Homosexuality and the military

Reply from Ministry of National Defense to Parliamentary Question by Sebahat Tuncel

Source: İsmet Yılmaz, “Yazılı Soru Önergesinin Cevabı,” “Reply to the Written Parliamentary Question,” 5 July 2012, http://www2.tbmm.gov.tr/d24/7/7-7088sgc.pdf

Republic of Turkey

Ministry of National Defense, Ankara

Date: 05.07.2012

To the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Speaker’s Office:

About: Document entitled “Parliamentary Question” from the Grand National Assembly with date 21 May 2012 and number A.01.0.KKB.

Please find attached in Supplement-A the reply to Istanbul Deputy Sebahat Tuncel’s Parliamentary Question (number 7/7088) addressing the Minister of National Defense.

Kindly submitted for your information,

İsmet Yılmaz

Minister of National Defense


1.     There are no current projects towards abolishing mandatory military service or towards recognizing conscientious objection as a legal right.

2.     There are no statistics kept in relation to those who have declared different sexual orientations during medical examinations and requested “Unfit for Military Service” reports in the past years.


BDP Sebahat Tuncel’s Parliamentary Question on the Military

Source: Sebahat Tuncel, “Soru Önergesi,” “Parliamentary Question,” 3 May 2012, http://www2.tbmm.gov.tr/d24/7/7-7088s.pdf

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Peace and Democracy Party
No: 992
Date: 03.05.2012

To the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Speaker’s Office:

I request that the Minister of National Defense Mr. İsmet Yılmaz provide written replies to the questions I hereby submit, in accordance with the 98th bylaw of the Constitution and the 99th bylaw of the Standing Orders.

Sebahat Tuncel,

Istanbul Deputy

Mandatory military service has been abolished in nearly every European country, yet it continues in Turkey today. Many youths are against the mandatory military system for conscientious, political or belief-related reasons, by objecting to militarism or due to their sexual orientation. The right to object to mandatory military service is included in international agreements and it is recognized as a “right” in law. However, such objection is still viewed as a crime in Turkey. Those who suffer most in relation to this are young men who wish not to serve in the military due to their sexual orientation. Unlike the respect they receive in democratic countries, in Turkey, those with different sexual orientations are considered to have “character disorders.” They are subjected to pressure and othering by the state and multiple sectors of society.


Objectionable homosexuals will not serve in the military!

Source: Murat Gürgen, “‘Sakıncalı’ eşcinseller askere gitmeyecek!,” (“Objectionable homosexuals will not serve in the military!,”) Haberturk, 06 February 2013, http://www.haberturk.com/polemik/haber/817610-sakincali-escinseller-askere-gitmeyecek

And photos will not be required…

Alterations made in the Turkish Armed Forces Health Legislation have been published in the Official Gazette, the official publication of the Turkish state. A new regulation has been issued regarding the status of homosexuals, a topic which has recently been under heated debate. The new regulations state that if homosexual tendencies have been present throughout the individual’s life and if this situation can cause “objections” during his military service he would be given certificate being deemed “unfit to serve in the military” and exempted from service.


Kaos GL’s Military Brochure for Homosexuals

Source: Kaos GL, “Eşçinseller için Askerlik Broşürü: Eşcinseller ve Askerlik Sorunları ve Bu Konu ile İlgili Yasal Mevzuat,” (“Military Brochure for Homosexuals: The Problem of the Military and Homosexuality and the Legal Regulations,”) kaosGL.org, January 2013, http://www.kaosgldernegi.org/resim/yayin/dl/kaosgl_askerlik_brosuru.pdf

The Problem of the Military and Homosexuality and the Legal Regulations

The Call to the Military

According to Article 14 of the Military Code, the draft is the process of determining whether a person who has reached the age of military service is fit to serve in the military by checking their health, their education status, profession, and personal character.

Every October, the Ministry of Interior informs the Ministry of National Defense about the identification of people who have reached the age of military service.

The draft for people who reach the age of military service begins on 1 January every year and continues until the end of the summons and dispatch of that year’s soldiers.

The process begins when you are called to the military and declare your homosexuality to the command post you are attached to. Once you declare your intention to get a report, you are sent to the military hospital.