Group that targeted gays in Ankara indicted for Al Qaeda membership

Five suspects who are members of the Young Islamic Defense group are on trial for membership in Al Qaeda after they targeted homosexuals on social media and with posters hanging in the Turkish capital Ankara that said “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot [1], kill the doer and the done both.”

Source: Murat Benli, “Eşcinselleri hedef alanlar ‘El Kaide’den”, Hurriyet, 27 January 2017, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/escinselleri-hedef-alanlar-el-kaideden-40348739

An investigation began after a tip that the ‘Young Islamic Defense’ group targeted homosexuals on social media and hung posters on the streets on 7 July 2015, according to the indictment prepared by prosecutor Velihattin Eldemir.

gencislamimudafaa

PRO-NUSRA FRONT

According to the indictment, this group has supported associations in Ankara that are in contact with groups in war zones organizing aid campaigns for Syria and protests. “It has been determined that [the group] has distributed texts, posters, and brochures in various areas of Ankara and have shared pro-Nusra Front [now Jabhat Fateh al-Sham] posts on social media,” the indictment says.

The group is not an official association and continues its activities via announcements on social media. It has been alleged that the group is connected to Ersin Mirac K who is loyal to pro-Nusra Front and is a ‘radical Salafi’. The indictment says:

‘FIRST CONTACT IS GARIP-DER’

“It is known that the people from our country crossing to so-called jihad areas first contact the association Garip-Der in Istanbul, and cross the border illegally from Hatay’s Reyhanli district by paying smugglers. According to open sources, international powers do not consider the Nusra Front a part of the Free Syrian Army and list it as a terror organization.”

[1] Tribe of Lot refers to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the twin cities which Prophet Lot was sent to with God’s message and were destroyed by God when the community did not reign in its lust. The trope is often used against LGBT communities in the Muslim world.

They injured a trans woman with a pump rifle and forced her home!

In Ankara two men and one woman attacked a trans sex worker with a pump rifle, then forced the wounded trans woman to a house. They then dropped her off at a hospital following a taxi driver’s insistence.

Source: Kaos GL, “Trans kadını tüfekle yaralayıp zorla eve götürdüler!” (“They injured a trans woman with a pump rifle and forced her home!”), 16 January 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22833transfobiksaldirilaradur

A trans woman sex worker suffered an armed attack on Ankara’s Libya Street on the night between January 15 and January 16. The attacker disappeared after injuring the trans woman in the leg with a pump rifle. The trans woman’s treatment at Ankara Numune Hospital is ongoing.

The statement of the trans woman, who was shot in her right leg, was taken towards morning by policemen from the Ankara Çankaya District Police Department, in the room she was staying in, with the participation of Pembe Hayat Association’s lawyer Rıza Yalçın Koçak.

They injured her with a rifle and forced her home!

In a news report from Pembe Hayat, the trans woman who suffered the attack explained what she went through as follows:

“I earn my living by doing sex work. At around 2:30 AM a taxi I didn’t recognize stopped in front of me. They said that they wanted to meet with me. In the vehicle, aside from the taxi driver, there were two men and one woman. The person speaking to me was very drunk. I didn’t accept [the offer to] stay in the car. After this [the individual] got out of the car and shot at my leg with a pump rifle. Then they forced me into the car and brought me to a house. Here, upon seeing that my wound was large and that I had lost an excessive amount of blood, they took me to Numune Hospital at the insistence of the taxi driver. I am filing a complaint and opening a lawsuit against the transphobic attacker, whose name I learned is Uğur, the other man whose name I know to be Aliş, and the woman by their side who was helping them.”

Attackers wanted

Doctors remarked that the trans woman who suffered the attack would undergo treatment for at least 15 days following surgery.

The eyewitness taxi driver was reached thanks to other trans sex workers, and his statement was taken at the Çankaya Police Department. Efforts to catch the attackers are ongoing.

 

Fashion Designer Barbaros Şansal Arrested for Social Media Video

Fashion designer Barbaros Şansal, who was taken into custody following his deportation back to Turkey due to his posts on social media, was arrested by the court he was taken after the prosecutor’s interrogation.

Source: BBC Türkçe, “Modacı Barbaros Şansal tutuklandı” (“Fashion Designer Barbaros Şansal is Arrested”), 3 January 2017, http://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-38496401

Şansal’s attorney Efkan Bolaç announced the arrest warrant on his Twitter account.

Barbaros Şansal’s arrest was demanded under the accusation of “Public incitement for hatred and hostility or insult.”

In his statement to the prosecutor regarding his tweet subjected to the accusations, Şansal said “My purpose here was to draw attention to unjust treatment to which people of three different beliefs are subjected. No discriminatory, hateful and spiteful language is used.”

Doğan Haber Ajansı (DHA) [Doğan News Agency –Trans.] reported that fashion designer Şansal gave the following testimony regarding the aforementioned video:

“I had given an interview to a website called Reportare on 19 October 2015. The headline of this interview was “Drown in your s…, Turkey.” I shared these words in the video as a satire against discrimination. This was followed by insults on the phone by hackers. I have shut down all my accounts and communication because of this. I have no means of communication since January 1, 2017. I do not accept the accusations.”

Attack on Barbaros Şansal on the Airstairs

‘We could not contain our nationalistic feelings’

On the other hand, it has been reported that at least eight more people’s statement were taken regarding the attack Barbaros Şansal was subjected to on Monday evening at Istanbul Atatürk airport.

Among the people whose involvement in the attack were confirmed by their employers are three personnels of the ground crew company TGS [Turkish Ground Services — Trans.] who are now subject to an administrative investigation. It has been reported that total of 12 TGS ground crew were interrogated.

According to reports on Doğan News Agency, one of the suspects delivered the following statement “We could not contain our nationalistic feelings. We shouted. We could not do anything due to the police shield.”

Devlet Hava Meydanları İşletmesi (DHMİ) [State Airports Administration –Trans.] announced that an investigation has been started regarding the attack on the apron. DHMİ’s statement included the following expression: “There is no question of negligence and weakness on our General Administration’s part.”

Akıncı: Lynch attempt should make us all think

Meanwhile, the leader of Northern Cyprus Mustafa Akıncı made a statement on the deportation of fashion designer Barbaros Şansal following the video he shared on social media and the consequent attack at the airport.

Akıncı stated that the deportation decision is based on an earlier decision made by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and added that “Even though, it is impossible to approve of Barbaros Şansal’s sensational discourses, the deportation decision turning into a lynching attempt should make us all think deeply.”

Akıncı continued in his written statement as follows:

“This event may not have taken place in our country. However, I watch the attempts to plant the seeds of hatred, spite and lynch culture in our own country and society with a grave worry. We should not give hate, spite and lych culture a chance.

Law is the foundation of protecting, defining, and expanding the borders of freedom of expression. Lynch culture replacing the law is the biggest enemy of polyphonic democratic pluralist community life. What we need is for pluralist democratic constitutional state and community life to become enshrined, advance and improve; not for lynch culture to replace it.”

Editor’s note: Barbaros Şansal is an openly gay fashion designer and a public figure based in İstanbul.

 

Kaos GL: Lynch Attempt Against Barbaros Şansal is a Hate Crime!

Kaos GL’s statement on Barbaros Şansal’s having become a target and taken into custody, and lynching attempt: Freedom of expression is a legal right, but lynching is a hate crime!

Source: Kaos GL, “Kaos GL: Barbaros Şansal’a linç girişimi nefret suçudur!” (“Kaos GL: Lynch Attempt Against Barbaros Şansal is a Hate Crime!”), 3 January 2017, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22737

barbarossansal

Famous fashion designer Barbaros Şansal was deported from Northern Cyprus because of a post on social media. Şansal, having been sent back to Turkey, was subjected to a lynch attempt at the İstanbul Atatürk Airport.

Şansal was exposed to verbal harassment by a group of men while being taken off the plane by cops. The attackers, who sweared at Şanal in a sexist tone, later surrounded Şansal and beaten him.

The police took Şansal into custody. Attorney Efkan Bolaç announced via social media that Şansal had given testimony in the Police Station and that he will be taken to the prosecutor’s office later today.

[A video recording of the lynch attempt is available on the source website –Trans.]

In the video Şansal shared on social media, he had said “Are you still celebrating the New Year while so many journalists are under arrest, so many children are being harassed or raped, corruption and bribery are over the top, and bigots share crap on the streets together with religious annunciators. Drown in your crap, Turkey.”

In 2012, Şansal was threatened with the words “You will pay for what you wrote and what you did”, and was attacked at Taksim Ayaspaşa.

Kaos GL: We are following the situation worriedly

After the lynch attempt against Şansal, Kaos GL Association shared a press release:

“We follow the updates on fashion designer Barbaros Şansal’s deportation from Northern Cyprus, then being subjected to a lynch attempt at Atatürk Airport and taken into custody with worry. We know the formula of the media’s firsthand targeting of an individual after sharing their opinion on social media  and then being subjected to a lynch attempt under the watch of law-enforcement officers.”

“Our LGBTİ activist friend from Balıkesir, Uğur Bülbül, was arrested in the last days of December because of his posts on social media. As Büber stated in his defense, “Duties of human right activists are  to express when somethings are going wrong and need to be fixed or changed; working for the sake of it and reminding lawmakers of its importance.”

Şansal’s right to life was attacked!

“Barbaros Şansal’s numerous legal rights and freedoms were violated including freedom of expression which is protected under the current Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, and his life was at risk. There are many questions about this step-by-step organized lynch attempt, yet six of these questions should be urgently answered by authorities:

*What are the elements of crime in the video that Barbaros Şansal shared on social media? Which statements are violating which laws, and why?

*Şansal was deported from Northern Cyprus on what grounds?

*Are there any legal actions against mainstream media, including Sabah newspaper, which targeted Şansal using expressions such as “The scum who poured out insults on Turkey ”?

*It is obvious that Şansal has received homophobic insults and was threatened due to his sexual orientation. Are there any legal actions on these insults and threats which form the basis of  hate crimes?

*How did the attackers break into the apron where it is forbidden for everyone except the ground crew due to airport security? What were they doing there?

*It is claimed that most of the attackers are ground crew. If so, is there any legal action against those members of personnel?

Freedom of Expression is a Legal Right, but Lynching is a Hate Crime!

“The response to expressing one’s opinions cannot to be targeted in newspapers, deported, having taken under custody or be the subject of a lynch attempt! The lynch attempt against Barbaros Şansal is a hate crime based on its organized formation and attackers’ expressions. We stand against  every action against the freedom of expression. We condemn the arrest of Uğur Büber due expressing opinions on social media, and Barbaros Şansal being the subject of a lynch attempt and being taken into custody.

We demand that Uğur Büber and Barbaros Şansal are released; and an urgent investigation against the people who targeted Şansal, the attackers and who condoned the attackers be launched.”

 

Doğuş Media Group’s Strange Censoring of National Geographic

Both the headline and cover photo of January 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine, published under Doğuş Media Group in Turkey, were strangely censored.

Source: GZone, “Doğuş Dergi Grubundan National Geographic’e Tuhaf Sansür” ( “Doğus Media Group’s Strange Censor to National Geographic”), 2 January 2017, http://gzone.com.tr/dogus-dergi-grubundan-national-geographice-tuhaf-sansur/

The historic issue, which we had covered earlier on GZone, has  9 year-old trans kid Avery Jackson on the cover and the headline reads “Gender Revolution,” i.e.  “Cinsiyet Devrimi” in Turkish.

Avery Jackson, who is the first trans individual to appear on the cover of the 128 year-old magazine, had  reported having received homophobic insults and threats via social media after the publication of the issue.

national-geographic-1481769673.jpg

Doğuş Media Group, who own the rights of the magazine in Turkey and have been publishing it for the last 17 years, has in a sense censored the cover photo and the headline by mistranslatıng it.

The same issue of the magazine in Turkey did not have the trans kid Avery Jackson on the cover and the headline which should have been translated as  “Cinsiyet Devrimi” [“Gender Revolution” –trans.] was translated as “Cinsiyet Mücadelesi” [“Gender Struggle” –trans] for some reason.

The cover on the Turkish edition of the magazine minimizes the perceived content to heterosexual female and male gender despite content which predominantly addresses LGBTI individuals and the expanding perception of gender.

1397

Şaban and Recep’s love was acquitted

The trial against the activists carrying a banner that reads “Ramazan can’t interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love*” was concluded. The anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia activists were acquitted.

Source: “Şaban’la Recep’in aşkı beraat etti” (Şaban and Recep’s love was acquitted), kaosgl.org, December 27, 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22706

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-00-08-25

The lawsuit was filed with the charges of “deliberately denigrating the religious values adopted by a certain part of the public” (TCK Article 216) against three people carrying a banner that read “Ramazan can’t interfere with Şaban and Recep’s love”, and the second hearing was on December 27. The banner was carried during 2015 Istanbul Pride March, amidst the police assault.

Defendant G.H who was missing at the last hearing and who could not give their testimony, presented their defense at the Istanbul 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance.

In their defense, G.H. indicated that they joined the walk to draw attention to the pressures LGBTIs have to endure and stated “Our intention and our aim was completely peaceful. Police attacked us. After the attack, we continued our walk without any furor. At that moment I saw the banner. I did not know about it. I accompanied as I did not think it included any insult.”

G.H. stressed that the banner did not insult religious values and continued their defense as below:

“The banner is about the love between two months. Therefore there is no insult. In my opinion the complainant is the one who commits the crime of leading the public to rage and hatred because the plaintiff’s attorneys have deliberately stated their discomfort with LGBTI individuals and that the annual and peaceful Pride March leads them to “rage and aggravation”. Such a statement denigrates a certain part of the public.”

The court ruled that the act charged against the defendants was not a crime according to the law and acquitted the defendants.

* 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.

We demand that the government trustee appointed to the Akdeniz Municipality be dismissed and for Yüksel Mutlu to be reinstated

Source: SPoD, “Akdeniz Belediyesi’ne atanan kayyumun kaldırılmasını ve Yüksel Mutlu’nun görevine iade edilmesini talep ediyoruz” (“We demand that the government trustee appointed to the Akdeniz Municipality  be dismissed and for Yüksel Mutlu to be reinstated”), 20 December 2016, http://www.spod.org.tr/turkce/akdeniz-belediyesine-atanan-kayyumun-kaldirilmasini-ve-yuksel-mutlunun-gorevine-iade-edilmesini-talep-ediyoruz/

ff_yuksel_mutlu

Mersin Akdeniz Municipality Co-Mayor Yüksel Mutlu, who signed SPoD’s LGBTI Friendly Municipalities Protocol during the local elections of 2014 and supported our campaign, was taken into custody on December 12, 2016. It was announced that a trustee was appointed to Akdeniz Municipality.

We want to share our concern for the appointment of a trustee to the municipality and for Yüksel Mutlu’s detention. We have known Mutlu by the support she gave to the LGBTI movement, not only during the election period, but also after she was elected.

Akdeniz Municipality is a model local government with its work with 7 Renk [7 Colours –trans.] LGBTI Association and its services for LGBTIs. In particular, after the establishment of the Equality Unit, we look forward to an increase in Akdeniz Municipality’s services and policies in support of LGBTIs. The detention of its elected government and the appointment of a trustee are against the democratic principles.

As SPoD, we believe that the independence and freedom of the local governments should be protected, and thereby the number of exemplary municipalities that offer solutions to LGBTIs’ problems should be increased. Therefore, we demand that the government trustee appointed to the Akdeniz Municipality  be dismissed and that Yüksel Mutlu be reinstated!

20/12/2016

SPoD