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.”

(more…)

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.”

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[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