AKP

AKP Election Brochure Used 2014 Gay Pride during Ramadan as Example of Tolerance

In the wake of the 2015 General Elections, the Justice and Development Party [AKP or AK Party], Turkey’s ruling party, had issued an election brochure, claiming that the party line is one of tolerance of differences. The brochure had cited the peaceful 2014 Pride Parade as evidence: “Turkey is a country that can hold a Gay Pride on Istiklal Avenue even in the middle of the month of Ramadan. The increased visibility of conservative people does not carry the meaning that there is an intervention to people’s life styles.”

[Left-hand leaflet] People who are not from the AK Party [AKP- Justice and Development Party] and who are not conservative think there is an intervention to their life styles. Do you think you intervene in the life styles of people different than you? [Right-hand leaflet] AK Party has been in power for 13 years. It has solved the problems of the conservative segment, which brought it [the party] to power, only in the last 4 years after it even had to pull through the dangers of party closure. Turkey is a country that can hold a Gay Pride on Istiklal Avenue in the middle of the month of Ramadan. The increased visibility of conservative people does not carry the meaning that there is an intervention to people's life styles. Yes, now there is visibility of more people in head scarves and people who can practice their religion more comfortably because they were under pressure before. AK Party has never had and will never have the intention to intervene in anybody's life style. In the period of 13 years, there has only been a fight for the equality of wronged segments.

AKP’s 2015 General Elections Brochure.

[Left-hand leaflet]

“People who are not from the AK Party and who are not conservative believe that their life styles are being interfered with. Do you think you interfere in the life styles of people who are different than you?”

[Right-hand leaflet]

“AK Party has been in power for 13 years. Within the very first 4 years of its existence, it was able to solve the problems of the conservative segment, which brought [the party] to power, despite having to fight against threats of party closure.

“Turkey is a country that can hold a Gay Pride on Istiklal Avenue even in the middle of the month of Ramadan. The increased visibility of conservative people does not carry the meaning that there is an intervention against people’s life styles.

“Yes, now there is visibility of more people in head scarves and people who can practice their religion more comfortably because they were under pressure before.

“AK Party has never had and will never have the intention to interfere with anyone’s life style. In the period of 13 years, there has only been a fight for the equality of wronged segments.”

It is indeed true that LGBTI Pride Parades took place without incident for 12 years. The number of participants increased each year and the 2014 Pride Parade was attended by an estimated 90.000 people. However, the 13th LGBTI Pride Parade on 28 June 2015 was blocked by the governor and police used tear gas, water cannons, and plastic bullets to disperse the participants. The violence on Pride Parade came after weeks of homophobic statements by leading Justice and Development Party representatives and pro-government, conservative media.

Screenshot of a video where an armed police vehicle, TOMA, hits an LGBTI activist during the 2015 Pride Parade directly and with full force using a pressurized water cannon. Consequences can be deadly.

Screenshot from a video where an armed police vehicle, TOMA, is shown to hit an LGBTI activist during the 2015 Pride Parade directly and with full force using a pressurized water cannon. The cannon is powerful enough to permanently injure and even kill its targets. Source, with Full Video: Funda Eryiğit

Turkey’s Former Minister of Interior: ‘Gay marriage is the destruction of humanity’

The former Minister of Interior and current candidate for parliament running with the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] from Erzurum, opposed gay marriage on TGRT TV News program and said that “the tribe of Lot” was destroyed because of this.

Source: “Efkan Ala da hedef gösterme peşinde: Eşcinsel evlilik insanlığın helakıdır” (“Efkan Ala is also intent on pointing people out as targets: ‘Gay marriage is the destruction of humanity’”), Birgün, 2 June 2015, http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/efkan-ala-da-hedef-gosterme-pesinde-escinsel-evlilik-insanligin-helakidir-82104.html

The former Minister of Interior and current candidate for parliament running with the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] from Erzurum, opposed gay marriage on TGRT TV News program and said that “the tribe of Lot” was destroyed because of this.

Pointing Barış Sulu, the HDP’s Eskişehir LGBTI MP candidate, as a target[1], he said:

“For God’s sake, look at these candidates that the HDP put forth. I can’t even bring myself to say it. They have put forth candidates that our citizen [sic] cannot accept.”

Efkan Ala continued:

“Our Kurdish brothers are religious people. For God’s sake, look at these candidates that the HDP put forth. I can’t even bring myself to say it. They have put forth candidates that our citizen [sic] cannot accept. I mean let me say this, they have put forth a transvestite candidate. They put forth homosexuals as candidates. In its election declaration, the HDP says that these [sic] will be afforded all sorts of rights, of the right of a man to marry and be with a man and of the right of a woman to marry and be with a woman. We are saying that we are against such things on topics that our morality our tradition rejects. What is this, a man marrying a man, a woman marrying a woman. The tribe of Lot was destroyed because of this[1]. That is, this is the destruction of humanity.”


[1] Turkey has a history of political violence, hate crimes, and political assassinations that followed a governmental authority figure and/or mainstream media singling out a person or a group out as rightfully injurable with impunity. -Trans.

AKP’s Yasin Aktay Criticizes the HDP for Gay Candidates

Dr. Yasin Aktay [of Turkey’s ruling party AKP] went after the HDP using its gay candidates and said “it is impossible for Muslim society to affirm man’s marriage to man.”

Source: Suat Bilim, “Prof. Dr. Aktay, Pervari de HDP’ye Yüklendi” (“Dr. Aktay goes after the HDP at Pervari”), Onedio, 30 May 2015, http://onedio.com/haber/prof-dr-aktay-pervari-de-hdp-ye-yuklendi-517675

Yasin Aktay[1], the AKP’s Deputy Chairman and MP candidate for Siirt, spoke to Pervarians as part of his election campaign and, referring to the HDP’s gay candidates, said “it is impossible for Muslim society to affirm man’s marriage to man.”

Aktay, who told that his party’s candidate list also includes candidates of Armenian, Alevi, and many other backgrounds and that the AKP is the party for all sects living in this country, said:

“But if talk about we the Kurds and fill your [candidate] list with elements [sic] that Kurds cannot accept, they will ask you who are you [sic]. Above all you are a child of the Muslim and Kurds are Muslim and if Muslims has three homosexual people, people who defend men’s marriage with men in their list, I will ask you who are you [sic]. You are not one of us we do not recognize man’s marriage with man. And I do not know a Kurd who will accept something like this. They were saying that the Turkish State assimilated Kurds but there exists no bigger assimilation than this. You have transformed the Kurd’s [sic] belief and language into something else and now will you change the Kurd’s [sic] sexuality too? Firstly the Kurdish society is a Muslim society. It is impossible for the Muslim society to affirm man’s marriage to man.”

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[1] Yasin Aktay is AKP’s Foreign Affairs Deputy Chairman. According to his profile at AKP’s website, he received his PhD from METU’s Department of Sociology in 1997 and is currently employed at Yıldırım Beyazıt University’s Department of Sociology. He was previously seen on a leaked video clip from May 2015, claiming that Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency was carrying weapons to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). -Trans

Our Governmental Authorities and Lesbians

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made a statement to imply that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has very little chance of passing the election threshold [and thus of getting elected in the parliament]. He said, “… additionally, the HDP received votes from different under-represented groups. That is, it was voted for by electoral groups such as lesbians, bisexuals, trans who say ‘I cannot find an opportunity to be represented in other parties’.” The comment was made in January 2015.

Since his goal was to portray the HDP as an unelectable political party in the eyes of his constituents, could there be a reason why the word “lesbian” was more seductive to him than the word “homosexual?”

(more…)

Deputy Prime Minister claims lesbians [and Kurds] not part of society!

Discriminatory claims by Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan:

“The HDP [general elections] declaration mentions Kurds 8 times, lesbians 9 times. Is this the Turkish society?”

Yalcin Akdogan

Yalçın Akdoğan

Kaos GL, “Başbakan Yardımcısı, lezbiyenlerin [ve Kürtlerin] toplumun parçası olmadığını iddia etti!” [“Deputy Prime Minister claims lesbians [and Kurds] not part of society!”], 23 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19254

With the approach of the general elections [in Turkey], the forcefulness of the disputes among politicians began increasing. In the meantime, homophobia is in the foreground in the government’s “criticisms” against opposition parties.

While the AKP government has taken no constructive steps towards resolving issues pertaining to discrimination, hate crimes, and rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, its representatives continue producing discriminatory, homophobic, and transphobic commentary.

According to a news release by the [semi-official] Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan evaluated HDP’s general elections declaration during an AKP District Advisory Council meeting at the Elmadağ Public Education Center.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan claimed that HDP’s general elections declaration is not representative of the Turkish society, claiming:

“[They declare] ‘I will abolish religion courses, I will abolish the [Directorate of] Religious Affairs, I will abolish this and that,” they supposedly will recognize the Armenian genocide. You, how will you be a Turkish [political] party? They mention Kurd [sic] 8 times in their declaration and 9 times lesbians and stuff. Is this the Turkish society?”

HDP reacts to AKP parliamentarian Uçma, who declares that homosexuality can be prevented

Source: “Eşcinsellik önlenebilir” buyuran AKP’li Uçma’ya HDP’den tepki”, (“HDP reacts to AKP parliamentarian Uçma, who declares that “homosexuality can be prevented””), KaosGL.org, 01 February 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18613

Public morality, honor and customs of which Uçma speaks mean violence, pressure and death for LGBTIs and women.

HDP Women’s Coordination and HDP LGBTI Coordination condemned the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentarian İsmet Uçma’s words, which include discrimination against women and LGBTIs, in a common statement.

The statement of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is as follows:

The AKP Istanbul parliamentarian İsmet Uçma’s speech at the The Turkish Parliament’s (TBMM) Investigation Commission of Violence against Women is trying openly to legitimize discrimination against women and LGBTIs and the violence resulting from this discrimination. We learned about this from the assembly protocol which appeared in the media.*

The AKP Istanbul parliamentarian İsmet Uçma had also recently stated that “the neighborhood must claim its honor in violence against women” and he said to women that “if you were physically strong enough you would beat up men more than they beat you.” Besides, İsmet Uçma described male violence as “temporary rage” and said he does not approve the suspension of men from their home when they are in temporary rage. Many women are being killed under the caption of “honor” in this country and such advice from Uçma for avoiding violence against women in real life is not only not universal but it is also shameful. The best thing that the member of “Investigation Commission of Violence against Women” can do is maybe to deprive women of his stroke of genius. We do not approve that men put in an appearance in this commission and make decisions instead of women.

İsmet Uçma’s words about LGBTIs which are written in the protocol include discrimination, as well. Uçma, while stating that they don’t have any statistical information about the LGBTIs who are exposed to violence, also stated that they wish that homosexuality in society and even in humanity wouldn’t exist and that it can be prevented by propaganda. Uçma describes the existence of LGBTI as an “adverse sexuality preference” and as danger. Please be reminded that homosexuality is not a choice but an orientation. Whether Uçma likes it or not LGBTIs will exist in every field of life. Beyond any doubt, what is “adverse” according to Uçma is described within the frame of public morality, honor, customs and the norms that are located around these “values”. And all of these mean violence, pressure and death for women and LGBTIs.

What is dangerous and must not become widespread is the heterosexist, sexist and conservative mentality that is so openly demonstrated by Uçma. It is the monist opinion which desires everyone to be like himself and doesn’t respect the sexual identity of people.

We, as the women and LGBTIs of HDP condemn the AKP Istanbul parliamentarian İsmet Uçma’s statement that openly includes discrimination against women and LGBTIs and we expect an immediate apology from him. This attitude that is so distant from the responsibilities of a parliamentarian who is a member of the “Investigation Commission of Violence against Women” makes us once again question how safe we are as women and LGBTIs.

Contrary to the world that Uçma imagines, we will persistently pursue our struggle for women and LGBTIs rights and freedoms in order for them to live equally and freely.

*Translator’s Note: The relevant quote from İsmet Uçma:

We would not desire it but dear friends, we would wish that these things would not exist in our society, in humanity but we do not have any statistical information regarding events related to adverse sexuality preferences. It can this or that, it can be accepted or not accepted but it’s a fact of society. I find this important because: There are methods and means to prevent this, there can be suggestions for solutions that can be produced through our own codes different from the world. At least, its spread can be prevented if it does not come from society, meaning from birth and their human rights should also be protected. But we do not have any work or statistics on this. I think that at least, perhaps education or discourse can stop these facts of propaganda, reclamation, and promotion.

Black Pink Triangle Izmir Association Meets Justice and Development Party Representatives

Source: Eda Ebru Naneci, “AK Parti’den eşcinsel açılımı”, (“LGBT Initiative of the AK Party”), egemeclisi.com, 21 January 2015 , http://egemeclisi.com//politika/55300/ak_parti_den_escinsel_acilimi

Siyah Pembe Üçgen (Black Pink Triangle) Izmir Association, a homosexual organization, visited AK Party (Justice and Development Party) Public Relations Vice President Lütfi Tuna in his offices at the Ak Party Izmir Provincial Department.

As a part of their visits and meetings with non-governmental organizations, associations and political parties, the Black Pink Triangle Izmir Association of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies and Solidarity Against Discrimination organised a meeting with Vice President of Public Relations of the Ak Party in Izmir. Meeting the members of LGBTI (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex) association Black Pink Triangle in AK Party Izmir Provincial Department, Tuna said, “They took this step and we are glad. We welcomed them in our party.”

Our door is wide open

Tuna, saying that they talked in a casual manner during their visit: “If our party’s executive council takes decisions and plans projects, we will announce them in the following periods. They did not have any demands from our party. We just got to know each other. These are important activities. Our party welcomes all sections of society. Our doors are wide open to all people.”

We listened to them and took the necessary notes…

Tuna emphasized that they talked about problems experienced by many sections of society and added that the state and the nation have the power to act on this. Tuna said, “They shared with us the problems they experience. The problems they mention are common problems of most parts of the society. We will definitely take actions regarding these problems. Our state and our nation are strong enough to do this. We will try to do what is necessary. We have the congress ahead and these issues will be talked in more detail after the congress. They talked about the projects our Government carries out with the European Union. They told us about the problems they experience. And we listened and took the necessary notes. This was an introductory meeting,” said Tuna.