CHP

Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan via Kaos GL

The police attacked the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade with tear gas, pressurized water, and plastic bullets. Protesters were taken into custody and journalists assaulted. Parliamentarians from HDP [People’s Democratic Party]  and CHP [Republican People’s Party] resisted police violence hand in hand. Despite the police attacks that continued throughout the day, the rainbow flag was waved in all the streets of Beyoğlu.

Source: Kaos GL, “Onur Yürüyüşü’nde saat saat ne oldu?” (“Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?”), 29 June 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19725

The governorate attempted to ban the Parade using Ramadan as an excuse. Assaults continued throughout the day on İstiklal Avenue and in Cihangir and Şişli. Three different crowds marched to Tunnel. During the press statement there, the crowds were assaulted [by police -Trans.]. Thousands of people resisted as they tried to gather together despite tear gas and plastic bullet attacks by the police.

Here is a minute-by-minute timeline of the attacks:

14.00 A press statement was read in front of the Galatasaray High School by mental health workers. At first, the police did not allow the reading of the press release.
15.00 The police attempted to take into custody [Bianet editor] Çiçek Tahaoğlu and Kaos GL editor Yıldız Tar when they tried to record the intervention of the Genç-Sen [Students’ Union] stand by the police. Our [Kaos GL] editor Tar was assaulted and removed from the stand area when they reminded the police that journalists’ right to report cannot be interfered with. Bianet editor Tahaoğu who reacted to the event was taken into custody. The editors were released upon the intervention of lawyers.
16.30 Participants encountered the first police attacks at the Pride Parade on İstiklal Avenue. Participants were scattered into side streets.
16.44 Following the police assault, LGBTIs in the side streets gathered again on İstiklal Avenue as they chanted slogans.
16.57 The crowd attempted to pass through the police barricades on side street entrances and enter İstiklal Avenue. Thousands succeeded in gathering together at the Taksim Square entrance of İstiklal Avenue.
16.46 The police assaulted the crowd that was gathered at Mis Street once again. Sporadic confrontations continued.
17.00 The police attacked and battered the journalists who were trying to record images. One person was reported to have been taken into custody.
17.01 The police attacked the crowd who were trying to enter İstiklal Avenue from the Taksim Square entrance. The crowd retreated towards Sıraselviler Street. The police continued their tear gas and pressurized water attacks.
17.03 The police attacked LGBTIs who were waiting in front of the Galatasaray High School with tear gas and pressurized water. The crowd retreated towards Tunnel. Police violence continued.
17.05 The crowd which had moved to Tarlabaşı gathered again. Thousands marched towards Taksim Square.
17.08 HDP’s Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğu participated in the Pride Parade as well. The police assaulted Kerestecioğlu.
17.20 HDP MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Beyza Üstün and Sezai Temelli and CHP MP Mahmut Tanal held hands in front of the police barricade and demanded that attacks be stopped. The police attacked the MPs and the crowd in the vicinity with plastic bullets.
17.22 Following the police attack at Hasnun Galip Street, one person was wounded. Thousands filled the streets leading to İstiklal Avenue. The crowd roamed the side streets trying to reach the Avenue, chanting slogans.
17.39 The police attacked once more the crowd who were marching towards and gathering in Taksim Square. The crowd retreated towards Talimhane.
17.48 The police blocked the members of the famous Boston Gay Men’s Chorus from entering İstiklal Avenue.
17.52 The police attacked once again the crowd who were gathering at Sıraselviler Street. The crowd responded by barricading themselves and throwing plastic soda bottles. Some of the crowd at Sıraselviler marched towards Cihangir.
18.05 MPs from HDP and CHP read a press statement at Taksim Square under a rainbow flag with regards to the police attack against the Pride Parade.
18.12 HDP Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu talked with Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin on the phone. Governor Şahin declared: “We won’t allow them to march because of Ramadan.”
18.26 CHP and HDP MPs read a statement in Taksim Square. HDP’s Musa Piroğlu said: “This nation hosts many people who have been othered. [This sentence has a dual meaning: “This nation has othered many people.” -Trans.] This assault was against all of us. The Istanbul Police Force is almost saying ‘We are ISIL’.” The crowd began their march towards İstiklal Avenue following the statement. In tandem with the march, the crowds nearby began gathering on İstiklal Street.
18.35 The crowd, which had moved towards Harbiye following the police attack in Taksim Square gathered together once again. Hundreds of people closed the road to traffic and began marching towards Şişli. The crowd at İstiklal Avenue gathered together as well. Thousands chanted “Don’t remain silent, scream LGBTs exist.” Ayşe Erdem, HDP’s co-chair, supported the LGBTIs as well.
18.39 The crowd who began marching along with HDP MPs moved to Tünel [Activist correction- MPs marched until Galatasaray]. Here, it was reported that Sendika.Org journalist Murat Karadeniz was wounded by police with a plastic bullet on his eyebrow. Karadeniz was taken to the hospital.
18.46 Police began once more their attack on the crowd at Mis Street with tear gas.
19.05 The police stopped the crowd who had blocked traffic and was marching towards Şişli. TOMAs [militarized police vehicles -Trans.] announced “Disperse”. The crowd responded by chanting.
19.10 Many were affected by the intense tear gas deployed during the attack at Galatasaray.
19.29 The police attacked the crowd once again while a press statement was being read.
19.40 The 23rd LGBTI Pride Week Parade participants did not disperse despite police assaults. The crowd, who were resisting for hours, marched towards the Tunnel. The protest ended here with a press statement stating: “We are everywhere, get used to it, we are not leaving.”
19.47 The police attacked the crowd which had already dispersed with batons, plastic bullets, and pressurized water.
22.00 The Pride Week celebration party at Tünel was attacked [by police].
23.00 [Police] attacked the street where the closing party [held in a privately owned bar -Trans.] was taking place. The participants took refuge in the terrace.

We have utilized the information passed on by our correspondents and by ETHA, and sendika.org.

Yeni Akit: Support for Homos by the CHP and the HDP

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had their homo love rekindled. The CHP and the HDP, which had previously listed homosexual candidates for the June 7th general elections, now are also signatories to a campaign for homosexuals’ ugly demands.

Source: Hüseyin Kulaoğlu, “CHP ve HDP’den homo’lara destek” (“Support for Homos by the CHP and the HDP”), Yeni Akit, 27 May 2015, http://goo.gl/5eeI6f

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The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had their homo love rekindled. The CHP and the HDP, which had previously listed homosexual candidates for the June 7th general elections, now are also signatories to a campaign for homosexuals’ ugly demands. 39 [sic] MP candidates, with prominent names such as Enis Berberoğlu, Şafak Pavey, and Elif Bulut, have become signatories to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Rights Pledge that was organized by the Social Policies, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies Association (SPoD).

Şafak Pavey, the CHP’s MP candidate for Istanbul, reported that she will continue defending LGBTI rights as she did before and that she will carry the responsibilities brought on by this signature with honor.[1]

On the other hand, Musa Çam, the CHP’s Izmir 1st Region MP candidate, claimed that LGBTI rights are the most basic human rights and said “We will do everything we can for LGBTIs.”

HDP Candidates: Homosexuals are not alone

Sevda Özer and Ali Haydar Konca, MP candidates for Kocaeli from the HDP, reported in their statement following their signature of the pledge that LGBTI individuals are not alone in this struggle and that anyone who finds guidance in liberties should support this struggle.[1]

That pledge has the following signatories:

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LGBTIs are not alone in this struggle

SPoD Logo

The LGBTI Rights Pledge, which the Social Policies, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies Association (SPoD) has opened for signatures by candidates running for parliament membership on the June 7 general elections, has received 40 signatures. Candidates such as Şafak Pavey, Musa Çam, and Deva Özenen declared that LGBTIs are not alone in this struggle.

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33 MP candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge

A number of candidates running for parliament membership from various cities such as Malatya and Edirne have signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge. The human rights organization SPoD LGBTI had formulated the open pledge and asked candidates to publicly sign it. By signing the aforementioned pledge, the candidates promised to defend LGBTI rights in the parliament.

33 MP candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge

The LGBTI Rights Pledge was made public for MP candidates’ signatures prior to the general elections of June 7 by the Social Policy, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) and has thus far received the signatures of 33 candidates. The pledge was proposed as part of the LGBTIs in the Parliament campaign, whose aim was to increase the visibility of human rights violations suffered by LGBTI individuals and to create a society where no individual faces oppression due to their identities. Women from the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] were the first candidates to sign the pledge as they  declared “We are the rainbow.” Recently, new signatures were added to the pledge.

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Representatives from SPoD LGBTI were in Ankara on April 28-29 to present the LGBTI Rights Pledge to politicians. Selina Doğan, the CHP’s [Republican People’s Party] first rank candidate from the second district of Istanbul, signed the pledge in addition to Zelal Deniz Demir, the HDP candidate from Ankara, Aylin Nazlıaka, the CHP candidate from Ankara, and Selin Sayek, the CHP first rank candidate from Izmir’s second district.

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After the HDP, CHP candidates also sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge

Istanbul 2nd district candidates Melda Onur, Enis Berberoğlu, İnan Güney, and Gül Yüksel visited SPoD LGBTI before the June 7 general elections. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge after the women candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who declared “We are the Rainbow.”

SPoD LGBTI representatives, who have started the “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign for the active inclusion of LGBTIs in decision- and policy-making processes and who drafted the LGBTI Rights Pledge, asked candidates for parliament to advocate for LGBTI rights in the Parliament.

Melda Onur emphasized the importance of the presence of LGBTIs in the Parliament with their open identities and said, “We have worked to bring LGBTI issues to the Parliament. We will continue to do so after the elections.” Enis Berberoğlu stated that they will work to get more CHP candidates to sign the Pledge and said, “The CHP’s 2015 Election Manifesto declared that it will work against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As you know the manifesto includes the sentence that we will work against all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through legislation and sanctions. This is a fundamental human rights issue.”

In the coming days, candidates from other cities and parties are expected to sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge.

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Turkish popular opposition promises to fight anti-LGBT discrimination

The Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced its manifesto for the June 7 elections, promising to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaos GL, “Turkish main opposition promises to fight anti-LGBT discrimination”, 20 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=19225

The CHP announced yesterday its election manifesto titled “a Turkey to live in” [PDF, in Turkish] where it stated:

“We will decisively fight all kinds of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity via legislations and law enforcement.”

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Opposition CHP Leader Kılıçdaroğlu Responds to Questions on LGBTI Equality

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, sent supportive messages with regards to marriage equality in Ekşi Sözlük [a Turkish online collaborative ‘wikitionary,’ similar to an informal Wikipedia] yesterday night. Kılıçdaroğlu had claimed that “society is not yet ready for a homosexual leader” two years earlier [in December 2013], addressing the same community.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Kılıçdaroğlu’ndan eşcinsel evlilik yorumu: Herkesin hayatına kimse karışamaz”, (“Kilicdaroglu comments on homosexual marriage: Nobody can interfere with everybody’s life”), KaosGL.org, 13 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19175

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu responded to questions on the Ekşi Sözlük website, under a[n AMA] thread that was posted yesterday night, titled “Hello I am CHP general president Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.”

The following question was directed to Kılıçdaroğlu “What do you promise to LGBTI individuals?”

Upon Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure to display a consistent attitude regarding LGBTI equality, the following question was asked:

“During your election campaign, will you be able to grab the microphone and say ‘I promise an egalitarian citizenship and constitutional protections for LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex] individuals’? What are your personal thoughts on LGBTI marriage equality?”

CHP leader, referring to a viral video[1], replied “nobody can interfere with everybody’s life :)”

“CHP leader should have given a serious answer”

Even though Kılıçdaroğlu’s response was applauded generally by the website’s contributors, a writer by the screenname jish cha directed the following criticism towards Kılıçdaroğlu:

“This Q&A session might be funny for most of us, but for some people living in this country this is a serious question/problem. Joking is okay and fun but I think that he should have given a serious answer.”

CHP members are working for LGBTI equality

Despite Kılıçdaroğlu’s failure in proactively discussing LGBTI rights, CHP members have proposed numerous bills and parliamentary questions on the issue.

In the past week, CHP has proposed a Social Integration and Social Inclusion Bill of Law which also includes LGBTIs. The party had also proposed a Labour Law for LGBTI individuals in February.

Earlier in January, Faruk Çelik, Minister of Labour and Social Security, in response to CHP member Mahmut Tanal’s parliamentary question, had expressed on behalf of the ministry that they did not support LGBTI individuals’ participation in the workforce.

Two years earlier Kılıçdaroğlu had said “society is not ready”

Kılıçdaroğlu had answered the question “Would you nominate a homosexual candidate in the local elections?” by saying “society is not yet ready for a homosexual mayor” in a meeting held in December 2013 with 20 Ekşi Sözlük writers.

Despite this prior response, Kılıçdaroğlu had come together with representatives from the Platform for LGBT Political Representation and Participation. In the 2014 local elections, Sedef Çakmak and Çelik Özdemir from Istanbul, and Öykü Evren Özen from Bursa had been nominated to run for membership for the respective local parliaments, however they have not won the elections. Sedef Çakmak has later been elected in March 2015 as member of the local parliament of Beşiktaş, becoming the first openly lesbian parliament member of the Municipality of Beşiktaş and of any local parliament in Turkey at large.

Trans activist Niler Albayrak, who was a candidate for nomination in preparation for the 2015 general elections, subsequently failed to be nominated by CHP.

The main opposition party does not have any openly gay candidates running for the 2015 general elections.


[1] The viral video referred to by Kılıçdaroğlu is an excerpt from a street interview on the abolition of the headscarf ban, whereby a young man supports the abolition of the ban claiming that nobody can interfere with everybody’s life. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHjyEKkcySs