out!

[00:01:29] MEP Terry Reintke: He’s with me! He’s with me!

14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee Press Statement on 26 June 2016

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee could not complete their press statement in Tünel. However, LGBTI+ “dispersed” and continue to read the press statement at safe locations. Links below.

The reason why we are reading this press statement today is because the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March has been banned.

Pride Marches are among the biggest, multi-voiced, and mass demonstrations that this country has witnessed. In our marches, we stand up to this dark time that is our share in world history, with our love and desire. We hold those who seize our labor accountable, we take our destiny into our hands, we dream our own future. We defend peace instead of war, courage instead of fear, and all who are oppressed. We show that a different world, sexuality, body, and life is possible. Those who banned our march used “society’s sensitivities” as an excuse. But what’s being guarded is not society’s but the government’s sensitivities. Society is none other than us. What’s being banned is our attempt to voice our longing to exist as proud people of this world, our demands, peace, justice, and equality. Banning our march is an unsuccessful attempt to silence our voices.

Unsuccessful because the pride of our existence grows with every oppression. We proudly own all the insults they throw at us to hurt us. We are expanding our limited spaces with solidarity. We are leading a revolution on every street we walk, on every work day, every house, every love and every act of lovemaking. We are killed and reborn in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antep, Diyarbakir, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Orlando. We will always exist, shout out our existence, and always be proud of our existence.

We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. The sound of our slogans is in our ears, the colors of the rainbow are with us, the scent of freedom is in our noses. We are on this path to demand more than tolerance and permits. We are continually strengthening our resistance everywhere to demand that our personal, political, and social rights are guaranteed; that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the constitution; and that the reality of the LGBTI+ movement as a political participant is recognized.

We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.

Photographs by Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929854223808858/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/istanbullgbti/videos/1010217819055947/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ekinyasa/videos/10209691695110490/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/reisof/videos/1238197612871136/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929893753804905/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929899170471030/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929916480469299/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929918987135715/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/nihal.noraluca/videos/10157270513035713/

Source: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1320791064615656&id=153245714703536

Genetically Modified Tomato Awards Presented: 140Journos, Istanbul University…

12th Genetically Modified Tomato Awards were  distributed at the ceremony on Thursday. Boysan Yakar, Zeliş Deniz and Mert Serçe, the activists who lost their lives last year, were also commemorated in the ceremony.

Source: “Hormonlu Domatesler Sahiplerini Buldu: 140Journos, İstanbul Üniversitesi…”, BİA Haber Merkezi, June 24, 2016, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/176181-hormonlu-domatesler-sahiplerini-buldu-140journos-istanbul-universitesi

12th Genetically Modified Tomato Awards found their new winners on Thursday in a ceremony at Şişli Urban Cultural Center.

There were stage performances at the ceremony and the entire audience danced to commemorate the three activists who lost their lives last year, Boysan Yakar, Zeliş Deniz and Mert Serçe.

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Yeni Akit daily received the majority of the votes in the media category with its headline “The number of deaths increased to 50 at the bar visited by the perverted homosexuals” following the Orlando attack, but since the newspaper has continuously perpetrated hate speech with its news and won the award repeatedly, it was given the “Lifetime Genetically Modified Tomato” award.

In the “media” category the award was merited by 140 Journos, which used a transphobic language while covering last year’s Trans Beauty Pageant, and announced its nomination for Genetically Modified Tomato Awards upon the criticism it received. Other nominees in this category were Sabah daily, Cem Keçe and Hürriyet Aile, Hayrettin Karaman of Yeni Şafak, Milat daily and its reporter Enes Babacan, Vahdet daily, Milli Gazete and Yeni Akit.

(more…)

Governor’s Office Bans Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Press Statement Due to “Sensitivities”

Istanbul Governor’s Office has not approved Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week’s request to hold a press statement on 26 June in Taksim’s Tünel Square due to “sensitivities” and “security”. 

Source: Kaos GL, “LGBTİ+ Onur Haftası basın açıklamasına da Valilik’ten ‘hassasiyet’ yasağı!”, 23 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21952

LGBTI associations have submitted notices to the Istanbul Governor’s Office after the ban on 19 June Trans Pride March and 26 June LGBTI+ Pride March via a statement on their website and after the police intervention on Trans Pride March.

The application stated the request to hold a press statement within the scope of Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week on 26 June at 17:00 in Tünel Square.

The Istanbul Governor’s Office’s response to the application includes the following statements:

Within Law No: 5442, this request has not been approved due to the terror attacks that have taken place in our country and the area; because provocative acts and events may take place when the sensitivities that have emerged in society are taken into account; and because it may cause a disruption in public order and the people’s- including the participants of the event- tranquility, security, and welfare.

The institutions that made the application and the committee will take the Governor’s decision to the Administrative Court.

 

Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

transonur16sener_5

Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL), Families of LGBTI in Istanbul (LISTAG), Pink Life LGBTI Solidarity Association, and Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) declared that they would monitor and report rights violations experiences during the march. In this report, we share with the public our observations gathered before and during the march. This report is a short summary of the events and does not present all the rights violations. The main picture seen from observations of our monitors in the field and news is that on 19 June 2016, Istanbul Governor’s Office, Police Headquarters, and transphobic gangs in civilian clothes violated LGBTIs most basic human rights who experienced violence and harassment.

English Report: Human Rights Observation Report of 19 June 2016 Trans Pride March

Türkçe Rapor: 19 Haziran Trans Onur Yürüyüşü Gözlem Raporu

 

Trans Pride Press Statement

Source: Kaos GL, “Polis saldırısı nedeniyle okunamayan Trans Onur Yürüyüşü açıklaması”, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21909

We are publishing the Trans Pride March press statement by Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association that could not be publicly read due to police intervention. 

The press release of the 7th Trans Pride March is as follows:

The 7th Trans Pride March that we have organized has begun in sadness and anger in the wake of the Orlando massacre. The discussions that began before we had even mourned the Orlando massacre exhibit the magnitude of the hate culture that is created in society. The calls to massacre by the jihadists and Salafist groups in the media and on social media complemented the decision of the Governor’s Office to forbid the march and exposed the coalition amongst these groups. State officials who did not initiate processes of persecution supported these massacring groups who made calls for [a] massacre and bans with threatening statements and targeted people who wanted to exercise their constitutional rights to join the march.

We Know of this collaboration from Sivas, from Maraş!

We know of this collaboration from Suruç, from Amed [Diyarbakır], from Ankara!

We know of this collaboration from Trans murders and the selfies taken with murderers!

The Trans Pride March, organized 6 years in a row without any problems posed to public order, was terrorized by both the state and the puritanical groups, targeting our friends who participated in the organization of this week. The hateful culture created in society provided the basis for the attacks and, through the media, LGBTIs were turned into open targets.

We declare here once again! The parties responsible for all the attacks that will occur due to this hate culture are Istanbul Mayor Vasıp Şahin, Istanbul Police Chief Mustafa Çalışkan, Minister of Interior Efkan Ala and the AKP government, who disregard and encourage this.

This argument that began with the excuse of disrespect for the month of Ramadan shows us where those who are not Turkish, Muslim, Sunni, and male will stand in this nonsensical New Turkey. This sensibility that imposes their own norm on the totality of society and target those who do not abide by this norm will bring nothing but a massacre for the Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, Greeks, Roma, LGBTIs, women, laborers and workers.

While every critical opinion about the President expressed on Twitter draws house raids, arrests, and detention, open calls to attack are disregarded and the complaints of rights defenders remain unprocessed. None of us are safe in a country where jihadist terrorist groups move freely, where borders are opened from one end to the other, where militants are treated in hospitals and sent back to the war zone.

Within this reality, the situation of trans society is in an even worse state. Trans individuals who cannot camouflage themselves in social life are turned into targets and are deprived of all their fundamental rights.

The Republic of Turkey, which defines itself as a social state, usurps our right to life, housing, education, health, and movement, forcing us to live in oppression that has not been seen before.

We, the children of the rainbow, shout out once again:

We are the owners of these lands and the guarantors of a bright future!

We will continue to fight for an equal, free, and democratic world.

We bow with respect to the memory of our friends massacred in Orlando and promise a world without homophobia and transphobia!

Don’t forget Orlando, don’t let anyone forget!

Despite hate, hooray life!

Hate crimes are political!

Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association

 

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee Press Declaration

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/posts/923686597758954

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee Press Declaration: The Istanbul Governorship is openly violating the constitution and laws!

Since 2003, we have been organizing a LGBTI+ Pride March on Istiklal Avenue, the last Sunday of June to raise our voice against rights breaches we encounter throughout the year, to demand equality, freedom and legal status and to state that we are not ashamed but “PROUD” of our existence. It is crucial for us to be visible at the center of cities at least for one day of the year.

Today (June 17, 2016), the Istanbul Governorship released a press statement declaring a ban against the Pride March scheduled to take place on June 26, 2016. It has been this same institution that tried to ban the March last year, in which 100 thousand people were expected to participate, putting forth the reason that “certain sectors of society would be sensitive due to the fact that it [was] scheduled during Ramadan.” Last year’s ban caused tens of people to be injured. The violence incurred is on record and has received worldwide attention.   

The Istanbul Governorship’s justification this year is the various threats directed at the March. We wish once again to remind everyone that the fundamental duty of the state is not to prevent people from exercising their rights. It is to obliterate the obstacles against people who are exercising their rights. In other words, it seems that the governorship prefers to limit people’s rights and freedoms instead of taking measures to deal with the threats.

The right to assemble and organize demonstrations is included in the basic human right of freedom of expression and it is observed as such both by the constitution and by international agreements. As the constitution states, “Everyone, regardless of whether or not they seek prior permission, has the right to assemble and organize demonstrations.” Similarly, Law number 2911 regarding Assembly and the Organization of Demonstrations explains clearly in which ways this right may be exercised. Once again, this decision taken by the governorship is against the law. We respectfully declare to the public that as the Pride Week Committee, we will pursue legal channels and follow up on this case.

#LoveWillWin

Istanbul Governor Bans Istanbul Trans and LGBTI+ Pride

Source: Istanbul Governor’s Website, http://istanbul.gov.tr/tr/guncel/haberler/basin-duyurusu-17062016
PRESS STATEMENT BY ISTANBUL GOVERNOR’S OFFICE

It has been understood that there are calls being made on some media organs, websites, and social media that LGBT members are organizing a march on 19-26 June 2016 in Taksim.

The organization of a meeting and demonstration march on the mentioned dates will not be allowed by our governorate for the safety of our citizens, first and foremost the participants’, and for public order. The venues for such events have previously been announced by law. We ask our valuable Istanbul residents to not heed such calls and to help the Security Forces by following their warnings and announce it to the public with respect. 

Far-right Alperen Group Says It will Stop Pride No Matter What

The Alperen Hearths are a far-right ultranationalist and Islamist youth group linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP). On Wednesday, the Alperens made a press statement on Trans and LGBTI Pride Marches and said “We will never, ever allow their immorality”. The full translation of their press statement is below.  

Source: http://m.haberler.com/alperen-ocaklari-baskani-mican-lgbt-onur-8528393-haberi/

As you know, the nature of the marches LGBT are planning to hold in Taksim on 19 and 26 June are contradictory to our nation’s national and moral structure and traditions. We will never, ever allow such Immorality, like this march that is called “honor” but really it is immoral, that touch the nation’s nerves, to be normalized or encouraged. 

We warn those who use the names Recep, Şaban, and Ramadan, the months we accept as holy, and try to be funny: they should not shed their clothes to shamelessness with saying things about our nation’s sensitivities with such fantasies. I’ll remind you this quote from Ziya Pasha for those who make fun of our moral values and surpass boundaries: “Those who do not settle down with advice should be scolded, those who do not settle down with scolding and advice should be beaten”.

Viewing the organization of this march as tolerance should not lead to social corruption and moral collapse with the creation of new genders using alternatives letters for our daughters and sons. This is not a reaction to anyone’s personal life or personal crimes. Ordering good is to abolish the bad.

State officials who allow this immorality and daring, who give way, who close their eyes and ears, we invite you to serve to end this immorality. Otherwise, we Alperens, the deep nation’s representatives, will not allow these immoral people’s fantasies in these lands left to us by our ancestors who paid a heavy price. Otherwise, our response will be very clear and harsh. We are announcing this to the public. And we are calling on all our brothers and sisters in religion. We will meet in Taksim Square on Sunday 16 June [sic] at 15:00 and Sunday 26 June at 15:00. We will never, ever allow their immorality.

They keep doing the same thing on this holy month and make fun of us by completely discounting our values. With God’s permission, we will not allow this. We invite you to Taksim Square to say “stop” to this immorality together. We will directly stop the march. We will face up to anything. There is nothing to do here. We will somehow not allow them to march. They can meet somewhere and do whatever they want but on this holy month of Ramadan, on this holy day, we absolutely do not want them to march with no clothes on, naked, on our country’s holy lands. That’s why we will not allow them. In a country where 99% of our people is Muslim, it is absolutely not possible for us to allow such vileness and immorality.

Our state should be saying “stop” this by considering our national values. Because this is not normal. This freedom is not a normal freedom. What they want is not a normal freedom. This is the Republic of Turkey. Our holy ancestors left us these lands for safe custody. We, especially the Alperen youth, will not allow people to walk without dresses, without tops in these lands.

We have made a press statement now. We are giving a warning. We have told the public. We have announced it ahead of time. We are not responsible for whatever that happens after this because the state needs to consider and take seriously that its people are 99% Muslim, its religion is Islam, and its national values. If the state ignores this and says “yes, go”, on a day of Ramadan, and allow 5000 people to march naked with whiskey, champagne, alcohol in their hands, then we will not allow it. Either the state will do what is necessary or the Alperens will.

Update, 16 June 2016

Spokesperson Küşat Mican spoke on RS FM’s “Bidebunudinle” program and made the following comments:

Source: Kaos GL, “Alperenler: “Biz Taksim’de sopalarla kovalayalım demedik”,” 16 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21877

We warned this group before, we warned the friends, we sent representatives. We are a Muslim Turkish nation, 99% of our people are Muslim. Yes, we need to live with tolerance but this march cannot take place by ignoring our religious values and ignoring us. We don’t want them to walk half-naked, with bottles of alcohol, in this holy city that has been watered by the blood of our ancestors. It looks like this is going out of the bounds of law but don’t perceive it as such. When we reminded them of Ziya Pasha’s words, it was not a threat. We are saying we will be there, we will react, and we will not allow them to walk. If they are ten thousand people, we will be ten thousand people, we will close that corridor, we will have a sit-in, we won’t let them walk. If they react to us, we will react to them. I did not say let’s go to Taksim and kick them out with sticks. One should not perceive this sentence as carrying sticks in our hands but as a reaction.

Update, 18 June 2016

BBP leader Mustafa Destici: “Perversion and immorality can not be called freedom.”

Source:BBP lideri Mustafa Destici: Sapık LGBTİ’ler benim ülkemde yürüyüş yapamaz!”, June 17, 2016, T24, http://t24.com.tr/haber/bbp-lideri-mustafa-destici-sapik-lgbtiler-benim-ulkemde-yuruyus-yapamaz,345724

Mustafa Destici, the chairman of the BBP (Grand Unity Party) stood by the Alperen Hearths, which announced that they would not let the 14th Pride March take place. In the speech he gave at the iftar, or fast-breaking dinner of his party in Duzce on 16 June, he stated:

Anything immoral gets by in our society during the month of Ramadan and these are represented as legitimate. In the capital of Islam, Istanbul an immoral group that we cannot accept according to our traditions and beliefs, makes a program that goes on for weeks. And they even go further as to crown it with a march. Our young friends, Alperens, say it’s wrong. They say “Those who govern the country should not allow this”, and then there is a huge outrage. Yes brother, this is Turkey, this is a Muslim country. I address the state and the government. You asked for votes claiming that you are conservative and religious, and came to power as such. If you let that march take place, you will be betraying your voters. Let’s see if you commit this betrayal or not. Perversion and immorality cannot be called freedom. This has nothing to do with personal liberties and rights. This cannot be accepted as such. My morality and Western morality are not the same. My belief and Western beliefs are not the same. We won’t stand by and watch this. We will show our rightful reaction. Of course this reaction is verbal, it is [a] protest. We have always been against violence. If there is a price for it, we will pay. They should go do the march somewhere else, they can’t do it in my country.  My country can’t be represented as a country of perverts.

 

Hate Campaign against Pride March

An organization named “Muslim Youth of Anatolia” has started a hate and lynching campaign on social media against Pride Week that will be celebrated during the last week of June. Facebook administration indicated that the page, which openly calls for an attack, “does not violate standards”.

Source: Mehmet Akın, “Onur Yürüşü’ne karşı nefret kampanyası”, Agos, 14 June 2016, http://www.agos.com.tr/tr/yazi/15648/onur-yuruyusu-ne-karsi-nefret-kampanyasi

 

Hate and lynching campaigns were started against the LGBTI Pride March which is celebrated in the last week of June every year. An organization by the name of “Muslim Youth of Anatolia” opened an event on Facebook, inviting people to attack Pride March. The event titled “We won’t let the dishonorable perverts walk” invites people to meet in Taksim on June 19 [when Trans Pride will take place]. The posts about this event have also been shared on Twitter.

The invite reads “We won’t let the dishonorable perverts walk! Do not let the disgrace that is ironically called Pride March take place on June 19. Intervene! We are waiting for you.”

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Messages and images which invite the people to attack Pride March are published on the event page on Facebook. Harun Sekmen, a reporter from Yeni Akit daily, infamous for its news filled with hate speech against LGBTI and Enes Babacan, another reporter from Millet daily sent messages of support to the event page. Images that are assumed to belong to ISIS and photos of people being tortured are also being shared on the event page.

LGBTI activists reported the event to Facebook administration. Facebook administration first sent a message to the activists, stating “We examined the page and saw that it does not violate our community standards”. Upon complaints the page was closed as of today.

SPoD: We are starting the legal process

Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip, from the board of Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) has stated that they will be following up on this discourse of hate. Kip has said “We will not let animosity and rage be spread in our society by those who made this call. LGBTI associations will start the necessary legal process as soon as possible”.

Neither the Governor’s Office nor the Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement about security measures to be taken for Pride March.

During a press statement yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli stated “We don’t know really, but if it’s permitted necessary security measures would be taken as well.”

 

Rainbow Solidarity Network: We Condemn the Governorate, Izmir Pride Cancelled

The Rainbow Solidarity Network made a statement about the ban on the 4th Izmir Pride March. The network announced that the march is cancelled and condemned the Izmir Governorate. The network will hold a press conference on 6 June. 

Source: Kaos GL, “Gökkuşağı Dayanışma Ağı: Valiliği kınıyoruz, İzmir Onur Yürüyüşü iptal”, 3 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21798

The Rainbow Solidarity Network organizing Izmir Pride March made a press statement regarding the ban on the march by the Governorate. The Network condemned the Governorate’s homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic attitude. It announced that the march was cancelled.

 

The full statement:

Izmir Pride March, which was planned to take place on 4 June at 19:00 for the fourth time, was banned by the Izmir Governorate. Previously, the Ankara Governorate had banned the 17 May International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia march in Ankara organized by Kaos GL.

We condemn the Governorate!

We find these kinds of bans on LGBTIs’ freedom of expression to be unacceptable and condemn the Izmir Governorate’s homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic attitude. Our application for the march was submitted on 23 May and approved by the Governorate and the Police Headquarters. However, the fact that the march was cancelled on the last day, towards the end of working hours and at a time when we wouldn’t have the chance to object, makes this ban illegal. Furthermore, the fact that the ban used expressions such as “propaganda for terrorist organization” and “a march that looks innocent but can cause indignation” when the march has taken place in peace for years is proof that LGBTIs are not seen as equal citizens. The suspicion of terror is the most important repressive argument by oppressive regimes to suppress society. The decision states that the intelligence of “chanting slogans praising illegal terror organizations” was “partially” confirmed. Such a vague, baseless, and frivolous statement preventing our democratic right to demonstrate is unacceptable.

We announce to all who stand against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia that this year the march cannot take place under these circumstances.

Press Conference on 6 June

We will hold a press conference about the Izmir Governorate’s discriminatory attitude that targets LGBTIs on 6 June at 11:00 at the Konak City Council and share details about the process with the public.

Despite all the bans and the neglect, the rainbow’s struggle for equality and freedom will continue!

The Rainbow Solidarity Network: 9 September University Equal Lane Community, Ege University LeGeBİT Community, LGBTI Commission of Eğitim-Sen Izmir Branch 2, HDK Izmir LGBTI Commission, Izmir LGBTI Initiative, Izmir LGBTI High School Initiative, Black Pink Triangle Izmir Association.

 

 

Governor bans Izmir Pride

After the ban on the Ankara March against Homophobia and Transphobia, the Izmir Governorate has banned Izmir Pride. The reasoning for the ban includes the statement “propaganda for terrorist organization”. The Rainbow Solidarity Network organizing the march will make a statement.  

Source: Kaos GL, “İzmir Onur Yürüyüşü’ne de Valilik Yasağı”, 3 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21797


The Izmir Governorate banned the Izmir Pride March scheduled for tomorrow (4 June) on the basis that it “received intelligence that there may be propaganda for terrorist organization”. The march, organized by the Rainbow Solidarity Network consisting of LGBTI human rights organizations and supported by the Konak City Council was banned for the following reason:

“There have been certain tips that some persons or groups working for terror organizations will infiltrate the crowd during the demonstration; will conduct provocative acts to disturb the peace and quiet of society by provoking the crowd; will chant slogans praising illegal terror organizations during the demonstration; will open pieces of cloth that are the so-called flags of illegal organizations; these persons or groups infiltrating the crowd will attack security forces stationed there as well as public institutions, public and private vehicles with rocks, bats, Molotof cocktails, and improvised explosive devices; and will commit terror crimes. These intelligence tips have been partially confirmed”.

What happened in Ankara?

The Ankara Governorate banned Kaos GL’s March Against Homophobia and Transphobia scheduled for 22 May to celebrate IDAHOT. The Governorate put forth “certain social sensitivities” as the grounds for not finding the march “suitable” and refused to ensure the security of the march. It also lifted the decision of stay of execution by objecting to the Regional Administrative Court.

Jail sentence demanded over “Ramazan can’t interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love” banner

A lawsuit was filed against three people who held a banner that read “Ramazan can’t interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love”*, during the LGBTI Pride March organized last year in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. The prosecutor’s office has demanded a prison sentence from 6 months to a year.

Source: “ ‘Şaban’la Recep’in aşkına Ramazan engel olamaz’ pankartına hapis istemi!,  May 26, 2016, T24, http://t24.com.tr/haber/sabanla-recepin-askina-ramazan-engel-olamaz-pankartina-hapis-istemi,342253

It was suggested that the banner mocked the months highly revered by Muslims.

According to the daily Posta, the investigation regarding the three suspects who held a banner that read “Ramazan can’t interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love” during the event called LGBTI (Union of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Turkey) Pride March on June 28 last year in Beyoğlu, Istanbul has been completed.

The indictment was prepared by Umut Tepe, a prosecutor from the Bureau of Press Offenses of the Istanbul Office of Chief Public Prosecutor. It lists Mehmet Yalçınkaya, Hasan Emre Okumuş and Davut Karacan as plaintiffs and Hacer K., Muhittin G. and Guris Ö. as suspects. The indictment suggests that the suspects were detected from footage taken at the scene and their statements taken, and claims that it is not possible to accept that liberties are absolutely unlimited.

The indictment expresses that when one liberty breaches upon another liberty it results in the restriction of the said liberty: “The constitution states that the freedom of expression is unlimited to the extent that it does not breach upon the freedom of religion and conscience, it indicates the necessity for the respect of those who do not believe (in a religion) for those who believe in various religions, as well as for the respect of those who believe for those who do not.”

“They have mocked the months which are highly revered by the Muslims”

The indictment stresses that Recep, Şaban and Ramazan are deemed the “three months” that symbolize a spiritually important time and indicates that the significance of these months are expressed by phrases such as “Sacred Three Months” and “Sultan of Eleven Months”, an expression used for the month of Ramadan. The indictment states “It is known by everyone that [these] three months are crucially important for Muslims”.

“In spite of this, the banner opened by the suspects during the march organized under the name of ‘Pride March’ which read ‘Ramazan can’t interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love’ mocks the months revered by the Muslims” the indictment continues, stating that the suspects are denigrating the religious values adopted by a certain part of the public.

They will each stand trial for imprisonment up to a year

The prosecution demanded a sentence of imprisonment from six months to a year for each of the three suspects, on the charges of “deliberately denigrating the religious values adopted by a certain part of the public”. The indictment was approved by the Office of Chief Prosecutor and accepted by the Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance. The three suspects are to stand in trial in October.

* Translator’s Note: Ramazan, Şaban and Recep are Turkish names for the three sacred months of Islam, Ramadan, Sha’ban and Rajab. These names are also given as male names in Turkey, hence the pun.

Transphobic Murder in Çorlu

In Çorlu, offender F.T. stabbed and killed Aleda, a trans sex worker with whom he engaged in a fight. F.T. admitted the murder in the cab he took.

Source: “Çorlu’da Transfobik Nefret Cinayeti” (“Transphobic Murder in Çorlu”), Pembe Hayat, 20 March 2016, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1032#.Vu7WLKVvJdk

The transphobic murderer and Aleda started fighting in Aleda’s home for mysterious reasons. Subsequently, he stabbed Aleda and fled the crime scene. He then took a cab, with his clothes covered in blood, and told the driver he killed someone. The driver called the cops as soon as he dropped off F.T. Police found Aleda’s dead body at the address provided by the driver. Aleda’s body was taken to Çorlu State Hospital morgue for autopsy.

Security forces found the murderer F.T. in his home and detained him approximately an hour after the incident. F.T. was taken to  Çorlu Police Station, officials announced that investigation continues.

GAP Turkey branch forced a gay staff member to resign

Apparel brand GAP’s Istanbul branch forced a gay staff member to resign, LGBTI organizations in the country made a joint statement to give support to the gay man’s legal struggle.

Source: Kaos GL, “GAP Turkey branch forced a gay staff member to resign”, kaosGL.org, March 17, 2016, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=21318

A gay staff member in one of GAP’s Istanbul branches faced homophobic pressure and was forced to resign. The apparel brand, which supports equality based on sexual orientation in its International Diversity Policy, was put to trial today.

While the attorneys of GAP did not show up in the first hearing, Attorney Eren Keskin representing the young gay man requested that the witnesses be heard and the case has been adjourned until June 7. Many LGBTI activists followed the case.

LGBTI organizations and activists made a joint statement explaining that the staff member had a high performance for 10 years and got many promotions in the international apparel brand.

The statement emphasized that once the sexual orientation of the staff became known, he faced mobbing and sexist remarks such as “be a man”.

“We will keep claiming our rights even in a legal system in which current laws do not recognize us. We will continue with our legitimate struggle nationally and internationally, making our voices even louder.”