HDP

Lawyers Levent Pişkin and Cahit Kırkazak released

Detained LGBTI activist and lawyer Levent Pişkin and lawyer Cahit Kırkazak have been released on conditions of judicial control and restrictions on travelling abroad.

Source: Kaos GL, “Lawyers Levent Pişkin and Cahit Kırkazak released”, Kaos GL, 17 November 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22515

Detained after their meetings with arrested Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, LGBTI activist and Lawyer Levent Pişkin and lawyer Cahit Kırkazak have been released on conditions of judicial review and restrictions on travelling abroad by the Criminal Court of Peace in Bursa Courthouse.

In the scope of the same trial, interrogation of 7 other detainees sent to the court for arrest is continuing.

According to Evrensel’s news, lawyer and HDP Istanbul Provincial Administrator Levent Pişkin was accused with the allegations of “organizing the act to lobby internationally against our country by publishing a note regarding the HDP co-chair Demirtas’ arrest in the German Der Spiegel magazine” during his interrogation by the police.

Levent Pişkin said the following in his statement:

On November 5, as the party (HDP) lawyers, we met with Demirtas and other imprisoned parliamentarians in Edirne, Silivri, and Kandira prisons. On November 6, we organized a news conference for national and international press in HDP’s Istanbul Provincial Headquarters to announce the results of the meetings. After this meeting, international journalists asked questions in English. As the only lawyer who spoke English, I answered their questions.

After the meeting, two people from the German Der Spiegel asked me if I can bring a handwritten note by Demirtas with a message about his condition. I told them that I would not be going to Edirne prison this week but that if there is another friend (who’d go), I could tell them to relay their request to Demirtas.

I told Mr. Cahit that a German magazine asked for a handwritten note from the president (Demirtas) and asked him if he could or could not relay this message to the president and if the president agreed on a handwritten note, whether he could or could not bring that message. That’s the content of the conversation. There is no lobbying activity with any German magazine. The event is purely that I spoke with Mr. Cahit because I was by chance the only person in the provincial building who spoke English.

What happened?

Representing arrested HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, attorney Levent Pişkin was taken into custody during a house raid in Istanbul at around 5 a.m. on November 14.

Before the detention, allegations took place in media outlets such as Takvim, Sabah, Ulusal Kanal (sourcing state-run Anadolu news agency) that Pişkin and Kırkazak would send Demirtaş’s messages to a magazine  in Germany to be used for propaganda.

A social media action with #LeventPişkinYalnızDeğildir hashtags, meaning #LeventPiskinIsNotAlone was started. Libertarian Lawyers’ Association (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Derneği) where he’s a member, Center for Truth Justice Memory and Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee made statements about his detention.

His alma mater Boğaziçi University and Solidarity Network with Arrested Students (Tutuklu Öğrencilerle Dayanışma Ağı) published messages of support for him.

His detention was also covered in the international media. The Paris Bar Association granted Pişkin honorary membership.

Turkey’s state-run news agency story on Lawyer Levent Piskin

A magazine in Germany asked for a message to Europe and Germany from the HDP’s Co-President Demirtas through a lawyer who would visit him in prison for the purposes of propaganda.

Source: Uğur Ulu, “Alman dergisi propaganda için Demirtaş’tan mesaj istemiş”, (“German magazine asked for a message from Demirtas for propaganda”), Anadolu Agency, 12 November 2016, http://aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/alman-dergisi-propaganda-icin-demirtastan-mesaj-istemis/683979

It has been found that a magazine in Germany asked for a note from the HDP’s (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Co-President Selahattin Demirtas for propaganda in Europe and Germany.

According to information gathered by Anadolu Agency reporter, the Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the detention of lawyer C.K. who has been tracked for a while in relation to the investigation on terror organization PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

C.K., a lawyer in Bursa, was detained by the Provincial Police Headquarters Anti-Terror Unit in the morning on Monday, 7 November.

It has been learned that C.K. was planning to visit the HDP’s Co-president Demirtas in Edirne F Type Prison where he has been imprisoned and that C.K. announced this to some administrators.

It has been recorded that lawyer L.P., who is an administrator in the HDP’s Istanbul district presidency, contacted C.K. upıon finding out that C.K. would visit Demirtas and informed him of the German magazine’s request.

It has been determined that the German magazine requested “a handwritten note by Demirtas, with a message addressing Europe and Germany.” for propaganda purposes.

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Committee on Lawyer and Activist Levent Piskin’s detention 

Levent Pişkin, an activist of LGBTI+ movement, Pride Week volunteer, an active member of the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (Özgürlükçü Hukukçular Derneği – ÖHD) and a human rights advocate, was detained illegally after a raid to his home.

Levent Pişkin, previously sued by the President on an insult case, has always continued his solidarity with our friends, actively struggling against all policies of repression and intimidation, with his open LGBTI identity.

We have recently been witnessing a witch hunt against all opposition groups in the disguise of combatting the network of Fethullah Gulen known as the Fethullah Gulenist terror organization (FETO), which is blamed by the government for masterminding the 15 July failed coup. Earlier this month, the co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party or HDP were arrested along with eight other parliamentarians on terror-related charges. Last Friday, the Ministry of Interior announced the shut down of 370 associations with alleged links to terror groups; among them were associations fighting for the rights of women, children and LGBTI+.

Levent Pişkin was detained after being targeted by pro-government media through stories that claimed “a German magazine” would write “propaganda” on behalf of arrested HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş. This detention is an extension of the attacks against the client-attorney relationship and the right to be defended by a lawyer. Neither the meeting of a lawyer with his/her client nor explaining these meetings to local or foreign press constitutes a criminal act!

This illegal practice of investigation and detention is a deliberate violation of the right to defense and to fair trial.

We call upon all those who resist, to come together and to speak out more.

Levent Pişkin is not alone, we will be following the judicial process!

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee

istanbulpride@gmail.com

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.

Turkey’s Former Minister of Interior: ‘Gay marriage is the destruction of humanity’

The former Minister of Interior and current candidate for parliament running with the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] from Erzurum, opposed gay marriage on TGRT TV News program and said that “the tribe of Lot” was destroyed because of this.

Source: “Efkan Ala da hedef gösterme peşinde: Eşcinsel evlilik insanlığın helakıdır” (“Efkan Ala is also intent on pointing people out as targets: ‘Gay marriage is the destruction of humanity’”), Birgün, 2 June 2015, http://www.birgun.net/haber-detay/efkan-ala-da-hedef-gosterme-pesinde-escinsel-evlilik-insanligin-helakidir-82104.html

The former Minister of Interior and current candidate for parliament running with the AKP [Turkey’s ruling party] from Erzurum, opposed gay marriage on TGRT TV News program and said that “the tribe of Lot” was destroyed because of this.

Pointing Barış Sulu, the HDP’s Eskişehir LGBTI MP candidate, as a target[1], he said:

“For God’s sake, look at these candidates that the HDP put forth. I can’t even bring myself to say it. They have put forth candidates that our citizen [sic] cannot accept.”

Efkan Ala continued:

“Our Kurdish brothers are religious people. For God’s sake, look at these candidates that the HDP put forth. I can’t even bring myself to say it. They have put forth candidates that our citizen [sic] cannot accept. I mean let me say this, they have put forth a transvestite candidate. They put forth homosexuals as candidates. In its election declaration, the HDP says that these [sic] will be afforded all sorts of rights, of the right of a man to marry and be with a man and of the right of a woman to marry and be with a woman. We are saying that we are against such things on topics that our morality our tradition rejects. What is this, a man marrying a man, a woman marrying a woman. The tribe of Lot was destroyed because of this[1]. That is, this is the destruction of humanity.”


[1] Turkey has a history of political violence, hate crimes, and political assassinations that followed a governmental authority figure and/or mainstream media singling out a person or a group out as rightfully injurable with impunity. -Trans.

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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AKP’s Yasin Aktay Criticizes the HDP for Gay Candidates

Dr. Yasin Aktay [of Turkey’s ruling party AKP] went after the HDP using its gay candidates and said “it is impossible for Muslim society to affirm man’s marriage to man.”

Source: Suat Bilim, “Prof. Dr. Aktay, Pervari de HDP’ye Yüklendi” (“Dr. Aktay goes after the HDP at Pervari”), Onedio, 30 May 2015, http://onedio.com/haber/prof-dr-aktay-pervari-de-hdp-ye-yuklendi-517675

Yasin Aktay[1], the AKP’s Deputy Chairman and MP candidate for Siirt, spoke to Pervarians as part of his election campaign and, referring to the HDP’s gay candidates, said “it is impossible for Muslim society to affirm man’s marriage to man.”

Aktay, who told that his party’s candidate list also includes candidates of Armenian, Alevi, and many other backgrounds and that the AKP is the party for all sects living in this country, said:

“But if talk about we the Kurds and fill your [candidate] list with elements [sic] that Kurds cannot accept, they will ask you who are you [sic]. Above all you are a child of the Muslim and Kurds are Muslim and if Muslims has three homosexual people, people who defend men’s marriage with men in their list, I will ask you who are you [sic]. You are not one of us we do not recognize man’s marriage with man. And I do not know a Kurd who will accept something like this. They were saying that the Turkish State assimilated Kurds but there exists no bigger assimilation than this. You have transformed the Kurd’s [sic] belief and language into something else and now will you change the Kurd’s [sic] sexuality too? Firstly the Kurdish society is a Muslim society. It is impossible for the Muslim society to affirm man’s marriage to man.”

Onedio’s Disclaimer: “This content is listed only on the profile of the user who created it. This content has been produced by a user who is a member of Onedio and has not been intervened by Onedio editors.”


[1] Yasin Aktay is AKP’s Foreign Affairs Deputy Chairman. According to his profile at AKP’s website, he received his PhD from METU’s Department of Sociology in 1997 and is currently employed at Yıldırım Beyazıt University’s Department of Sociology. He was previously seen on a leaked video clip from May 2015, claiming that Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency was carrying weapons to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). -Trans

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

chp-ve-hdpden-homolara-destek-h1432665300

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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Barış Sulu: “I chose the HDP, because LGBTIs have been in the HDP since the beginning”

The HDP’s [Peoples’ Democratic Party] parliamentary candidate Barış Sulu: “I chose the HDP, because LGBTIs have been in the HDP since the beginning. It’s not a newly added group to the party.”

Source: Ali Kemal Akan, “HDP’yi seçtim çünkü LGBTI’liler baştan beri varlar” (“I chose the HDP, because LGBTIs have been in the HDP since the beginning”), Anadolu Agency, 25 May 2015, http://www.aa.com.tr/tr/rss/516349–hdp-yi-sectim-cunku-lgbtililer-bastan-beri-varlar

Barış Sulu, the HDP’s LGBTI candidate for Eskişehir, remarked, “I chose the HDP, because LGBTI individuals have been in the HDP since the beginning. It’s not a newly added group to the party.”

In an interview with the Anadolu Agency [Turkey’s semi-official news agency], Sulu noted that he has been working on LGBTI rights, and has been involved in LGBTI associations since 1998.

sulu-jpg20150525165852

Sulu said that he discussed the candidacy with his boyfriend and family when the HDP offered to nominate him. “I’m open to my family. I’m not in the closet. I received the greatest support from my family and my boyfriend as the process moved along. I spoke with my friends from the HDP; I consulted them a lot.”

Nominated by the HDP as the sixth parliamentary candidate for the Eskişehir province, Sulu remarked that he’s not new to politics.

“I’ve been working on LGBTI issues for the last 17 years. I believe that I start doing politics automatically the moment I say ‘I’m here.’ I started my political life the moment I said ‘I’m gay, I live in this country, and I’m not going anywhere. I start my struggle right here.’”

Sulu noted that his candidacy will pave the way for more LGBTI candidacies in future elections even if he is not elected this term: “In four years, elections will turn into something completely different. There may be more than just one gay man; there may be a lesbian candidate, a trans candidate. Things can be completely different in four years from now.”

Sulu reiterated the fact that he’s been in the HDP since the time when the organization was known as the HDK: “I chose the HDP, because LGBTI individuals have been in the HDP since the beginning. It’s not a newly added group. During the HDK phase, Ertuğrul Kürkçü would say “We’re here, you’re welcome here” in 22 languages in his speeches, because 22 different languages are spoken in this country. LGBTIs were present in that process. All these different identities were already together. They have been in the process since the very beginning.”

Noting that CHP has also intensified its LGBTI work, Sulu said, “I’ve been to the Parliament often, because I’ve been involved in LGBTI activism for years. I’ve participated in meetings to express our issues. CHP places a lot of parliamentary questions about LGBTIs and so does the HDP. Unfortunately, there aren’t any other parties that produce knowledge about LGBTIs, support them, or acknowledge that LGBTIs are being discriminated against.”

Sulu commented that he had incorrectly expected the CHP to nominate an LGBTI candidate for the upcoming elections, though Anadolu Party nominated one in Izmir.

Sulu was informed about his candidacy through a phone call that he received from the HDP headquarters. “Demirtaş is already talking about the rights of LGBTI individuals. He asserted, ‘If this is a risk, then we’re taking that risk.’ The HDP has an LGBTI committee, just like a women’s committee and a youth committee. It’s in a state of dialogue. We have an election manifesto, a section of which reads ‘We’re the rainbow.’ This is a pamphlet that has been distributed to all provinces for all the party members to read and learn from.”

Sulu notes that 85 percent of Turkey’s population does not want to see an LGBTI candidate: “I have been in Diyarbakır several times. There’s a different atmosphere there. The perception of LGBTIs doesn’t change wherever you go. Maybe the current process will soften that perception. It will help people understand more. We’re being killed despite our right to live. That’s what we’re talking about. We say, we can’t receive an education, we’re kicked out of schools, we experience bullying. We experience a whole other set of issues at hospitals. We can’t find work. People are forced to do different kinds of work. They are pushed to the margins of society. We’re trying to talk about these issues and I believe that our voice is heard here and there.”

Star News: “Vile propaganda from the HDP’s homosexual candidate”

Translator’s Note: As Turkey’s June 7 general elections approach, there is an increasing use of LGBTI by the governing Justice and Development Party representatives and pro-government media to criticize the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party. We have provided a verbatim translation of an article on openly gay candidate for parliament Barış Sulu, which appeared in pro-government media. Note that the word “faggot” has been reclaimed by LGBTIs in Turkey and is not considered an insult as exemplified by activist Levent Pişkin’s case and subsequent statements by LGBTI associations.

Source: Star, “HDP’li eşcinsel adaydan rezil propaganda!”, “Vile propaganda from the HDP’s homosexual candidate”, Star, 22 May 2015, http://haber.star.com.tr/politika/hdpnin-escinsel-adayindan-rezil-propaganda/haber-1030697

The HDP’s [Peoples’ Democratic Party], which claims to be Turkey’s party, candidate for parliament from Eskişehir, Barış Sulu, who is an LGBTI member is drawing a big reaction due to his election propaganda with swear words. Sulu questions the morality of people who are uncomfortable with two men kissing.

The HDP, which is trying to create the image of being a party of Turkey to cross the 10 percent threshold, has promised to recognize and create social policies for LGBTIs which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. As a reflection of this promise, it put forth LGBTI member Barış Sulu as a candidate for parliament from Eskişehir in the 6th rank. Once his candidacy was declared, HDP’s candidate for parliament Barış Sulu started writing messages on Twitter that begin with “I am a f****t” to make a propaganda for the widening of LGBTIs rather than the HDP. Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has criticized the HDP’s LGBTI attitude, which is no longer a life choice of Barış Sulu but rather a propaganda that imposes on everyone to accept [LGBTI].

Time for Propaganda with Swear Words

The HDP’s homosexual candidate for parliament Barış Sulu was presented to Turkey with a Hürriyet newspaper interview titled “A woman, a man and a gay marriage” and he is after a homosexuality propaganda on Twitter. Instead of asking for votes for the HDP, Sulu makes the propaganda “Recognize our sexual orientation” and wants people to react normally to men kissing. He approaches homosexuality using the swear word f*g and does not abstain from insulting all homosexuals. While doing this, Barış Sulu also uses religious elements in his propaganda.

Gathering votes with the call to prayer lie

Barış Sulu wrote a Twitter message saying “If two men kissing bothers you more than two men killing each other, then you need to urgently question your moral understanding” and then hunted for votes by taking refuge in religious elements by saying “Call to prayer and prayer delayed by 50 minutes because Erdoğan was speaking”. In another message he insults all homosexuals by saying “I know very well that I am a f****t, please rise from the primary school level and be more creative, know yourself, relax and come out”.

Is this how to become a party of Turkey?

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has also reacted against the HDP’s homosexuality propaganda through Barış Sulu. Akdoğan reminded that “the HDP claims to “become a party of Turkey” and said, “How can a party that says (I will become a party of Turkey) have a terror organization in its substitutes? One municipal leader gets up and says, “there was a pontic genocide and Turkey massacred 350 thousand people”. So you will become a party of Turkey by talking about the Armenian genocide, the pontic genocide and insult your own country? They put forth homosexual candidates and are defending homosexual marriage. Will the HDP become a party of Turkey by defending this?”

Our Governmental Authorities and Lesbians

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made a statement to imply that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has very little chance of passing the election threshold [and thus of getting elected in the parliament]. He said, “… additionally, the HDP received votes from different under-represented groups. That is, it was voted for by electoral groups such as lesbians, bisexuals, trans who say ‘I cannot find an opportunity to be represented in other parties’.” The comment was made in January 2015.

Since his goal was to portray the HDP as an unelectable political party in the eyes of his constituents, could there be a reason why the word “lesbian” was more seductive to him than the word “homosexual?”

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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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Deputy Prime Minister claims lesbians [and Kurds] not part of society!

Discriminatory claims by Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan:

“The HDP [general elections] declaration mentions Kurds 8 times, lesbians 9 times. Is this the Turkish society?”

Yalcin Akdogan

Yalçın Akdoğan

Kaos GL, “Başbakan Yardımcısı, lezbiyenlerin [ve Kürtlerin] toplumun parçası olmadığını iddia etti!” [“Deputy Prime Minister claims lesbians [and Kurds] not part of society!”], 23 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19254

With the approach of the general elections [in Turkey], the forcefulness of the disputes among politicians began increasing. In the meantime, homophobia is in the foreground in the government’s “criticisms” against opposition parties.

While the AKP government has taken no constructive steps towards resolving issues pertaining to discrimination, hate crimes, and rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, its representatives continue producing discriminatory, homophobic, and transphobic commentary.

According to a news release by the [semi-official] Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan evaluated HDP’s general elections declaration during an AKP District Advisory Council meeting at the Elmadağ Public Education Center.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan claimed that HDP’s general elections declaration is not representative of the Turkish society, claiming:

“[They declare] ‘I will abolish religion courses, I will abolish the [Directorate of] Religious Affairs, I will abolish this and that,” they supposedly will recognize the Armenian genocide. You, how will you be a Turkish [political] party? They mention Kurd [sic] 8 times in their declaration and 9 times lesbians and stuff. Is this the Turkish society?”

The HDP Istanbul candidates sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge

SPoD LGBTI is circulating an LGBTI Rights Pledge, part of the “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign, for signatures in the run-up to the June 7th parliamentary elections in Turkey. The first signatories to the Pledge are HDP’s women candidates who proclaimed “We are the Rainbow.”

In the run-up to the parliamentary elections to be held on June 7th, the Istanbul based LGBTI advocacy group SPoD (Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) is circulating the LGBTI Rights Pledge to be signed by parliamentary candidates. Representatives of SPoD LGBTI drafted the LGBTI Rights Pledge as part of their “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign. The campaign was started in February in order to demand the active inclusion of LGBTI individuals in decision and policy making processes. SPoD representatives visited the HDP [People’s Democracy Party], whose female candidates for Istanbul signed the Pledge. The candidates had previously included a section in their election manifesto called “We are the Rainbow.”

Are you ready to defend LGBTI rights?

The participants of the meeting, which was held in the HDP Istanbul Province Building, included Istanbul 2nd District parliamentary candidates Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Gülsüm Ağaoğlu, İnciser Alptekin, Elif Sırlıoğlu, Istanbul 3rd District parliamentary candidates Hülya İmak and Elif Bulut as well as  representatives from SPoD.

SPoD LGBTI Political Representation Field Coordinator Sezen Yalçın underlined the importance of the section “We are the Rainbow” in the HDP’s election manifesto for the LGBTI and asked the parliamentary candidates: “Are you ready to defend the LGBTI rights?” Lawyer Filiz Kerestecioğlu, the HDP candidate from the 2nd District, read out loud the LGBTI Rights Pledge and said: “We became candidates in order to carry the voices of the street and their struggles into the parliament.”

Gülsüm Ağaoğlu described the HDP election manifesto as a poem of human rights rather than a mere promise, and stated that, as a party open to all the colors of the rainbow, it is their goal to implement the demands outlined in the Pledge. Imak said, “When ‘we’ are in the parliament, you will be there as well. We are not your representatives, but are the voices of all those who have been victimized.” Bulut, Alptekin and Sırlıoğlu signed the Pledge and added that it is their wish to see a political environment where everyone can coexists while enjoying their rights and their identities without the need for such a pledge.

SPoD’s eyes are on the parliamentary representatives

SPoD LGBTI calls on the parliamentary candidates to embrace a political position that guarantees the LGBTI rights and freedoms and will share with the public the names of  parliamentary candidates who sign the pledge. If the candidates get elected in the upcoming parliamentary election, SPoD will hold them accountable to their pledge through monitoring their work in the new legislative period.

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