“Instead of a Separate Prison, Conditions in Current Ones Should Be Improved”

Source: “LGBTİ’lere Ayrı Cezaevi Yerine Koşulları İyileştirsinler” (“Instead of a Separate Prison, Conditions in Current Ones Should Be Improved”) Kaosgl.com, 20 April 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16376

The debate for “separate prisons” for LGBTI inmates continues. “Isolation is already a part of prison life. Their priority should be preventing harassment of inmates by correctional officers”, “Instead of a separate prison, conditions in existing ones should be improved.”

The public discussion on the project to build separate prisons for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) individuals still continues in the press.  A reporter from the daily “Milliyet”, Aydil Durgun, asked the organizations Kaos GL, Hêvî LGBTİ, T-Der and SPoD LGBT for their thoughts on the debate started by the Ministry of Justice.

“Isolation is already a part of prison life”

Hayriye KARA, Attorney at Law (Kaos GL): “In Turkish Prisons, LGBTI individuals are already segregated due to their sexual orientations and sexual identities. They are, in a way, re-imprisoned in the prison population. Especially trans inmates are segregated citing “security” concerns. They are isolated, shunned and deprived of social activities. They are also kept from working; thus, left without income for personal items during their sentence.  Besides, Turkey has already been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for its present treatment of LGBTI inmates.”

“There is no mention of rights violations committed by correctional officers.”

“Planning a separate prison project for LGBTI inmates before even considering improving the existing conditions in prisons is only a step to further isolate LGBTI individuals from society. Instead of combating social prejudices and striving for the human rights of LGBTI individuals, the government plans to build a separate prison not unlike a concentration camp citing ‘the security of LGBTI people.’

There is no mention of rights violations by correctional officers or ways to fight these occurrences in the project description. This proves their sincerity on the so-called ‘security’ aspect. A separate LGBTI prison is only another way to isolate, brand, expose and discriminate. This application is brazenly in violation of human rights as well as local and international laws. It is the institutionalization of the discrimination against LGBTI individuals.”


LGBTI Activist Recounts Homophobic Harassment During Detention

Source: Yıldız Tar, “LGBTİ Aktivisti Gözaltında Homofobik Tacizi Anlattı,” (“LGBTI Activist Recounts Homophobic Harassment during Detention,”) Kaos GL, 26 February 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15914

A demonstration took place in Taksim on February 22, 2014 against Internet censorship. The police attacked the protesters with tear gas and took many of them into custody. Among the detainees was Hevi LGBTI member Sezer Yekta. Yekta was taken into custody with the justification that he was in possession of a rainbow flag. He was assaulted and was subjected to homophobic harassment by the police.

Sezer Yekta recounts that night and what he experienced:

Yes, I was among those detained on February 22 during the demonstrations against Internet censorship.

We were in Taksim around 7 PM. The square itself appeared calm. We began to walk and ran into some leftist protesters with flags. This was probably around the store MANGO. Seeing them gave me courage and I took out the rainbow flag that I had folded up in my bag. As I was trying to attach the flag to its handle, I found myself abruptly surrounded by police terror – without any notice or warning. Those who had the chance to escape had already run away. I, on the other hand, was in the arms of two creatures. I vaguely remember that they took the rainbow flag and stomped on it.


“Back up your husband and we will take care of you”

Source: Damla Yur, “Kocanı destekle biz sana bakarız,” (“Back up your husband and we will take care of you,”) Milliyet, 13 February 2014, http://m.milliyet.com.tr/News/Article?ID=1836005

Roşin Çiçek who lived in Diyarbakır, was killed in 2012 with the justification that he had homosexual tendencies. The court case resulted with his father and two uncles being sentenced to life in prison. The family’s conversation as they admitted to the murder during the court case was appalling.

Roşin Çiçek lived in Diyarbakır and he was killed in 2012 with the justification that he had homosexual tendencies. His struggle to survive, which was ultimately unsuccessful, was revealed among the statements and documents collected during the investigation. According to the documents in his file, the incidents proceeded as follows: Roşin was a young man with homosexual tendencies who was subjected to domestic violence. Roşin was not the only person in the family who had to put up with domestic violence; his three siblings and mother also suffered from time to time.


Call to Roşin Çiçek Hearing: Just to Spite Hate, Long Live Life

Roşin Çiçek was found wounded following a tip-off on 02.07.2012 at the corner of the Diyarbakır Research and Education Hospital on the road to Elazığ and passed away on 04.07.2012 in the Dicle University Hospital. The autopsy report, requested by the Prosecutor’s Office, revealed that Roşin Çiçek died due to being wounded by a firearm and the bullet’s entry point on the victim’s head revealed that the firearm administered a contact shot. His father and two uncles are on trial for murder. The motivation behind the murder is homophobia.

“It is difficult to say I am Kurdish and Gay!”

Source: İpek İzci, “Kürdistanlı Bir Eşcinselim Demek Zor!,” (“It is difficult to say I am Kurdish and gay”) Radikal, 22 October 2013, http://www.radikal.com.tr/hayat/kurdistanli_bir_escinselim_demek_zor-1156541

There is a new LGBT entity in Turkey: Hêvî LGBTI. The activists of Hêvî talk about the first and only Kurdish LGBT association in Istanbul…

“The experience of sharing during the Gezi Resistance, that solidarity, and people truly embracing each other made us hopeful for a humane and mutual life,” says Asya as she explains why they named the first and only Kurdish LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex) initiative in Istanbul as Hêvî LGBTI. “Hêvî” is Kurdish for “hope.”

Hêvî LGBTI Initiative was founded by a group of friends who met in the LGBT Block during the Gezi Resistance. They established the initiative formally on 1 September 2013, coinciding with the World Peace Day. However, the real founding day is 22 September 2013 when the manifesto was declared. One of the activists, Asya, is from Diyarbakır, the others are from Mardin, Siirt, and Van… But, it would be wrong to assume that Hêvî LGBTI Initiative is composed only of Kurdish people. Hêvî LGBTI Initiative concentrates on geography rather than ethnicity. There are Turkish activists among them as well.