Our co-founder and LGBTI rights defender Ali Erol was detained on Friday, Feb. 2 in his Ankara home where he lives with his partner on the grounds of his social media posts. Following his statement to the police and the prosecutor Tuesday, he was sent to the Criminal Court of Peace with a demand that he be put under judicial control. The Fifth Criminal Court of Peace ruled to free him under judicial control.
We could not find the details of this detention and the ongoing investigation due to a confidentiality decision and this is a clear violation of freedom of thought and expression. The detention and investigation of Ali Erol due to his social media posts demanding peace following Ankara governor’s “ban on LGBTI events for an indefinite period” in November 2017 reveals once again the increase in obstacles and pressures against LGBTI rights.
This pressure, detention and investigations against human rights defenders shows how much we need human rights. We once again repeat that everyone needs human rights.
Each year, thousands of human rights defenders are trying to be silence through fabricated or ridiculous reasons that turn into lengthy, costly and mostly unjust judicial processes. The long struggle in the field of human rights shows us that the effect of silencing human rights defenders can be more unnerving and long-lasting than directly putting pressure on those groups. Silencing human rights defenders who work to initiate civil organizations with bravery, who speak up and who are respected through their bravery and work is a powerful tool. Trying to suppress the courage of human rights defenders is a common tactic by those violating rights. Because of this, protecting human rights defenders is a fundamental area of work for human rights organizations across the World today. Because fear is as contagious as courage and fear can only be beaten by standing with courage.
Kaos GL Association
Editor’s note: Judicial control in Turkey usually entails going to the police station periodically and a ban on traveling abroad.
LGBTI activist Ali Erol, a member of the initial team to begin publishing Kaos GL magazine in 1994 and one of the founders of Kaos GL, was detained in a police operation on the house he shares with his life partner Friday morning.
While there was no clear information on the grounds for Ali Erol’s detention, the lawyers said his social media posts were included in the detention warrant. The detentions of many people in Ankara police operations due to social media posts has been reported.
Detained Ali Erol is a leading LGBTI activist in the world and was the recipient of the David Kato Vision & Voice Award in 2013.
The detention of Erol, a leading activist in the LGBTI movement, once again shows the point freedom of expression has come to in Turkey. Erol’s detention following Ankara governor’s “ban on LGBTI events for an indefinite period” in November 2017 reveals once again the increase in obstacles and pressures against LGBTI rights.
Our lawyers are following the judicial process. We will continue sharing as we learn details.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. LGBTI rights are human rights. We demand that one of our founders, LGBTI activist Ali Erol be immediately released!
Kaos GL Association
Editor’s note: Hundreds of people have been detained on alleged terror propaganda charges on social media relating to Turkey’s cross-border operation on a Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria. The Turkish military and allied Syrian opposition forces are fighting the People’s Protection Units or YPG in Afrin. Turkey considers the YPG a terror group and an extension of the Kurdish insurgency within its own borders. The YPG is also a key ally of the United States in combatting the Islamic State group in Syria. Operation Olive Branch was launched on Jan. 20 and the Turkish government has cracked down on critical opinions of the military offensive.
In the panel hosted by the Education and Science Workers’ Union’s (Eğitim-Sen) Sixth Universities Branch in Istanbul last weekend, Ali Erol talked about the historical aspects of the discourse on sin, crime, and sickness; Remzi Altunpolat said, “Looking like the majority is presented as a virtue. LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex) students in the education system are made out to be bad, seductive, exogenous, and harmful;” and psychologist Yasemin Şafak said, “LGBTI kids grow up under siege.” This event was co-hosted by the Pink Life and Kaos GL associations within the Rainbow Coalition Against Discrimination Project.
Kaos GL and the Education and Science Workers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) co-hosted a discussion “Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Education” at Eğitim-Sen’s Sixth Universities Branch in Istanbul.
Source: Kaos GL, ““LGBT’lerin Anayasal Eşitlik Talebi Temel İnsan Hakları Meselesidir,” (“LGBT People’s Demand for Constitutional Equality is a Fundamental Human Rights Issue,”) Kaos GL, 04 December 2013, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15323
The Ankara Bar Association and Kaos GL Association organized a panel in the Ankara Bar Association’s Education Center on “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality in the Constitution” on 29 November 2013.
The panel was moderated by Gökhan Candoğan, a member of the the Ankara Bar Association Administration. Constitutional Court member Professor Engin Yıldırım and Kaos GL Association’s attorney Hayriye Kara participated as speakers.