From “their rights must be legally protected” to the prevention of inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the constitution and to directly targeting LGBTI through references to “the tribe of Lot”… Here is the LGBTI history of the AKP from 2001-2015.
Source: 2001’den 2015’e AKP’nin LGBTI tarihi (“The AKP”s LGBTI history from 2001-2015”), Kaos GL, 2 September 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20109
We summarize the timeline that began in 2001 prior to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) tenure with the view that “legal protections are warranted for gay rights and freedoms.” This view gave way to the approach in the context of constitutional reform debates that said regarding homosexuality: “it is not this century’s problem” and finally we saw homosexuality denounced as immorality.
The Justice and Development Party was founded on 14 August 2001 as a socially conservative Turkish political party. The AKP government followed moderate politics during the first period of their tenure and alleged to pursue a democratic and rights based approach regarding the LGBTI. In response to a question on a television program by Abbas Güçlü, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan replied, “Gays must have legal protections in terms of their rights and freedoms.”
2004: It is unnecessary to add sexual orientation!
The term sexual orientation which was included in the draft of the Turkish Penal Code through the efforts of LGBTI and feminist organizations was removed by the AKP government. The AKP government ended the prospect of preventing discrimination against LGBTI individuals. Cemil Çiçek, Justice Minister at the time, explained the rationale behind removing the term ‘sexual orientation’ from the draft of the Turkish Penal Code presented to the Parliament: “It is unnecessary to add sexual orientation because gender already covers it.”
2006: Wrong sexual preference!
Targeting a Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Dengir Mir Fırat, an AKP MP at the time, said:
He talks as though he has the wrong sexual preference.
2007: Constitutional debates
Burhan Kuzu, Head of the Constitution Commission at the Turkish General Assembly and AKP MP said on 20 October 2007:
There is no such ruling [article banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation] in scientists’ texts. I have not received their letters yet; they will be considered when they are received. But at this point I do not expect the parliament to agree to it. It is presented as freedom, but there is yet no ground for this in Turkey. It does not appear to the kind of demand that would be approved by the Committee and the General Council. It is early for Turkey. The parliament cannot undertake a regulation without societal approval. Moreover no European constitution has it. Once we have the EU constitution we can see what to do.
Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, AKP MP, said on 20 October 2007:
It is difficult for the constitution of 21st century; perhaps it would work for the 22nd century constitution. We have included in the draft what we call the third generation rights such as environmental rights. But this would be a fourth generation right. We have not considered such freedoms, and I doubt they would be accepted. There is no EU Constitution. Neither is there a consensus in Europe on this issue. Society will have to have a longer debate on this.
2008: “An AKP member who makes pledges to Dönmes ”
Columnist Serdar Arsever from the Yeni Akit newspaper published an op-ed about the participation of Zafer Üskül [AKP MP] in a conference organized by Kaos GL in 2008 titled, “International Anti-homophobia Meeting.” In this op-ed, the author described Üskül as “an AKP MP who makes pledges to dönmes” and added:
He participates in the sexual perverts’ meeting! Excuse me…he appears in the meeting of f..ts (sic)!…And that was not enough…He proceeds up to the dais and points to the administration [AKP government] as “the guarantee that they would not be discriminated on the basis of their sexual preferences.’
In response to the concern expressed about the spread of the freedom to wear headscarves to high schools, AKP MP Burhan Kuzu stated:
We have received intense demands from homosexuals about equality and the right to marry as well. Are we going to give these rights because they want them? The public is not ready for this.
(28 January 2008, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/2008/01/28/siyaset/asiy.html)