European Union

LGBTI rights are trade union rights!

Unionists from eight countries and representatives from LGBTI organizations met in Ankara this weekend for the Kaos GL symposium.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “LGBTI rights are trade union rights!”,, 16 December 2014,

The 3rd Symposium Against Discrimination that was organized by Kaos GL Association spread the message that “LGBTI rights are trade union rights!”

Activists joined in the budget protest on Saturday, mobilized by the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK) and the Confederation of Public Workers’ Union (KESK), asking for a “budget for people, rather than palaces.”


“LGBTI people are subjected to self-censorship at workplace”

The 3rd Symposium against Discrimination was opened by Ulrike Lunacek, co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBTI rights, via a video message.

Lunacek emphasized that the European Union’s chapters 23 and 24 should be opened in accession negotiations with Turkey, which focus on judiciary and fundamental rights, and justice, freedom and security.

Stating that laws are not enough to tackle discrimination, Lunacek stressed that LGBTI people are subjected to self-censorship in the workplace.

“How come a police officer can be fired based on his sexual orientation in 2014 in Turkey?” asked Lunacek, pointing at the importance of heterosexual allies in the fight for LGBTI equality. Below are some highlights from the sessions of the symposium.


Universal Periodic Review Statement to the European Union

Statement delivered by Kaos GL’s Ezgi Kocak on December 3, 2014 in Geneva to Permanent Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations on behalf of Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, and ILGA World. 

Dear colleagues and representatives of the European Union,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of this meeting and to present the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans individuals in Turkey. We represent the coalition of organisations (Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Human Rights Commission).


At the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, Turkey accepted recommendations by Norway and the Netherlands for non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, Turkey accepted the Czech Republic’s recommendation to review national legislation on non-discrimination with regard to women and gender identity. However, Turkey has failed to implement these recommendations and have instead moved in the opposite direction.

Despite the Turkish government’s commitments made during the first UPR and in spite of the collective efforts of the Turkish and international civil society organisations over the past four years, no anti-discrimination legislation – in line with the UN and the CoE norms and standards- has yet been put into the legislative process. Particularly, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of February 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination article of the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfil its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

Finally, Turkey’s 2014 Progress Report complements our UPR submission and highlights equality and non-discrimination, right to life and security of the person, administration of justice, including impunity and the rule of law issues where the Turkish government fails to address in order to improve the human rights situation in Turkey for all citizens including LGBT individuals.


We respectfully request that the issue of protection of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is raised during the upcoming UPR session and that the following recommendations are made to the government of Turkey:

  • Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  • Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  • Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Take all administrative measures, both on national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT persons in Turkey.
  • Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  • Cease to categorise homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  • Guarantee the freedom of speech and association for LGBT community members and their allies.
  • Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

Yeni Akit: EU, Benefactor of Perverts!

Source: Sinan Yavuzoğlu “AB sapkınların hamisi!” (“EU, Benefactor of Perverts!”), 25 October 2013,

Yeni Akit is a conservative daily newspaper that engages in hate speech against LGBTI people and other groups. This is a verbatim translation. 

One of the articles easily ignored from the 2013 Turkey Progress Report was the fact that the European Union was setting itself up  to be the benefactor of deviant homosexuality. The European Union proved itself to be a backer of the disgraceful lobby that introduced the concept of “hate crimes” in order to antagonize those who show any kind of opposition to those who seek to ridicule and spew hate towards such sacred values as Turkish – Islamic family structure, Turkish Independence and Individuality. Thus, it became apparent that it will not refrain from its goal which is to degenerate Turkey’s time-honored social composition.


The report, which goes on to mention the problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex groups for numerous pages,  claims that these perverted circles go through  difficulties with internet freedom, a lack of legal security and mandatory military service. After declaring that all demands of these sexual deviants should be granted as a precondition for EU accession, the report expressed several findings and demands. The fact that there was no disruption at the latest “pride parade” was seen as a “positive” development and it was demanded that all further meetings and/or marches should be freely organized.

It was noted that no progress was made against discrimination or equality. The report insisted that the terms “sexual orientation” and “sexual identity” should be added to the new anti-discrimination draft law and discriminatory acts towards these behaviors should be evaluated as “hate crimes”. Hate speech and hate attacks against homosexuals increased. The sentencing for the crimes against LGBTI individuals had reduced punishment by reason of “undue provocation” and “good behavior.” Numerous firings and dismissals were made by the police and military due to the discovery of personnel’s sexual identity.


Sexual Rights and Freedoms Cannot Be Eradicated

Source: Sosyal Politikalar, Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği, (Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association,) “Cinsel Haklar ve Özgürlükler Yok Edilemez,” (“Sexual Rights and Freedoms Cannot Be Eradicated,”)

As the LGBTI/Q movement, we have been working to protect and increase LGBTI people’s rights and freedoms for the last 20 years. We know that the LGBTI/Q movement has reached an important point through this struggle but also know that the state has not established any protective legal measures to secure LGBTI people’s rights during the 11 years under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

To the contrary, there have been closure cases against LGBTI associations during the AKP rule. However, the closure cases were rejected through European Union and European Court of Human Rights precedents. Therefore, the AKP government legally lost its struggle against LGBTI associations. Nevertheless, the LGBTI/Q associations’ legal demands have not been included in any law passed during the the AKP’s 11 years in power. The legal rights of LGBT people have been completely ignored.

Along with this, the AKP government continued to harass LGBTI people. The AKP’s former Minister of State responsible for Women and Family Affairs, Selma Aliye Kavaf, declared homosexuality to be a disease. In 2013, the AKP rejected the main opposition’s parties motion to establish an investigative commission for LGBTI people. While explaining the AKP’s policies on sexuality, MP Türkan Dağoğlu, reiterated that homosexuality is a disease and once again declared LGBTI people to be sick.