Alperen Ocakları

Bianet: The defendant who threatened LGBTIs and his lawyer do not show up in court

Trial began today for Alperen Ocakları Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican, who made a call for violence directed at Pride Week participants. Neither Mican nor his lawyer attended the hearing. 

Alperen Ocakları (Alperen Hearths) are a far-right ultranationalist and Islamist youth group linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP).

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Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “LGBTİ’leri Tehdit Eden Sanık da, Avukatı da Mahkemeye Gelmedi,” Bianet, 18 May 2017, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/186590-lgbti-leri-tehdit-eden-sanik-da-avukati-da-mahkemeye-gelmedi

The first hearing of a trial leveled at the Alperen Hearths’ Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican for his threatening calls directed at Pride Week participants last year took place in the Kartal Judiciary’s 44th Penal Court.

Defendant in the trial Mican and his lawyer did not attend the hearing, but six people who were Alperen Hearths members and wore BBP badges came to observe the hearing. After six observers from Alperen Hearths entered the courtroom, only six people from [a group of] LGBTI rights advocates were let into the courtroom.

A decision was issued to forcibly bring to court Mican, who did not have justification for not attending the hearing.

Eight lawyers were at the ready for the trial, in which the Istanbul LGBTI Association, the Human Rights Association (IHD) and representatives from community centers joined as complainants.

The next hearing will take place on 5 October at 13:30.

Mican is being tried for the crime of “incitement of animosity and hostility or contempt” (Turkish Penal Code 216 / 1.2).

Defendant who made calls for violence had been tried before for torture

While saying that discrimination against LGBTI individuals was wrong, lawyer Eren Keskin emphasized that in the European Court of Human Rights, the only and most indicative criteria for speech constituting a crime is making calls for violence.

Keskin, while reminding [the court] that the defendant had been tried previously for torturing a person for eight days, demanded that Mican be held pending trial.

While saying that the calls for arrest were rejected at this stage, the court issued a decision to bring Mican to court forcibly for the next session. Mican did not have justification for not attending the hearing.

“A threat not only to LGBTI [individuals], but to all citizens”

Rozerin Seda Kip, one of SPoD LGBTI’s lawyers, requested to intervene in the case. Kip, who emphasized that SPoD [a non-governmental LGBTI organization in Turkey] had 400 LGBTI members, said that they had another file in which they were complainant against the defendant that was in the investigation stage.

Kip, who spoke to Bianet, explained that while the chief judge asked all complainants who gave statements, “Are you LGBTI?” the defendant’s calls were violent and a threat to not only LGBTI [individuals], but to all citizens in the country.

Kip said the following: “We remember the experiences of Pride Week like yesterday. We will pursue this trial. Many of our lawyer friends joined this trial. There will be even more of us in the next hearing.”

What happened?

Last year, prior to the 7th Istanbul Trans Pride March planned for June 19 and the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March planned for June 26, a number of groups such as the Anatolian Muslim Youth and Alperen Hearths spread threatening messages and called for attacks of the marches.

While Alperen Hearths put together a press meeting in Üsküdar on June 14 at 22:30, [their] Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican said that if the government did not block the marches, Alperen Hearths would block them as “representatives of the deep nation.”

On June 17, the Istanbul Governorship announced that it would not “give permission” to either one of the marches.

Istanbul LGBTI, the Human Rights Association (IHD), SPoD LGBTI, and the Pride Week Committee alongside individual activists turned to prosecution and filed a criminal complaint about the threats directed at the marches and the Governorship’s decision to ban the marches.

In the criminal charge prepared for Alperen Hearths Istanbul Provincial Chair Kürşat Mican, it is requested that Mican be punished for the crime of “incitement of animosity and hostility or contempt” (Turkish Penal Code 216 / 1.2).

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Committee Files Criminal Complaint Against Hate Speech Groups and Applies to Overturn Governor’s Ban on Pride March

Dear Members of the Press,

On June 20, at Çağlayan Courthouse at 11:00, we filed a criminal complaint against groups such as Muslim Anatolian Youth, Alperen Hearths Foundation, Tembihname, Özgür-Der, and the Greater Union Party (BBP) for their hate speech and threatening statements that targeted us. Since we do not have a legal personality as the Pride Week Committee, we filed the complaint as individual members of the committee and the Lambdaistanbul Association.

Lawyer and activist Levent Pişkin spoke on behalf of the Pride Week Committee and stated:

“We think that prosecutors, especially press prosecutors, should start an investigation on the matter on its own initiative as there is more than one type of crime. The declarations include offenses such as targeting LGBTI+s, instigating crime, discrimination, instigating the public to rage and animosity, insult and obstruction of democratic rights. The governorate’s ban against the march, using these threats as an excuse, is not only against European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence and international conventions but also national laws and the the constitution. We will file the criminal complaint and follow up. We will continue our struggle and stand up for our rights against those who target the LGBTI+s, deem them deserving of death and instigate hate.

Against the decision of the governorate, we will open a lawsuit today (June 20) at the Administrative Court with an urgent request demanding a stay in the execution of the decision of banning next week’s march. We hope that there will be a verdict to stop the execution without further ado. There are similar cases in ECtHR cases regarding Georgia and Russia. There were also threats by certain faith groups against the LGBTI+, governorate bans against marches in these cases, and police attacks against LGBTI+s, which we have also attached these cases on our complaint.”

Anyone who wishes to can sign the complaint and submit it to the prosecutor’s offices.

Last week, Istanbul LGBTI Association and Human Rights Association filed another criminal complaint against these groups.

You can find the criminal complaint below.

(more…)

Far-right Alperen Group Says It will Stop Pride No Matter What

The Alperen Hearths are a far-right ultranationalist and Islamist youth group linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP). On Wednesday, the Alperens made a press statement on Trans and LGBTI Pride Marches and said “We will never, ever allow their immorality”. The full translation of their press statement is below.  

Source: http://m.haberler.com/alperen-ocaklari-baskani-mican-lgbt-onur-8528393-haberi/

As you know, the nature of the marches LGBT are planning to hold in Taksim on 19 and 26 June are contradictory to our nation’s national and moral structure and traditions. We will never, ever allow such Immorality, like this march that is called “honor” but really it is immoral, that touch the nation’s nerves, to be normalized or encouraged. 

We warn those who use the names Recep, Şaban, and Ramadan, the months we accept as holy, and try to be funny: they should not shed their clothes to shamelessness with saying things about our nation’s sensitivities with such fantasies. I’ll remind you this quote from Ziya Pasha for those who make fun of our moral values and surpass boundaries: “Those who do not settle down with advice should be scolded, those who do not settle down with scolding and advice should be beaten”.

Viewing the organization of this march as tolerance should not lead to social corruption and moral collapse with the creation of new genders using alternatives letters for our daughters and sons. This is not a reaction to anyone’s personal life or personal crimes. Ordering good is to abolish the bad.

State officials who allow this immorality and daring, who give way, who close their eyes and ears, we invite you to serve to end this immorality. Otherwise, we Alperens, the deep nation’s representatives, will not allow these immoral people’s fantasies in these lands left to us by our ancestors who paid a heavy price. Otherwise, our response will be very clear and harsh. We are announcing this to the public. And we are calling on all our brothers and sisters in religion. We will meet in Taksim Square on Sunday 16 June [sic] at 15:00 and Sunday 26 June at 15:00. We will never, ever allow their immorality.

They keep doing the same thing on this holy month and make fun of us by completely discounting our values. With God’s permission, we will not allow this. We invite you to Taksim Square to say “stop” to this immorality together. We will directly stop the march. We will face up to anything. There is nothing to do here. We will somehow not allow them to march. They can meet somewhere and do whatever they want but on this holy month of Ramadan, on this holy day, we absolutely do not want them to march with no clothes on, naked, on our country’s holy lands. That’s why we will not allow them. In a country where 99% of our people is Muslim, it is absolutely not possible for us to allow such vileness and immorality.

Our state should be saying “stop” this by considering our national values. Because this is not normal. This freedom is not a normal freedom. What they want is not a normal freedom. This is the Republic of Turkey. Our holy ancestors left us these lands for safe custody. We, especially the Alperen youth, will not allow people to walk without dresses, without tops in these lands.

We have made a press statement now. We are giving a warning. We have told the public. We have announced it ahead of time. We are not responsible for whatever that happens after this because the state needs to consider and take seriously that its people are 99% Muslim, its religion is Islam, and its national values. If the state ignores this and says “yes, go”, on a day of Ramadan, and allow 5000 people to march naked with whiskey, champagne, alcohol in their hands, then we will not allow it. Either the state will do what is necessary or the Alperens will.

Update, 16 June 2016

Spokesperson Küşat Mican spoke on RS FM’s “Bidebunudinle” program and made the following comments:

Source: Kaos GL, “Alperenler: “Biz Taksim’de sopalarla kovalayalım demedik”,” 16 June 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21877

We warned this group before, we warned the friends, we sent representatives. We are a Muslim Turkish nation, 99% of our people are Muslim. Yes, we need to live with tolerance but this march cannot take place by ignoring our religious values and ignoring us. We don’t want them to walk half-naked, with bottles of alcohol, in this holy city that has been watered by the blood of our ancestors. It looks like this is going out of the bounds of law but don’t perceive it as such. When we reminded them of Ziya Pasha’s words, it was not a threat. We are saying we will be there, we will react, and we will not allow them to walk. If they are ten thousand people, we will be ten thousand people, we will close that corridor, we will have a sit-in, we won’t let them walk. If they react to us, we will react to them. I did not say let’s go to Taksim and kick them out with sticks. One should not perceive this sentence as carrying sticks in our hands but as a reaction.

Update, 18 June 2016

BBP leader Mustafa Destici: “Perversion and immorality can not be called freedom.”

Source:BBP lideri Mustafa Destici: Sapık LGBTİ’ler benim ülkemde yürüyüş yapamaz!”, June 17, 2016, T24, http://t24.com.tr/haber/bbp-lideri-mustafa-destici-sapik-lgbtiler-benim-ulkemde-yuruyus-yapamaz,345724

Mustafa Destici, the chairman of the BBP (Grand Unity Party) stood by the Alperen Hearths, which announced that they would not let the 14th Pride March take place. In the speech he gave at the iftar, or fast-breaking dinner of his party in Duzce on 16 June, he stated:

Anything immoral gets by in our society during the month of Ramadan and these are represented as legitimate. In the capital of Islam, Istanbul an immoral group that we cannot accept according to our traditions and beliefs, makes a program that goes on for weeks. And they even go further as to crown it with a march. Our young friends, Alperens, say it’s wrong. They say “Those who govern the country should not allow this”, and then there is a huge outrage. Yes brother, this is Turkey, this is a Muslim country. I address the state and the government. You asked for votes claiming that you are conservative and religious, and came to power as such. If you let that march take place, you will be betraying your voters. Let’s see if you commit this betrayal or not. Perversion and immorality cannot be called freedom. This has nothing to do with personal liberties and rights. This cannot be accepted as such. My morality and Western morality are not the same. My belief and Western beliefs are not the same. We won’t stand by and watch this. We will show our rightful reaction. Of course this reaction is verbal, it is [a] protest. We have always been against violence. If there is a price for it, we will pay. They should go do the march somewhere else, they can’t do it in my country.  My country can’t be represented as a country of perverts.