Source: Mustafa Eren, “LGBTİ Hapishanesine Yönelik Eleştirilerimiz ve Sorunun Çözümüne Dair Önerilerimiz” (“Our Critiques of the LGBTI Prison and Suggestions for Solving the Problem,”) 15 April 2014, http://lgbthapiste.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/lgbti-hapishanesine-iliskin-goruslerimiz-ve-onerilerimiz/
The Ministry of Justice responded to the Republican People’s Party Member of Parliament Veli Ağbaba’s inquiry by stating that they will establish a separate prison for inmates with “different sexual orientations.” This is not the first statement on this issue by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice had previously stated that “a special penal institution is being planned for those convicts and detainees in the condition of being LGBT.”
As the Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation (CISST), we conducted a research project “Inmates with Special Needs” between November 2012- November 2013. Within this research, we submitted an application, within the right to information, to the ministry regarding LGBTI inmates. The Ministry responded on 24 July 2013 declaring that they will establish a separate prison for LGBTI inmates. We shared this information with the public and stated our critique of the issue.
When the Ministry declared its plan, we submitted a new application asking when and where the prison would be established. Their answer from 16 September 2013 stated that “it is not certain where and when the penal institution would be established, however, the project continues.”
We think it is necessary to share our critiques with the public again.
Source: Damla Yur, “Eşcinsellere Ayrı Cezaevi Yolda” (“Towards Homosexual-Only Prisons”), Milliyet, 13 April 2014, http://gundem.milliyet.com.tr/escinsellere-ayri-cezaevi-yolda/gundem/detay/1866198/default.htm
Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ declared that there is an initiation to establish a special prison to hold prisoners and detainees with alternative sexual orientations. The prison plan received negative reactions for the reason that it would alienate LGBT individuals from social life…
The Ministry of Justice has begun the initiation for the establishment of a special LGBT prison for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual inmates who are, at the time, held in “pink wards.” Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ declared that the project has begun to build a prison to hold prisoners and detainees with alternative sexual orientations. This project, which has no precedent anywhere in the world, was met with criticism for reasons that it would “alienate LGBT individuals from socializing environments.”
First came the pink wards
Until recently, there were no specific practices to segregate prisoners or detainees with different sexual orientations. When transvestites or homosexuals committed a crime and were sent to prison, the prison administration would consult with the Ministry of Justice to inquire about the section to place these inmates through the method of “telephone diplomacy.” Due to some problems, the Ministry performed various changes in prison regulations and paved the way for the establishment of “pink wards” for inmates with different sexual orientations. A clause was added to the regulations stating that “prisoners with alternate sexual orientations would be placed in separate cells or wards.” This brought about a permanent solution in relation to the situation of prisoners and detainees with different sexual orientations in Turkey.
The problems of prisoners and detainees with different sexual orientations were then addressed through a parliamentary question. CHP (Republican People’s Party) deputy for Malatya Veli Ağbaba requested from Minister Bozdağ to reply to his parliamentary question which included the following: “It is a known fact that LGBT inmates are segregated from other prisoners for their own safety. Is the Ministry planning to work towards resolving this problem or will the Ministry turn a blind eye to the de facto isolation of LGBT individuals in prison?”