2015 general elections

Gender Distribution of Candidates in Party Nominations for the 2015 General Elections in Turkey

No Equality, No Justice!

The practice of the 10% election threshold blocks various social groups from being represented in the Parliament and invalidates the voters’ will. Political parties exacerbate the situation by excluding women.

Source: “Eşitlik Yoksa Adalet de Yoktur” (“No Equality, No Justice!”), Kadın Koalisyonu [Women’s Coalition], 19 May 2015, http://www.kadinkoalisyonu.org/yeni/esitlik-yoksa-adalet-de-yoktur/

The practice of the 10% election threshold blocks various social groups from being represented in the Parliament and invalidates the voters’ will. [In this system, political parties that receive less than 10% of the votes cannot join the parliament. For instance, in 2002, as a result of numerous parties failing to pass the threshold, more than 40% of the electorate (14+ million) ended up not being represented in the parliament. Instituted following the military coup of 1980, the threshold was and still is routinely used against parties that do not follow the traditional state lines such as Kurdish rights, and for a time, Islamists. –Trans.]

Political parties exacerbate the situation by excluding women. Of the 4 parties most likely to pass the threshold, it was only the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] that came close to an equal male-female ratio with 45% women candidates. It was also the HDP that nominated women in all the cities of the nation except 3. [In contrast] The AKP [the ruling party, Justice and Development Party] did not nominate women in 37 cities, CHP [Republican People’s Party] in 41 cities, and MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] in 51 cities. Yet, these are parties that have been in the parliament for years and that have been receiving election funding.

Women are everywhere. Yet women are absent in political party nominee lists! We will give neither our votes nor our affirmation to those parties that do not nominate women! We will vote for those who take steps towards equality, liberty, and justice.

Gender Equality in MP Candidacies

In total, only 26.6% of the candidates are women.

In terms of the percentage of women candidates they nominated for the 2015 General Election, the Communist Party came in 1st with 100%, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) came in second with 45%, and the People’s Liberation Party and Anatolia Party shared the 3rd place with 34% each. Of these political parties, only the HDP has a group in Parliament.


[Among the political parties most likely to pass the 10% threshold, only women nominations by the HDP’s exceeded 20%. HDP is currently not the main opposition party in Turkey.]


[Candidates’ chances of being elected decrease significantly when they are not nominated from the first rank of their party. These chances decrease even more if their name is not included in the second rank. Only 9% of women candidates are nominated for the first list by the CHP, MHP, HDP, and AKP combined (pie chart on the left). 14% are nominated from the second list (pie chart in the middle). 77% of the women candidates, i.e. 402 candidates from the CHP, MHP, HDP, and AKP are nominated from neither the first nor from the second list (pie chart on the right).]


The percentage of women candidates did not to surpass 30% in Turkey’s 72 electoral districts!

Political Parties and Independents Number of Women Candidates Percentage of Women Candidates Total Number of Candidates Number of Electoral Districts
The Right Path Party 86 25.07% 343 56
Anatolia Party 189 34.36% 550 85
Rights and Liberties Party 122 25.26% 483 75
Communist Party 550 100.00% 550 85
Community Party 104 18.91% 550 85
Right and Justice Party 29 19.73% 147 43
Center Party 98 20.25% 484 73
Social Negotiation and Development Party 91 25.93% 351 55
People’s Liberation Party 195 35.45% 550 85
Liberal Democrat Party 86 21.03% 409 58
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 67 12.18% 550 85
People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 249 45.27% 550 85
Peace Party 42 7.64% 550 85
Republican People’s Party (CHP) 107 19.45% 550 85
Justice and Development Party (AKP) 100 18.18% 550 85
Democratic Leftist Party 117 21.27% 550 85
Nation’s [Yurt] Party 67 20.36% 329 56
Democrat Party 76 13.82% 550 85
Nation’s [Vatan] Party 137 24.91% 550 85
Independent Turkey Party 98 17.82% 550 85
Independent Candidates 15 9.09% 165 46
Total 2625 26.62% 9861

On the 2015 General Elections and the Data

The 2015 Parliamentary Election will be conducted in 81 cities, with a total of 85 electoral districts. 20 political parties formally registered 9,696 candidates with the Supreme Committee of Elections, in addition to the 165 registered independent candidates. These candidacies were published in the Supreme Committee of Elections website. In addition to the lack of categorization of candidates by gender in political party websites, the Supreme Committee of Elections itself has no awareness of gender with regards to the nominations. As such, in order to obtain a 99% reliability rate, whenever in doubt, we researched candidates online and attempted to confirm our findings with the limited number of parties that showed the sensibility to share their data with us.


Update 08 June 2015: According to Lambdaistanbul, women obtained 98 parliamentary seats out of the 550 in Turkey’s June 07 2015 General Elections. Accordingly, the rate of representation of women in Turkey’s Parliament increased by %3.5 from the 24th Parliament, elected in 2011, to 17.8%. In contrast, women constituted 49.82% of Turkey’s population according to the 2014 results of the Address Based Population Registration System.


Translator’s Note: The figures provided in this text have been prepared by LGBTI News Turkey volunteers in the course of the Turkish-English translation of the source text for translation purposes using the raw data provided by the source text. These figures are released under a CC-BY-SA license.

CHP’s Murat Karayalçın: “Number of parliamentarians supporting LGBTI rights should increase”

SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere” campaign began with the thought “You don’t have rights if you are not present!” and representatives visited the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul President Murat Karayalçın following their visit to the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Istanbul Co-Spokesperson Ayşe Erdem. Visits to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Justice and Development Party (AKP), etc are to follow.  


Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) has started visiting political parties to inform them of their “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign which aims to make LGBTI rights visible in the general elections. SPoD LGBTI’s first visit was to the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) where they met with Istanbul Co-Spokesperson Ayşe Erdem. Following this visit, they met the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul President Murat Karayalçın.

LGBTI activist Sedef Çakmak who ran in the 2014 local elections for membership in the CHP’s Beşiktaş Municipality Assembly with her lesbian identity and who was recently seated in the assembly talked about how empowering it is to participate in politics without having to hide your identity. She told Karayalçın, “We started the LGBTI in the Parliament campaign with the thought that you don’t have rights if you are not present. All decision-makers need to understand that being LGBTI is not something that needs to be hidden, shamed, treated, or annihilated. We need to actively participate in politics with our open LGBTI identities in order to dispel the negative outlook existing in society and to put forth laws for LGBTI. Just the existence of individuals who are in politics without hiding their identity will result in a quick reduction of prejudices. Only in this way, a real participatory democracy will bloom in society, in the parliament, and in political parties.

SPoD LGBTI representatives aim to start a structure in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey similar to the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights. They emphasized the importance of cooperation among CHP parliamentarians who support LGBTI rights with parliamentarians from different parties. The representatives said they would like CHP’s candidates for parliament to sign the “LGBTI Rights Agreements” and asked for Karayalçın’s support to meet candidates for parliament from Istanbul.

Murat Karayalçın pointed to the importance of the Motion to Investigate LGBTI Problems, which was signed by many CHP parliamentarians. He emphasized the necessity of an increase in parliamentarians who support LGBTI rights. Referring to the “purple flag” project introduced by CHP’s Vice President Veli Ağbaba that awards municipalities which fulifll gender equality criteria, Karayalçın said the practice should also include LGBTI equality. He said, “The speeches of CHP parliamentarians who rally for LGBTIs also support us. We wish for an increase in the number of parliamentarians who openly support our LGBTI friends.

The Political Representation Coordinator Sezen Yalçın of SPoD LGBTI, which has been working on rights violations against LGBTI since 2011, informed Karayalçın of the LGBTI in the Parliament campaign. She said they aim to strengthen the equality and freedom movement through political representation and participation for LGBTIs who are not recognized as equal citizens and whose rights to life, employment, housing, health care, and education are ignored. Yalçın talked about their work on social policy for LGBTIs equal citizenship, to ensure fundamental rights and to combat discrimination. She emphasized the importance of political advocacy for rights movements. Yalçın talked about their annual Politics School which brings together activists, politicians, and academics since 2012. Yalçın also stressed that they maintain an equal distance to all political parties and that the campaign would run independent from parties.

For news and interview requests:


Media Partner İletişim Danışmanlığı

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Hasanpaşa Mahallesi Alibey Sokak Çınar Apt No:2 Kat 2 Daire 9 Kadıköy/İSTANBUL

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LGBTI NEWS TURKEY is the official translation source for SPoD LGBTI’s “In school, at work, in the parliament: LGBTIs are everywhere!” campaign, which is endorsed by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).  

From Lynching and Attacks to the Parliament: LGBTI candidates for nomination

LGBTI activists from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) spoke to KaosGL.org and explained why they became candidates for nomination. 
Source: Yildiz Tar, “Linç ve saldırılardan Meclis’e: LGBTİ aday adayları” (“From Lynching and Attacks to the Parliament: LGBTI candidates for nomination”), Kaos GL, 4 March 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18882
As general elections approach, candidates for nominations from various political parties are making their declarations. LGBTI activists from the CHP and HDP have announced their candidacies. 
Niler Albayrak and Barış Sulu, two candidates for nomination, came together at “the Politics School” organized by SPoD (Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association). We held the microphone to Albayrak, who is a candidate from the CHP, Istanbul, Third District, and Sulu from the HDP, Eskişehir. We asked them what they would like to do if they are elected to the Parliament and why they became candidates for nomination.
Barış Sulu and Niler Albayrak

Barış Sulu and Niler Albayrak


LGBTI activist candidate for nomination from HDP: Peace must also be made with the LGBTI in the Resolution Process

LGBTI activist Barış Sulu became a candidate for nomination from the HDP last week in Eskişehir for the general elections. Sulu spoke with kaosGL.org about the political representation of LGBTI people and the [Kurdish peace] resolution process.

Source: Omer Akpinar, “LGBTİ aktivisti HDP’den aday adayı: Çözüm sürecinde LGBTİ’lerle de barışılması gerekiyor” (“LGBTI activist candidate for nomination from HDP: Peace must also be made with the LGBTI in the Resolution Process[1]”), Kaos GL, 2 March 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18855

How did you decide to run for the June 7th general elections?

First of all, I am somebody who thinks that the LGBTI people need to be interested/involved in politics. Boysan Yakar, Sedef Çakmak, and Tuna Şahin’s assuming of municipal positions in the aftermath of local elections made me more hopeful. I thought another step was now needed. Therefore in order for different things to be talked about, subjects must articulate themselves.


Trans pre-candidate for nomination from the CHP: I am in this race to get our rights once and for all

Trans activist Niler Albayrak submitted her pre-candidacy for the CHP for the 2015 general elections. During our interview, Albayrak said: “I became a member of the Human Rights Association[1] for Istanbul in 1987. My struggle started back in those days. I really wanted to fight for the oppressed, the othered, and especially LGBTIs.”

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “CHP’den trans aday adayı: Haklarımızı sonuna kadar almak için bu yarıştayım” (“Trans pre-candidate for nomination from the CHP: I am in this race to get our rights once and for all”), Kaos GL, 24 February 2015, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18826


Albayrak became a pre-candidate for nomination with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Istanbul 3. District for the 2015 general elections. She explains her reasons for nomination as: “I am especially familiar with the fact that trans sex workers are subjected to discrimination immensely. Hence I decided that the best place to fight against this was the parliament.”

“We established a great communication with the CHP Secretary General”

Though Albayrak was a candidate for the HDP Avcılar Municipality Assembly Candidate from March 30, 2014 [local elections], she was not elected because the party did not pass the 10 percent election threshold. Albayrak, who decided to try her luck with the CHP, recounted the party’s approach towards her and her meeting with Gürsel Tekin, the CHP’s Secretary General:

“We established a great communication during our meeting with Gürsel Tekin. Our talks progressed well. CHP parliamentarians such as Veli Ağbaba, Gürsel Tekin, Binnaz Toprak, Aylin Nazlıaka, and others are now declaring that LGBTIs should be represented in the parliament. But of course this is a personal thing. The CHP’s perspective in the 25th term seems to have improved in comparison to the previous terms. That is the impression I get.”

“Just because a parliamentarian is trans does not mean they will defend only trans rights!”

However, there are negative comments regarding her nomination:

“Reader feedback does include commentary against trans or gay parliament members. However, I think they have not yet learned what it means to be human. That is because they cannot understand that a trans parliamentarian will not focus solely on trans rights, or that a woman parliamentarian will not focus solely on women’s rights, or that a heterosexual parliamentarian will not focus solely on heterosexual rights.”

“I am not the first; I am the third trans candidate for nomination”

Albayrak, who started visiting LGBTI organizations and came by Kaos GL, said “We have to go to the associations, ask for help, and become members. Associations should always be in our lives, since they are official institutions.” Albayrak also corrected recent reports that she was the first trans candidate

“Years ago, Demet Demir became one, then Öykü Özen. I am the third candidate for nomination.”


“LGBTI candidates should be nominated for a suitable line-up to enter parliament”

Albayrak believes that she has a good chance of winning due to the increased visibility of LGBTIs and especially trans women following the March 30 [2014] local elections. And, of course, she underlines party support:

“LGBTI candidates should be nominated [by their party] for a suitable line-up that can enter parliament.”

“‘What was once a dream is now a reality’ means hatred for LGBTIs”

Albayrak criticized the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party], reminding us of President Erdoğan’s statement that “homosexuals too should be provided with legal security within the framework of their rights and freedoms”[2]:

“AKP’s slogan of ‘what was once a dream is now a reality’ became discrimination, hatred, violence, and suicides for LGBTIs.”

“Hopefully we will succeed this time”

Albayrak is waiting for everyone’s support to have an open trans parliamentarian in the parliament:

“LGBTIs are an extremely oppressed and othered group in the Republic of Turkey. I hope we will succeed this time. I anticipate that the associations, all our colleagues, and heterosexual friends too will support us a lot. We will wait and see.”

[1] For more information, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Association_%28Turkey%29 or http://en.ihd.org.tr/.

[2] In 2002, during a TV interview with Abbas Güçlü, Erdoğan stated: “Homosexuals too should be provided with legal security within the framework of their rights and freedoms. We do not think that some of the treatment they are subjected to on some TV channels is humane.” In 2013, Kaos GL initiated a campaign on social media to remind Erdoğan of his own statements. Source: Kaos GL, “17 Mayıs’ta Başbakan Erdoğan’a LGBT’leri Hatırlat!” (“On May 17, remind Prime Minister Erdoğan of LGBTIs”), 16 May 2013, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=14179 (Turkish)