bianet

Bianet: Lecturer exiled from Department of Architecture to Department of Physical Education after filing a criminal complaint against the Rectorate

Mardin Artuklu University Faculty of Architecture Research Assistant Emre Özyetiş says “I believe it is because of my gender identity that I went through all of this.”

Source: Beyza Kural, “Lecturer exiled from Department of Architecture to Department of Physical Education after filing a criminal complaint against the Rectorate” (“Rektör Hakkında Suç Duyurusu Yaptı, Mimarlıktan Beden Eğitimine Sürüldü”), bianet, December 29, 2017, http://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/192877-rektor-hakkinda-suc-duyurusu-yapti-mimarliktan-beden-egitimine-suruldu

Emre Özyetiş, a research assistant at the Faculty of Architecture at Mardin Artuklu University filed a criminal complaint against the rector, claiming that the rector had insulted him based on his gender identity and had threatened him. His complaint was covered on the news, upon which Özyetiş was assigned to work at the Directorate of College of Physical Education and Sports.

Indicating that he believes he faced such treatment due to his gender identity, Özyetiş told bianet “What I went through is a textbook example of the legal definition of mobbing”.

Özyetiş graduated from the METU Architecture and Philosophy departments, completed his Master’s on architecture in Austria, and currently continues his Ph.D. in Architecture at METU. Özyetiş objected to the decision of the rectorate and demanded to be reinstated to his post at the Faculty of Architecture.

We called the rectorate regarding the matter; however our phone calls were not answered.

“If this gets on the news, I will sue you”

Özyetiş has been working at the Faculty of Architecture as a research assistant since 2014. He says that on December 26, 2017, he was invited by the rector of the university, Ahmet Ağırakça, to his office for a meeting.

“Without any explanation, Ağırakça asked me ‘Do you want to be a girl?’ When he saw that I was baffled, he said, ‘Don’t you realize you are in Mardin?’ When I said that I was trying to understand what is going on, he raised his voice and said ‘Get out!’ Then I told him that he uses hate speech which is against the law, he put his hand on his waist as if he was reaching for his gun, and threatened me to get out of the room. Right after this confrontation, he called my colleagues and said things like, ‘How can you teach a course with someone like Emre?’ and continued to insult me over my sexual orientation.”

On December 27, Özyetiş filed a criminal complaint with the Mardin Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor, accusing the rector of threat, insult and harassment through hate speech.

Journalist Zeynep Yüncüler covered the incident in Journo on December 28. She contacted Rector Ağırakça, who according to the article is to have said, “I don’t want any male professors at my school acting like a girl. This is immoral and shameful. If this gets in the news, I’ll sue you as well”.

“Assignment” to physical education from architecture

Today the secretariat of the Faculty of Architecture sent Özyetiş a notification signed by the rectorate, stating that “it is seen fit that [Özyetiş] is assigned to the Directorate of the College of Physical Education and Sports for a year”.

The premises for the decision was indicated as Article 13-b of the Law on Higher Education no. 2547, which regulates the duties of the rector and states the duty as: “When the rector sees it necessary, s/he can change the posts of the teaching staff and other personnel working at the institutions and units which constitute the university or reassign said personnel”.

Özveriş, who did his undergraduate, graduate and doctorate studies in the field of architecture, objected to the rectorate’s decision.

“I requested an explanation about why I was assigned to the College of Physical Education and Sports, and demanded to be reinstated to my post at the Department of Architecture. I will apply to the Administrative court, whether I receive a reply or a rejection of my demand or not.”

The times for the finals and make-up exams for which Özyetiş is responsible for at the Department of Architecture are about to come.

The Union of Education and Science Labourers’ (Eğitim ve Bilim Emekçileri Sendikası) statement titled, “Scenes of State of Emergency at Mardin Artuklu University”, indicates that there have been exiles disguised as reassignment.

“I was subjected to this treatment due to my gender identity”

Regarding the reassignment which followed his complaint and the news published on Journo, Özyetiş has said, “I see it as an effort to disrupt my working environment and to make my life harder”.

“What I’m currently going through is a textbook example of the legal definition of mobbing. A reassignment at a department where I’m not qualified for is seen as fit for me. There are no students enrolled here, therefore I don’t know what I’m assigned for, either.

“Exiles in universities have happened countless times before this happened to me. I’m subjected to this [treatment] because of my gender identity–because of the way I exist and because of my ideas on gender that I expressed in lectures. Other colleagues have been subjected to similar rights violations due to other reasons.”

“We were discussing whether architecture has gender or not”

“I’m asked why this has happened to me; I believe it’s entirely because of my gender identity.

“I guess the rectorate implies that this process started after we had the screenings of two films, Innocence and Cosmos, in class. I’m a research assistant; these are not classes I opened. I have colleagues with whom I share the instruction of these classes. Furthermore, these films can not be interpreted in the manner he does, nor are they incompatible with the criteria for class content.”

“We talk about gender in lectures. We talk about the fact that gender is not the assigned sex, but a matter of self-expression or self-assignment, which is much more significant.”

“The rector probably says, ‘Emre says he wants to be a girl in his class’, as I have stated that the assigned sex at birth is not the only determinant of gender and that any person has the right to express themselves as men or women. Or maybe that’s what he assumes. Not only I, but also those in class say that there is no such thing.

“Besides, I can be a trans individual; I can state that I am a woman. There is no legal measure against this; there is nothing to justify the accusation and the treatment I was exposed to.”

Kemal Ordek on Bianet: “I’ve been trying to prove that I was raped for 2 years and 7 court hearings”

Kemal Ordek on rape, law and activism nearly two years after being assaulted in their home. The interview with Bianet was published a day before the court ruled on the case of sexual assault. Ordek claimed that one of the assailants in the attack on their home had also raped them. On May 24, the court ruled that there was no sexual assault. All three defendants were sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison for attempting to plunder.

Source: Çicek Tahaoglu, “Tam 2 Senedir, 7 Duruşmadır Tecavüze Uğradığımı Kanıtlamaya Çalışıyorum,” bianet, 23 May 2017, http://m.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/186721-tam-2-senedir-7-durusmadir-tecavuze-ugradigimi-kanitlamaya-calisiyorum

The final verdict will be given on the president of Red Umbrella Association, Kemal Ordek’s case, on May 24.

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Kemal Ordek, a sex worker, a defender of sex workers’ rights for many years, was attacked at home by three people in 2015. One of the attackers seized Ordek’s mobile phone, also sexually abused them. Then they took Ordek to an ATM to take money from his account. Ordek saw a police patrol car at that moment, and managed to escape from the attackers.

Three days later, when we talked to Ordek, they were explaining in fear and anger how the attackers threatened him at the police station by saying, “We know where you live, we will be released anyway, think about it,” and what kind of dialogues were between police officers and attackers, “Don’t waste us for this poof, we understand each other right, my brother?”

That night, the attackers were released. They continued to disturb Ordek via phone for a while. And a nonsuit motion was granted for police officers who tried to argue Ordek out of their criminal complaint and were making Ordek wait and sit with the attackers in the same car and saying “the people of lut are still alive”.

Ordek, as an experienced human rights defender, pursued the violation that they were subject to at this time. Lawsuits were brought against three attackers, two of them were charged with robbery, threatening, and limiting a person’s freedom, the third was charged additionally with major sexual assault, and they were arrested.

Following the decision of the local court, prosecutor Turkay Turkler appealed the sexual assault verdict with the allegations of non-existence of “an evidence above suspicion, complete, certain and credible”.

On May 24 at 14.00, the trial will resume in Ankara for a summary judgment. Before the trial, we met Ordek and discussed the court’s approach to the sexual assaults, the consent issue and the vague borders of “activist Kemal and victim Kemal.”

“There wasn’t a discussion on consent, it was very important that the penalty was imposed according to the testimony”

Your lawyers described the fact that one of the attackers was punished for sexual assault as “leading case.” Could you explain the reason?

This was a leading case because it reflected the things we wanted to say as activists. In the legal struggle following the things I experienced, the concept of consent wasn’t questioned at court, and verdict was given according to the testimony. The court committee said “there is a sexual assault, it is a major sexual assault, there is a limitation on a person’s freedom, and there are crimes like threatening and insulting,” in consensus and approved a punishment that wasn’t requested, or predicted by the prosecutor.

From these points, it’s a leading case, but it ignored the robbery, which was lacking. Also, they didn’t issue an arrest warrant until the last hearing.

(more…)

Trans Woman Attacked, Forced to Leave Istanbul Neighborhood

Kıvılcım Arat, LGBTI activist, was forced to leave her home of five years due to continuous attacks from a group of young men living in her neighborhood.

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Trans Kadına ‘Bu Mahalle Gezici Değil’ Saldırısı”, September 21, 2016, BiaNet, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/178863-trans-kadina-bu-mahalle-gezici-degil-saldirisi

Kıvılcım Arat is a board member of the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association as well as the spokesperson of the Democratic Women’s Movement.

She was forced to abandon her home in Beyoğlu due to fear for her personal safety. She has moved to another city and is temporarily living in an acquaintance’s house. She plans to work and save some money before returning to Istanbul and seeking new accommodations.

Due to Arat’s concern for her safety, we cannot include the name of the neighborhood or her current whereabouts in the piece.

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“They have screenshots of my news interviews”

Arat told the story of how a group of young men harassed and threatened her on her way in and out of the neighborhood:

“I have been living in the same neighborhood for the last five years. I had no previous problems with these kids. About a month ago, just as I was entering my home, they stopped me, “Wait for a second.” I tried to enter the apartment building but one of them was at the door, both holding but also trying to block the others’ way in.

“They showed me screenshots of my interviews with bianet, Jinha and İMC TV broadcasts before shouting ‘this is not a Gezi-spirited neighborhood.’ They went on to shout sexist slurs and threaten me with rape. ‘Nobody will be able to save you from us,’ they told me.”

“You will never be on TV again”

“I managed to walk into my home then but they continued their threats in the following days, adding ‘you will never be on tv again.’ They would bring their own foldable chairs outside and sit there in the middle of the neighborhood. For a few days, I asked for help from my neighbors to get home. They escorted me from the end of the street to my apartment building.

“10 days after the first attack, I and a friend of mine from the solidarity association came home. They were waiting at the entrance. It was a tense moment but we managed to walk in the building. After that we heard a commotion outside. As a trans friend of ours was entering the building, the group attacked them shouting, ‘Whore! Is that your pimp?’

“Four days after this event, they threw bottles at me. I could not take it anymore, so I transferred my rent contract. My whole life is upside down. I need to find a new home now.”

Alderman tried to evict Arat from her apartment

Arat also claimed that the neighborhood alderman had taken part in the events, and that the alderman had tried to evict her from her apartment:

“When my neighbors went to the neighborhood alderman’s office for some paperwork, the alderman asked them for my landlord’s number. When they asked why, he claimed that I was a sex worker and added ‘we do not know who comes in and out of the apartment.’ My neighbors reacted to this statement and told the alderman, ‘we have been living in the same building for years. We have not seen any strangers come and go. Furthermore, she was attacked. She cannot come to her own home for a week now.’”

When the neighbors could not convince the alderman, the alderman of a near neighborhood, Çiğdem Nalbantoğlu, intervened and reminded that it is not within an alderman’s rights or duties to evict residents and persuaded against calling Arat’s landlord. The alderman later said ‘Kıvılcım Hanım (Arat), should come to visit us for some tea.’

“They attacked a 60 year old woman, they could easily kill me”

Arat added that she was not the only target of these men in her neighborhood:

“A Romanian woman lives across the street. Since her apartment is on the ground floor, you can see her television. They keep harassing her, saying ‘why don’t you turn your tv off during the call to prayer?’

“On July 16th, they attacked a woman who lived here for years with her two kids. The woman had just asked these people to be quiet. They threatened her. The woman had to escape back into her building. They yelled ‘traitors’ on the street.

“I am not safe on that street. They behave with such impunity. Anyone who attacks a 60 year old woman who abides by all norms of society, would not shy away from killing me.”

Arat, who says she had to leave Istanbul in a hurry, will file criminal complaints, through her lawyer, with the prosecutor’s office for public nuisance, sexual harassment, intimidation, using threats and intimidation to intervene in others’ way of life. 

Lesbian Dating Site Banned Over “Obscenity” Back Online

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Lesbian Dating Site Banned Over ‘Obscenity’ Back Online”, bianet, 17 November 2015, http://bianet.org/english/lgbti/169339-lesbian-dating-site-banned-over-obscenity-back-online

The administrative measure against lesbian dating site www.lezce.com, blocked over “obscenity”, has been lifted a few hours after the incident took place.

Web administrator Erman Paçalı telling the ban has been lifted after the incident took place and was in the media, said the following:

“They shut down the website and lifted the ban out of the blue. We haven’t made any change on the website as to the content. We hadn’t managed to contact an authority from TIB despite all our efforts. When we looked at the Presidency of Telecommunication’s (TIB) query panel, the administrative measure appeared on the screen. When we repeated the same query 20 minutes ago, it states there is no decision implemented as to this website.

“The decision to lift the ban hasn’t been issued to all service providers yet, but it will be by the end of the day”.

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What had happened?

Speaking to Bianet, web administrator Erman Paçalı had said that the site doesn’t have any content that could be a subject to blocking, they couldn’t find any addressee regarding the matter, and they will go to court to stop the execution.

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Lesbian Website Blocked over “Obscenity”,” bianet, 17 November 2015, http://bianet.org/english/lgbti/169329-lesbian-website-blocked-over-obscenity

Turkey’s only lesbian dating website, http://www.lezce.com*, has been banned for “obscenity”.

“Since obscenity can’t be determined by looking at a user name and password page on our home page, it has obviously been aroused by the name ‘lezce’. We are face to face with an administration that is aroused by letters. These practices encourage homophobia by state itself”, said the administrator of the webpage that operates on a membership system.

Lezce.com content advisor and administrator Erman Paçalı speaking to Bianet said they couldn’t find any addressee relating to the blocking decision and that they will file a complaint with the administrative court to grant a motion for stay of execution.

“We’ve sent our petition to the Presidency of Telecommunication (TIB) but it is unclear when they will respond since there is no law imposing a time limit on TIB. TIB experts conveyed via central office that they won’t contact us directly. We can’t find any addressee. It is not clear what is obscene in the content and what sort of evaluation they made.

“This decision violates the principle of equality. We will go to the district administrative court to stop the execution. We want a verbal hearing because we want to express ourselves”.  

TIB doesn’t inform

Paçalı said they have tried to contact TIB but they couldn’t receive any information regarding even the grounds of the decision.

“Whenever we wish to contact the institution, they express that there is prime ministerial circular stating experts cannot be met with. Thus, as far as we understand there is a circular allowing them to not meet with anyone if they wish to do so.”

Paçalı added that TIB has taken the decision based on “reasonable doubt” and “in order to constitute reasonable doubt, there must be content in line with that. However, our home page doesn’t have any content except for username and password panel, and TIB doesn’t present any content as to the ‘doubt’”.

* Lez is shortened for lezbiyen, which means lesbian, and Lezce stands for Lezbiyence, which means lesbianish.

 

We have lost LGBTI Activists Boysan Yakar and Zeliş Deniz

Boysan Yakar, LGBTI activist and advisor to Şişli Mayor, Zeliş Deniz, feminist LGBTI activist, and Mert Serçe have passed away in a highway car crash.

Source: BK, “LGBTİ Aktivistleri Boysan Yakar ve Zeliş Deniz’i Kaybettik,” (“We have lost LGBTI activists Boysan Yakar and Zeliş Deniz”), BiaNet, 6 September 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/167397-lgbti-aktivistleri-boysan-yakar-ve-zelis-deniz-i-kaybettik

The crash occurred on the Çanakkale – Istanbul Highway in Bolayır, Gelibolu. Yakar, Deniz and Serçe who were all in the same vehicle lost their lives as well as two other persons who were in the other vehicle involved in the collision.

Şişli Mayor İnönü: “We will miss you and need you very much in the future Boysan”

Şişli Mayor Hayri İnönü, whom the 31 year old activist Boysan was an advisor to, tweeted; “we have lost our colleague Boysan Yakar to a traffic accident. My condolences to his family and all of us. We will miss you and need you very much in the future Boysan…”

Boysan Yakar

Boysan Yakar, an advisor to Şişli Mayor Hayri İnönü, was among the CHP city councilman candidates during the Municipal Elections of March 30, 2014.

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Yakar had the following to say about his candidacy in an interview with Bianet Women and LGBTI issues editor Çiçek Tahaoğlu:

“I believe that especially politicians were not ready for LGBTIs in Turkey to be so conspicuous until today. But we are part of the people and we live among the people. Contrary to popular opinion, we walk the city during the day as we need to. We live in this country but as a direct target to various discriminations and hateful actions. Our organized effort for equal rights have been continuing for more than 20 years and we expect our legal rights to be granted and our demands to be taken seriously. I think the politicians should just trust us. We are sure we will handle government duties and municipal duties at least as well as we do everything else we put our minds to!”

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Yakar’s family, also members of Listag (LambdaIstanbul Family Group), were featured in the documentary “Benim Çocuğum” (My Child).

Zeliş Deniz

Zeliş Deniz, an LGBTI activist and feminist, was also an active member of such organizations like Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association and LambdaIstanbul.

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She was photographed during the International Women’s Day Walk on March 8th, 2014 where she stood against riot police with her purple flag.

Kemal Ördek: ’Dying By The Sword,’ Rape, and A Question for Minister Islam

Every sex worker and transsexual who was kidnapped and raped has ended up in deep loneliness. This has never changed. Don’t be fooled by the few strong voices that reacted to the attack I suffered.

Source: Kemal Ördek, “Su Testisi Tecavüz ve Bakan İslam’a Bir Soru” (“’Dying By The Sword,’ Rape, and A Question for Minister İslam”), bianet.org, 17 July 2015, http://m.bianet.org/bianet/toplumsal-cinsiyet/166083-su-testisi-tecavuz-ve-bakan-islam-a-bir-soru

I’m writing as a rape victim.

I’m writing as a theft, threat, and insult victim.

I’m writing as a trans and as a sex worker.

I’m writing as a rights activist.

I’m writing as someone who now thinks twice before going out.

I break out in a cold sweat; I tense up. I can’t do a thing without someone by me. For the last twelve days, it is as if I’ve been under house arrest. Just yesterday, I saw one of my attackers when I was out with my friends; I simply ran back home. It is as if they are everywhere. I try to stay away from people, but they are out and about. This is what they call justice.

Özgecan comes to my mind. Everyone cried for her and mourned her loss. They took Özgecan away from us, just like with all the other women they took away from us. An otherwise silent Turkey stood up for her, took to the streets, ached, trembled. We trembled.

With Özgecan, we relived a familiar story. We remembered all the sex workers and trans people who have been raped and killed for all these years.

Just yesterday, the entire country was startled when Münevver Karabulut was murdered by decapitation. Only a week later, when a trans sex worker was found in a trash can with her head cut off, everyone who had stood up for Münevver disappeared. Trans women and sex workers were left alone in a country of murders by decapitation.

Every sex worker and transsexual who was kidnapped and raped has ended up in deep loneliness. This has never changed. Don’t be fooled by the few strong voices that reacted to the attack I suffered. In all likelihood, there would not be any reaction if I weren’t a well-known rights activist.

Trans people, sex workers, the other women, the anonymous women whose lives are tested by violence, rape, and murder are also raped by silence. In the back streets, in invisible streets, in those “deserved” lives, rape occur every night. Because those women live the lives they “deserve.” Because those who “live by the sword, die by the sword.” Because they deserve rape and death is written in their fate.

We have a Minister of Family and Social Policies, whose faint voice we hear after every case of rape and death. She is someone who disappears, becomes quiet, and shrugs when the issue is trans women and sex workers. She is someone who is complicit in the silence that rapes us…

I have a question for Minister İslam:

Dear Minister: I’m a trans and a sex worker, and I was raped. I was robbed, threatened, and insulted. I was mistreated when I called the police for protection from the violence that I suffered. One of your officers told me, “but you weren’t raped.” Another one lamented that, “this Tribe of Lot isn’t extinct yet.”

I am thankful that I am alive. What I do can’t be called living, but still. My friends advise me to look on the bright side and be thankful that I am alive.

Dear Minister: you are everybody’s minister, is that right? This “everybody” includes trans people and sex workers too, right? If your answer is yes, I ask, why are you silent about what happened to me? The investigations are ongoing and you’re still silent. If a lawsuit begins, are you going to stand by me? Are you going to get involved in it? Are you going to stand by a trans, sex worker, rights activist who was raped and brutalized?

Or am I, are we, going to be considered as people who “deserve” what happens to them? When one of us is killed tomorrow, will there be only 2-3 people to say a final goodbye? Are we, the members of the Tribe of Lot as some of you say, going to continue to be “disciplined” by violence, rape, and murder?

Dear Minister, is your silence fair? We may not be women in your eyes; we may be “immoral.” But are we not human either? Are your “conservatism” and your “religious and human values” silent in the face of violence?

I, your citizen, a trans, a sex worker, a rights activist, a victim… When were we made to be so lonely?

Dear Minister, I invite you, your Ministry, and your government to stand by me. I keep hoping for the faint possibility. If you take a step, it will send a message to rapists.

Before we die again…

Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists: We do not hide, We are not ashamed

On 15 July, Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists gathered to protest the police attack on the Pride March, said “Neither AKP nor men will be able to prevent our love between women or our going out to the streets to shout for our freedom.”

Source: “Lezbiyen Biseksüel Feministler: Saklanmıyoruz, Utanmıyoruz”, (“Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists: We do not hide, We are not ashamed”), bianet, 15 July 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/166052-lezbiyen-biseksuel-feministler-saklanmiyoruz-utanmiyoruz utm_content=buffer32896&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists were gathered on 15 July in front of the Kadıköy Pier to protest the police attack on the Pride Parade.

Women pointed out that hate speech against LGBTIs are being disseminated with religious excuses and stated that this behavior imprisons women in the male dominated family, love and sexuality.

At the press release read before the march from the Pier to the Bull Statue, they said that the reason for the attack LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek was exposed to is the AKP government which targets LGBTIs.

The following statements appear in the press release:

“We have something feminist to say to the ones who want to narrow our lives, force women to stay in their houses and LGBTIs in ghettos by using ideas of public moral and decency!”

“We refuse to be imprisoned in male dominated sexuality. Neither the AKP government who prevented the Pride Parade using Ramadan as an excuse nor men will be able to prevent our love between women or our going out to the streets and shouting for our freedom.”

“We will be in Taksim next year for the Pride Parade, as [it] has been for 13 years. We will win, love will win.”

Cyber-attack against Istanbul LGBTI’s Website

The website of Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association was hacked. Kıvılcım Arat from the Association said “LGBTIs used not to be perceived as a threat. Attacks increased as they became the subject of/in politics.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “İstanbul LGBTİ’nin Web Sitesine Siber Saldırı” (“Cyber Attack against Istanbul LGBTT’s Website”), bianet, 6 July 2015,  http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165826-istanbul-lgbti-nin-web-sitesine-siber-saldiri

The website of Istanbul LGBTI [LGBTT] Solidarity Association was hacked by a group called “Armania”.

510Hackers changed the first news heading of the website to “WE ARE SONS OF BITCHES YEAHH”. The website at http://istanbul-lgbtt.net is still accessible but news items display an error.

Istanbul LGBTI’s Kıvılcım Arat reported that “As it turns out, they had found a vulnerability in the website a while ago but waited for a controversy before hacking it. They took advantage of the order of the day where the police attacks the Pride Parade and LGBTIs continue to be targeted [for violence] and posted their messages to the website.”

Kaos GL’s website was targeted with a DDoS attack simultaneously with the police attack against the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade on June 28th.

Arat, who reported that online attacks against LGBTIs are increasing in addition to the already widespread physical and verbal assaults, expressed that the reason for the increase in attacks is the visibility of the LGBTI and LGBTI’s presence in the political arena:

LGBTIs used not to be perceived as a threat; we were seen as a group that keeps their head down at all times. But this perception dissipated after Gezi. A certain discomfort emerged from LGBTIs’ becoming political subjects in the last election process and their solidarity around the slogan ‘We will not let you become the President’.

It was indeed not Ramadan but the discomfort of the election process that lead to the attacks during the Pride Parade, which has been organized for 13 years. After all, a week ago and again during Ramadan, the 6th Trans Pride Parade was organized on the same street.

A message of ‘you better tread lightly, not get into politics, withdraw into your shell’ is being given with these target-ful statements, news articles, and assaults. Because Turkey’s LGBTI movement is one of the most political ones in Turkey. It seems that attacks will continue, unfortunately.

Cyber-attack against Kaos GL on Pride Day

Tar: “That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Onur Gününde KaosGL’ye Siber Saldırı” (“Cyberattack against Kaos GL on Pride Day”), bianet, 29 June 2015, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/165656-onur-gununde-kaosgl-ye-siber-saldiri

Kaos GL was inaccessible for hours on 28 June due to a DDoS attack while police assaults continued on Istiklal Street.

Kaos GL’s editor Yıldız Tar spoke to bianet and, drawing attention to the simultaneous attacks on the streets by the police and cyber attacks online, expressed that the attack against LGBTIs’ news website is a planned assault on the freedom of speech and the right to be informed:

Yesterday, our Kaos GL website was targeted at the very moment police assaults began against the Pride Parade. The attack continued for a long time, preventing access to the website. At first we thought this to be a technical problem but out communications uncovered this to be an attack.

That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.

Our website was unable to recover until late last night. This prevented us from communicating rights violations. We experienced violence on the streets as well as intervention with our right to speech.

We do not know who the assailants were, but we witnessed tweets pointing Kaos GL as a target and claiming ‘this is how we silence you’ Naturally, we have documented each of these instances.

We believe that this was a concerted attack. They tried to silence us and failed. Just as the rainbow flag was flying over everywhere yesterday, Kaos GL too continues its broadcast.

What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) is an attack where a server receives considerable amounts of requests by many computers simultaneously to the point of inoperability. It does not [necessarily] mean that the server in question was breached.

Istanbul LGBTT Activist: “Assailants say ‘you can murder fags, there is no penalty for that’”

7 trans women were assaulted in Istanbul in the last month. Kıvılcım Arat of Istanbul LGBTI said: “It is the government, which avoids producing legislation [against hate crimes] and which issues press statements that point people out as targets, who is responsible for the increase in assaults.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Saldırganlar ‘İbne Öldürmenin Cezası Yok’ Diyor” (“Assailants say ‘you can murder fags, there is no penalty for that’”), Bianet, 1 June 2015, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/164977-saldirganlar-ibne-oldurmenin-cezasi-yok-diyor

7 trans women were assaulted in Istanbul in the last month [May 2015].

Some assaults occurred out of nowhere while women were walking on the street, some occurred in women’s homes. Other trans women who heard that trans women have been assaulted rushed to the hospitals and waited outside the ER in solidarity, even when they did not know the victim.

Yet, the attacks continue and very few of the women apply to rights organizations regarding what they experienced and initiate legal procedures.

Istanbul LGBTI [sic- correct name Istanbul LGBTT], one of the organizations working for trans rights, reported that only three trans women applied [for support] following the attacks. Two of them did not continue the necessary legal procedures afterwards; one is waiting for her recovery.

Why is it that these women, who struggle for their lives every day, do not engage in a legal struggle? Kıvılcım Arat, member of the board of directors of Istanbul LGBTI [sic], responded to this question: “Because they do not trust the judiciary.”

“They are reluctant [to pursue cases] because they do not trust the judiciary. Activists need to intervene at that stage. Unfortunately, that is not always possible.”

Arat tied the high number of assaults during the month to the statements by government authorities. While they have avoided issuing statements regarding LGBTIs up until now, government authorities have begun bringing the issue to the forefront as the elections are approaching. Arat reminds us of the statements by President Erdoğan, “We do not put forth homosexual candidates,” and by Prime Minister Davutoğlu, “Homosexuals caused the destruction of the tribe of Lot.”

“Ever since the HDP [which has an LGBTI candidate and actively campaigns for LGBTI rights -Trans.] started its election campaign, the statements by government authorities about LGBTIs have been encouraging people to commit hate crimes. Recently, following the statement by the President, two trans women were assaulted.”

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Elif İnce: A History of Turkey’s LGBTI Movement in the 1990s

Despite the raids and evacuations of trans homes in Cihangir and torture in police custody, the LGBTI in Turkey became organized during the 1990s. Lambdaistanbul and Kaos GL associations were founded after the police dispersed the 1993 Pride Parade and the first LGBTI publications appeared.

Source: Elif İnce, “LGBTİ: Kaldırımın Altından Gökkuşağı Çıkıyor”, (“LGBTI: The Rainbow is Peaking Out from the Pavement”), bianet, 8 December 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/160544-lgbti-kaldirimin-altindan-gokkusagi-cikiyor

The 1990s were the years when the LGBTI movement started to organize as a social movement against police violence. Despite the raids on homes and nightclubs and the days-long torture in police custody, these years witnessed the foundation of the Lambdaistanbul and Kaos GL associations, the LGBTI organizations in universities, and the first LGBTI publications.

The first Pride Parade named “Sexual Freedom Events” in 1993 in Beyoğlu was blocked by the police based on the governor’s ban. Activists’ houses were raided and they were taken into custody. Participants from abroad were deported. The first pride parade was held ten years later in 2003 and was attended by 40 people. In the last pride parade, 2014, tens of thousands marched.

Gays, Feminists, Greens

The oppressive environment of the 1980 military coup led to the weakening of mainstream leftist groups. Those who could not previously find a place for themselves in these movements began to have their voice heard. In 1997, the Kaos GL Association submitted a statement to be published in Radikal İki, a Sunday issue of a liberal daily Turkish newspaper (now only online). The statement read as follows:

“Transvestites, transsexuals, feminine gays also experienced the oppression of the 1980 coup. Things were ignored and it was a time of every man for himself. When we tried to make a little bit of noise, our voice was drowned among those endless hierarchies. They’d say “not now; there are bigger urgencies”… In the 1980s, there were similar reactions from many different groups to voices that people were not used to, voices they had not heard before. Gays, feminists, greens… Where the hell did they come from?”

In the mid-1980s, the Radical Democrat Green Party Initiative was founded under İbrahim Eren’s leadership. Greens, feminists, atheists, anti-militarists, as well as gay and trans individuals started to organize within this initiative. The party declared its support for gay rights. Eren observed that gays became the largest group within the party and the party was dubbed the “party of the gays”. In 1998, trans activist Demet Demir said, “the group was called the gay group but the majority were trans.”

Sevda Yılmaz, who wrote under the pen-name of Ali Kemal Yılmaz, tells the story of a hunger strike that began on 29 April 1987 to protest the systemic violence and oppression of gay and trans individuals at the hands of the Beyoğlu Police Department. The Radical Democrat Green Party Initiative supported the strike.

The strike which began in a house in Taksim moved to the stairs of Gezi Park on 30 April and was dispersed by the police. The strike continued in different houses for a couple of weeks. Yılmaz was the spokesperson for the strike, which found coverage in international press and drew the support of important artists such as Türkan Şoray, Rıfat Ilgaz and Barış Pirhasan.

This hunger strike is remembered as the first large-scale LGBTI protest before the 1990s.

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The LGBTI media reference guide is out

Source: “Gazeteciler İçin LGBTI haberciliği rehberi çıktı” (The LGBTI media reference guide is out), Bia News Source,  July 9, 2014, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/medya/157064-gazeteciler-icin-lgbti-haberciligi-rehberi-cikti

The guide answers the question of what reporters need to pay attention to when covering issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaos GL and Pink Life, Turkish LGBTI organizations, have compiled a practical media reference guide for journalists reporting on LGBTI issues.

The guide provides a framework for keeping in regard certain points when reporting on LGBTI related policies in Turkey. The guide offers rights based suggestions on topics regarding use of language and terminology in reporting news related to gender, violence and suicide, news sources, off the record statements, use of photography, and respecting privacy.

What should a reporter pay attention to?

The guide includes excerpts from news reports that include hate speech against  the LGBTI community and explains the approach to reporting taken by the news portal of KaosGL.org and Kaos GL magazine.

  • We defend the freedom of news, commentary and critique. However, we distinguish between the news, commentary and opinion regarding current events. An author can express their personal opinion on the reported issues only by signing their name under the article.
  • The journalist reports news and refrains from commentary.
  • We do not state agreement with anyone.
  • We do not draw conclusions from any information.
  • We do not homogenize people and events.
  • We do not judge anyone.
  • We do not exclude anyone.

The role of the media workers

The guide underlines the important role media workers play in spreading awareness of forms of discrimination related to gender, sexual orientation and gender identity across a wider base in society.

Below is a sample of suggestions from the guide to news coverage:

Gay man, lesbian woman vs. heterosexual man/woman?

References in news reports to individuals’ gender, sexual orientation and gender identity in contexts where these are irrelevant to the content of the news constitute discrimination. Just as we do not mark heterosexual and male individuals as heterosexual male; we should not be marking women, gays, bisexuals and trans individuals when such characterizations have no direct relevance to the news content.

Being gay is not a matter of “confession”

“They confessed” as in “They confessed they are gay” is one of the misused expressions that appears widely in the news media and in public. Being gay is not a crime nor a mistake, therefore it is not a matter of confession. The appropriate expression should be “they announced they are gay.”

“The transvestite whose real name is…”!

News reports use trans individuals’ names as they appear in their identity cards without their permission. Reporters must use the person’s chosen name and surname.

Gender transition, not gender change

Instead of gender change/correction surgery, use “gender transition surgery” or “gender reconstruction surgery.” Phrases like ‘change’ presume the assigned gender as their basis and contribute to the perception that trans individuals are  less  “woman” or “man” than how they feel and express. This aggravates the othering process.

Sexual orientation, not sexual preference

It is inaccurate to use the term “sexual preference” to describe homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality. Like heterosexuality,  homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual orientations; transsexuality is about gender identity. The  terms “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” must be used instead of “sexual preference“ in accordance with these definitions.

Avoid unnecessary innuendos

In reports relating to LGBTI people, there should be no references to derogatory slang in headlines or no reporting using such slang. It is important to avoid unnecessary references and innuendos such as “The ball is in the court for the LGBTI association court case” in order not to reproduce discrimination.

click for the guide

 

“What Would Be Different If A Gay was Slapped There?”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Tokat Yiyen İbne Olsaydı Ne Değişecekti?” (“What Would Be Different If A Gay Man Was Slapped?”) Bianet. org, 27 May 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/155961-tokat-yiyen-ibne-olsaydi-ne-degisecekti?bia_source=newsletter

The mashup photo of Taner Kurucan, a Soma resident who was allegedly slapped by PM Erdoğan during his visit, and Yasin Keskin, an LGBTI activist holding a banner “Even if we are gay,” went viral online. Bianet interviewed Yasin Keskin as the mainstream media articles and comments covertly legitimized the violence against him as he was gay.

Yasin Keskin, the real owner of the photo taken at Gay Pride, filed a criminal complaint to the Antalya Prosecutor’s Office in order to determine the distributors of the photo and to prevent further publication of the images. The criminal complaint has been submitted to the İstanbul Prosecutor’s Office.

“The comments under the released photo on social media include threats and hateful phrases.  I’m 29 years old and have spent 29 years under the oppression and violence of society against homosexual people. I have been exposed to violence many times during my struggle and now I am scared of going to Istanbul, even of going out,” LGBTI activist Keskin told Bianet.

“When I went to the courthouse, people said that they saw the photo. People that I don’t know have sent messages on social media. If anyone recognizes me while walking on the street, I could be exposed to a lynching attempt. We are living in a country in which homophobic and transgender murders occur frequently,” he added.

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LGBTI people march against Hate Crimes and Worker Deaths

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTI’ler Nefret ve İş Cinayetlerine Karşı Yürüdü,” (“LGBTI people march against Hate Crimes and Worker Deaths,”) bianet.org, May 18, 2014, http://www.bianet.org/kadin/lgbti/155764-lgbti-ler-nefret-ve-is-cinayetlerine-karsi-yurudu

The ninth Anti-homophobia Meeting organized by Kaos GL concluded with a march against homophobia, transphobia, hate and workplace murders.* Thousands joined the march dedicated to the hundreds of workers who were killed in the Soma Mine. Signs such as “Soma: We know the Murderers” and “Either we will be emancipated together; or we will rot together” were carried at the protest that began at the Ankara University’s Cebeci campus.

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Those who joined the protest included representatives of LGBTI organizations from Ankara, Istanbul, Mersin, Adana, Diyarbakır, Kars, Dersim, Malatya, Antalya, İzmir, Eskişehir and Antep as well as representatives from HDK (the Democratic People’s Congress), ESP (The Socialist Party of the Oppressed), SYKP (the Socialist Reconstitution Party), SDP (the Socialist Democracy Party), SGD (Socialist Youth Associations) and ÖGK (Free Young Woman). LÖB (High School Students Union) and IHD (Human Rights Association) were present with their uniforms. And the red flag finally reached out for the rainbow.

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Gay Police Trial Begins

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Eşcinsel Polis Davası Başladı” (“Gay Police Trial Begins,”) Bianet.org, 8 May 2014, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/155528-escinsel-polis-davasi-basladi

The trial of police officer Osman, who was fired from the police force for being gay, has started. Observers from Human Rights Watch, SPoD LGBTI and Lambdaistanbul are attending the trial.

The trial of police officer Osman, who was fired from the force for being gay, started today.

After working as a police officer for eight years, Osman was fired from the force on the grounds of “committing a disgraceful crime” following an investigation process which took place after a revealing e-mail sent to the law enforcement agency exposed his sexual orientation. Osman talked about what he lived through on Bianet.

The trial of stay of execution against Osman’s dismissal from the profession took place today. Observers from Human Rights Watch, SPoD, LGBTI and Lambdaistanbul are attending the trial.

The court confirmed that the sentence would be announced in a month’s time, after the defense argument is raised.

Speaking to Bianet, Osman stated:

“The court will decide in a month. If the ruling is positive, I will return to my profession; if a negative sentence is handed down, I will apply to the State Council and continue fighting.”

“I don’t think my sexual orientation hinders me from doing my job. I wouldn’t mix my private life and my work anyway. I will be a policeman.”