State of Emergency

14 LGBTI Organizations’ Response to the State of Emergency

14 LGBTI organizations issued a joint press release regarding the recent pressures against the press and democratic politics.

Source: “14 LGBTİ Hareketi’nden ohale karşı bildiri” (“14 LGBTI Organizations’ response to the State of Emergency”), Siyasi Haber, 16 November 2016


14 LGBTI organizations from Ankara, Bursa, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır, Giresun, İstanbul, İzmir and Mersin issued a joint press release regarding the pressures against press and democratic politics.

14 LGBTI organizations reacted to the increasing repression towards dissidence, stating “The ongoing interventions to the media outlets, to HDP, DBP and to the whole realm of politics since November 7 to the latest political coup attempt are unacceptable.”

You can see the full text prepared by 14 LGBTI organizations and the list of signatory organizations below:

Repression towards the social dissidence and arrests

With the declaration of state of emergency following  coup attempt on July 15, the government has increased its repression towards the social dissidence and recently arrested 9 writers and administrators from Cumhuriyet daily, co-presidents and deputies of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as well as the politicians from Democratic Regions Party (DBP).

Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality Co-Mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı were arrested. A trustee was appointed to the municipality.

Cumhuriyet daily’s executive editor Murat Sabuncu, publication supervisor Kadri Gürsel, cartoonist Musa Kart, Cumhuriyet Foundation Board members Önder Çelik, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Güray Öz, Hakan Kara, executive editor for the daily’s literature magazine Turhan Günay are currently imprisoned.

HDP Co-Presidents Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş and deputies Gürsel Yıldırım, Ferhat Encü, İdris Baluken, Selma Irmak, Abdullah Zeydan, Leyla Birlik and Nursel Aydoğan were arrested.

Sebahat Tuncel who was waiting in front of Diyarbakır Courthouse with a group of party members, in order to protest the detention of HDP deputies on Friday in Diyarbakır, was battered and detained with 10 other people. DBP Co-President Sebahat Tuncel has been an advocate for LGBTI rights for years, was arrested after the protest.

The State of Emergency cannot be an excuse to suspend human rights

Extended duration of detentions and torture have become prevalent more than ever. In prisons and on streets, police force’s pressure is threatening our lives and our fundamental human rights.  

Freedom of press, that is targeted following the recent decrees through shutting down of newspapers, televisions, magazines and radios, Cumhuriyet newspaper in particular, and democratic politics that is targeted particularly through MPs of HDP and DBP [main opposition parties — trans.] are fundamental human rights. We, the LGBTI organizations whose names are listed below, would like to remind once again that the state of emergency cannot be an excuse to suspend human rights.

With over twenty years of organized struggle, we defended human rights unconditionally. We emphasize that the system, which is trying to assimilate us by destroying all of our ethnic, cultural, religious and sexual differences and hence kill us, should change. Following the recent events, we issue a call for fight once again.

We continue our struggle in spite of the ones trying to wither our colors!

Freedom of press and free politics are irrevocable pillars of democracy.  Antidemocratic and tyrannizing practices, arrests, torture, judicial factors, shutting down of newspapers are as a whole a threat to all of us. Social peace, equality, freedom and justice are our only option. Recently, the practices issued by the government are destroying this option, along with the vision and possibility to coexist, withering all colors of the rainbow and condemning us to a gloomy gray.

We will continue our struggle in spite of the ones trying to wither our colors. Together we will overcome the pressure of the State of Emergency and associated decrees. We, people of all sexual orientations, sexual identities, communities, beliefs, ethnicities and genders  are more populous!

The practices that took place between November 7 and the recent coup-attempt; the interferences to the press, to HDP and DBP and all political sphere, are unacceptable. We demand an immediate end to detentions and arrests!

Signatory organizations in alphabetic order:

Çanakkale LGBTİ İnisiyatifi, Flu Baykuş, Genç LGBTİ+ Derneği, Gökkuşağı Giresun, Hêvî LGBTİ Derneği, İstanbul LGBTİ Dayanışma Derneği, Kaos GL Derneği, Keskesor Amed LGBTİ, Lambdaistanbul LGBTİ Dayanışma Derneği, LGBTİ Aileleri ve Yakınları Grubu (LİSTAG), Mersin 7 Renk LGBTİ, Özgür Renkler LGBTİ Derneği, Pembe Hayat, SPoD.

Turkey’s state-run news agency story on Lawyer Levent Piskin

A magazine in Germany asked for a message to Europe and Germany from the HDP’s Co-President Demirtas through a lawyer who would visit him in prison for the purposes of propaganda.

Source: Uğur Ulu, “Alman dergisi propaganda için Demirtaş’tan mesaj istemiş”, (“German magazine asked for a message from Demirtas for propaganda”), Anadolu Agency, 12 November 2016,

It has been found that a magazine in Germany asked for a note from the HDP’s (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Co-President Selahattin Demirtas for propaganda in Europe and Germany.

According to information gathered by Anadolu Agency reporter, the Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the detention of lawyer C.K. who has been tracked for a while in relation to the investigation on terror organization PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

C.K., a lawyer in Bursa, was detained by the Provincial Police Headquarters Anti-Terror Unit in the morning on Monday, 7 November.

It has been learned that C.K. was planning to visit the HDP’s Co-president Demirtas in Edirne F Type Prison where he has been imprisoned and that C.K. announced this to some administrators.

It has been recorded that lawyer L.P., who is an administrator in the HDP’s Istanbul district presidency, contacted C.K. upıon finding out that C.K. would visit Demirtas and informed him of the German magazine’s request.

It has been determined that the German magazine requested “a handwritten note by Demirtas, with a message addressing Europe and Germany.” for propaganda purposes.

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Committee on Lawyer and Activist Levent Piskin’s detention 

Levent Pişkin, an activist of LGBTI+ movement, Pride Week volunteer, an active member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Derneği – ÖHD) and a human rights advocate, was detained illegally after a raid to his home.

Levent Pişkin, previously sued by the President on an insult case, has always continued his solidarity with our friends, actively struggling against all policies of repression and intimidation, with his open LGBTI identity.

We have recently been witnessing a witch hunt against all opposition groups in the disguise of combatting the network of Fethullah Gulen known as the Fethullah Gulenist terror organization (FETO), which is blamed by the government for masterminding the 15 July failed coup. Earlier this month, the co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party or HDP were arrested along with eight other parliamentarians on terror-related charges. Last Friday, the Ministry of Interior announced the shut down of 370 associations with alleged links to terror groups; among them were associations fighting for the rights of women, children and LGBTI+.

Levent Pişkin was detained after being targeted by pro-government media through stories that claimed “a German magazine” would write “propaganda” on behalf of arrested HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş. This detention is an extension of the attacks against the client-attorney relationship and the right to be defended by a lawyer. Neither the meeting of a lawyer with his/her client nor explaining these meetings to local or foreign press constitutes a criminal act!

This illegal practice of investigation and detention is a deliberate violation of the right to defense and to fair trial.

We call upon all those who resist, to come together and to speak out more.

Levent Pişkin is not alone, we will be following the judicial process!

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee

LGBTI Activist Lawyer Levent Pişkin detained in Turkey

One of the attorneys of recently arrested HDP Co-Leader Selahattin Demirtaş was detained after being targeted by the pro-government media.

Editor’s Note: The co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested along with eight other parliamentarians in November. HDP is the third largest party in Parliament with 59 elected lawmakers. The lawmakers were arrested on terror-related charges pending trial. Turkey’s government accuses the HDP of being the political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decades-long insurgency against the state. The party rejects the accusation.

Source: “LGBTI Aktivisti Avukat Levent Pişkin Gözaltına Alındı” (LGBTI Activist Lawyer Leven Pişkin is detained),,, November 14, 2016

Levent Pişkin, who is a lawyer, LGBTI activist and an HDP Istanbul administrator, had recently visited HDP Co-Leader Selahattin Demirtaş in prison and was detained early this morning.


Special operations police units arrived at Pişkin’s house in Kurtuluş, Istanbul around 05.00 a.m and confiscated some of Pişkin’s belongings from his room after detaining him.

Pişkin, a member of Libertarian Jurists Association (ÖHD), which is among the 370 associations ordered to halt their activities, is a renowned human rights advocate. ÖHD announced Pişkin’s detention on Twitter:


Libertarian Jurists Association Istanbul Branch: “Our member, HDP Istanbul administrator Lawyer Leven Pişkin was detained during early morning, after being targeted by the pro-government media.”

Pişkin had visited his client Demirtaş as a lawyer and was targeted by Sabah daily (sourcing state-run Anadolu news agency) with the following statements:

It has been recorded that lawyer L.P., who is an administrator in the HDP’s Istanbul district presidency, contacted C.K. upıon finding out that C.K. would visit Demirtas and informed him of the German magazine’s request.

It has been determined that the German magazine requested “a handwritten note by Demirtas, with a message addressing Europe and Germany.” for propaganda purposes.

Levent Pişkin was detained by the orders of Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office and is being taken to Bursa.

Lawyer C.K. was detained based on the same allegations on November 7 and was later released.

Lawyer Levent Pişkin also represents LGBTI associations and takes part in Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee. He represents Istanbul Pride March and Pride Week.