Emine Ülker Tarhan

Gay and trans candidates to run for parliament seat in Turkey’s general elections

Political parties in Turkey announced their candidate lists for the upcoming parliamentary election. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party nominated 3 LGBTI activists as candidates, albeit from lower positions. A trans activist was also nominated as a candidate for the newly founded Anatolia Party.

Source: “Gay and trans candidates to run for Turkish general elections”, kaosGL.org, 8 April 2015,  http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=19141

Political parties in Turkey submitted their lists of candidates to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on April 7 as the country prepares for the June 7 general elections. Only 4 LGBTI activists were nominated as candidates for the 550-seat parliament and they are at lower positions on the lists, which postpones the hopes for the first openly LGBTI member of parliament in Turkey until the 2019 elections.

Barış Sulu, an openly gay Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) candidate, was nominated from Eskisehir in the last position. For Sulu, having LGBTI candidates itself is more valuable than their position on the list. However, he said that he wished there were more LGBTI candidates.

baris_sulu_hdp_candidate

Barış Sulu carrying a banner which reads: “LGBT rights is a whole that cannot be divided!”

In a KaosGL.org interview last month, Sulu approached the ongoing Kurdish resolution process from the LGBTI perspective and said: “Peace must also be made with the LGBTIs in the resolution process.”

The HDP, which has to pass the 10 percent electoral threshold, also nominated two feminist and LGBTI activists -Özlem Sen from Mersin in the 4th position and Gülistan Aydoğdu from Ankara in the 12th position- as candidates.

Deva Özenen, a Christian trans woman in Izmir, was nominated as a candidate by the Anatolia Party which was founded by Emine Ülker Tarhan who resigned from the main opposition Republican People’s Party last year.

devaozenen

Deva Ozenen (left) and Emine Ulker Tarhan (right)

“I am an ‘other’ both as a trans and as a Christian. By nominating me as a candidate, the Anatolia Party showed that they are not canvassing,” Ozenen told KaosGL.org.

Ozenen also underlined that Kemalism is not an elitist ideology but it embraces all oppressed groups including sexual minorities.

CHP’S LGBTI Candidates Not Elected due to Low Ranks on the List

Source: “CHP’den LGBTİ Adaylar Son Sıralarda Olduğundan Seçilemedi,” (“CHP’s LGBTI Candidates Not Elected due to Low Ranks on the List”) KaosGL.org, 18 April 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16365

CHP’s woman deputies critiqued Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for ranking the LGBTI candidates low on the list of candidates and for not abiding by the 33% quota for women candidates.

According to Ayşe Sayın’s news story in Cumhuriyet, CHP’s (Republican People’s Party) Bursa deputy Sena Kaleli organized a dinner upon the request of women deputies. At this dinner, deputies raised complaints about various CHP organizations’ careless and patriarchal attitudes in regard to women candidates.

“LGBTI individuals were ranked very low”

CHP’s Istanbul deputy Binnaz Toprak stated that the 33% quota for women was not implemented in the local elections and that women were not listed as candidates in places where they had stronger chances to be elected. She pointed out that CHP failed to represent all sectors of society. She said, “CHP nominated LGBTI individuals for the city council but they were ranked so low on the list that they could not be elected.”

Ankara deputy and former CHP group deputy chairman Emine Ülker Tarhan stated that she was dismayed by how HDP surpassed CHP in terms of women’s representation. She said, “You promised us that the number of women mayors and women city council members would increase. But that did not happen.”

“Women candidate names were replaced with men’s”

Women deputies critiqued various CHP organizations’ attitudes and actions in regards to women candidates and also claimed that there were some instances where the organization would replace a woman’s name on the list with a male candidate of their preference.

Kılıçdaroğlu accepted the criticism about women’s representation and declared that there would be detailed studies on this issue during this term towards building a new model and especially in relation to the organization of women’s branches.