Justice and Development Party

AKP MP: “Homosexuality is one of the biggest threats”

AKP MP Ayşe Doğan made homophobic remarks at the TBMM Commission on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men: “Everybody knows that this can be one of the biggest threats to our society.”

Source: “AKP’li vekil: ‘Eşcinsellik en büyük tehditlerden biri,'” (“AKP MP: ‘Homosexuality is one of the biggest threats,'”) kaosGL.org, 17 February, 2016, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21120

TBMM [The Grand National Assembly of Turkey – Trans.] Commission on Equal Opportunity for Women and Men discussed, in yesterday’s meeting, the proposal that a Human Rights and Equality Foundation of Turkey should be formed as a subsidiary organ in order to focus on protecting and improving human rights based on individual’s dignity, to ensure their right to be treated equally, and to prevent discrimination in benefiting from lawful rights and freedom.

CHP and HDP were critical of the exclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity from the proposal

Based on the Turkish daily Hürriyet’s news, Candan Yüceer, Republican People’s Party (CHP) [opposition party – Trans.] Tekirdağ MP, stated that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals are faced with discrimination and killed. Yüceer further added that overlooking this problem, and interpreting the recommendations listed in the international agreements would mean ignoring the individuals who are being discriminated against.

Yüceer suggested that excluding sexual orientation and gender identity from the proposal would mean that “all will benefit from the lawful rights and freedom, except for those who are less equal.”

Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) [opposition party – Trans.] İstanbul MP, emphasized that sexual orientation and gender identity must be included in the proposal, and that turning a blind eye to these individuals would not simply make them disappear.

Homophobia from AKP MP

Ayşe Doğan, Justice and Development Party (AKP) [the ruling party – Trans.]  Tekirdağ MP, made the following homophobic remarks in response to Yüceer and Kerestecioğlu:

“There is no need to change our commission’s agenda by including a different subculture, with artificial sexual tendencies that are not in line with human nature and our society’s customs and traditions. Here, we discuss values in professional life as ladies and men. There is no point in bringing up [a] different group’s private life and their private gender identities in bedroom. Everybody knows that this can be one of the biggest threats to our society.”

Kerestecioğlu stated, upon hearing Doğan’s remarks, that she is “flabbergasted, and could not believe her ears,” and that she finds them utterly odd.

The AKP’s LGBTI history from 2001-2015

From “their rights must be legally protected” to the prevention of inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the constitution and to directly targeting LGBTI through references to “the tribe of Lot”… Here is the LGBTI history of the AKP from 2001-2015.

Source: 2001’den 2015’e AKP’nin LGBTI tarihi (“The AKP”s LGBTI history from 2001-2015”), Kaos GL, 2 September 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=20109

akplgbtmanset

We summarize the timeline that began in 2001 prior to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) tenure with the view that “legal protections are warranted for gay rights and freedoms.” This view gave way to the approach in the context of constitutional reform debates that said regarding homosexuality: “it is not this century’s problem” and finally we saw homosexuality denounced as immorality.  

The Justice and Development Party was founded on 14 August 2001 as a socially conservative Turkish political party. The AKP government followed moderate politics during the first period of their tenure and alleged to pursue a democratic and rights based approach regarding the LGBTI. In response to a question on a television program by Abbas Güçlü, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan replied, “Gays must have legal protections in terms of their rights and freedoms.”

2004: It is unnecessary to add sexual orientation!

The term sexual orientation which was included in the draft of the Turkish Penal Code through the efforts of LGBTI and feminist organizations was removed by the AKP government. The AKP government ended the prospect of preventing discrimination against LGBTI individuals. Cemil Çiçek, Justice Minister at the time, explained the rationale behind removing the term ‘sexual orientation’ from the draft of the Turkish Penal Code presented to the Parliament: “It is unnecessary to add sexual orientation because gender already covers it.”

2006: Wrong sexual preference!

Targeting a Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Dengir Mir Fırat, an AKP MP at the time, said:

He  talks as though he has the wrong sexual preference.

2007: Constitutional debates

Burhan Kuzu, Head of the Constitution Commission at the Turkish General Assembly and AKP MP said on 20 October 2007:

There is no such ruling [article banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation] in scientists’ texts. I have not received their letters yet; they will be considered when they are received. But at this point I do not expect the parliament to agree to it. It is presented as freedom, but there is yet no ground for this in Turkey. It does not appear to the kind of demand that would be approved by the Committee and the General Council. It is early for Turkey. The parliament cannot undertake a regulation without societal approval. Moreover no European constitution has it. Once we have the EU constitution we can see what to do.

Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, AKP MP, said on 20 October 2007: 

It is difficult for the constitution of 21st century; perhaps it would work for the 22nd century constitution. We have included in the draft what we call the third generation rights such as environmental rights. But this would be a fourth generation right. We have not considered such freedoms, and I doubt they would be accepted. There is no EU Constitution. Neither is there a consensus in Europe on this issue. Society will have to have a longer debate on this.

2008: “An AKP member who makes pledges to Dönmes [1]

Columnist Serdar Arsever from the Yeni Akit newspaper published an op-ed about the participation of Zafer Üskül [AKP MP] in a conference organized by Kaos GL in 2008 titled, “International Anti-homophobia Meeting.” In this op-ed, the author described Üskül as “an AKP MP who makes pledges to dönmes” and added:

He participates in the sexual perverts’ meeting! Excuse me…he appears in the meeting of f..ts (sic)!…And that was not enough…He proceeds up to the dais and points to the administration [AKP government] as “the guarantee that they would not be discriminated on the basis of their sexual preferences.’

In response to the concern expressed about the spread of the freedom to wear headscarves to high schools, AKP MP Burhan Kuzu stated:

We have received intense demands from homosexuals about equality and the right to marry as well. Are we going to give these rights because they want them? The public is not ready for this.

(28 January 2008, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/2008/01/28/siyaset/asiy.html)

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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.”

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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

HDP reacts to AKP parliamentarian Uçma, who declares that homosexuality can be prevented

Source: “Eşcinsellik önlenebilir” buyuran AKP’li Uçma’ya HDP’den tepki”, (“HDP reacts to AKP parliamentarian Uçma, who declares that “homosexuality can be prevented””), KaosGL.org, 01 February 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18613

Public morality, honor and customs of which Uçma speaks mean violence, pressure and death for LGBTIs and women.

HDP Women’s Coordination and HDP LGBTI Coordination condemned the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentarian İsmet Uçma’s words, which include discrimination against women and LGBTIs, in a common statement.

The statement of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is as follows:

The AKP Istanbul parliamentarian İsmet Uçma’s speech at the The Turkish Parliament’s (TBMM) Investigation Commission of Violence against Women is trying openly to legitimize discrimination against women and LGBTIs and the violence resulting from this discrimination. We learned about this from the assembly protocol which appeared in the media.*

The AKP Istanbul parliamentarian İsmet Uçma had also recently stated that “the neighborhood must claim its honor in violence against women” and he said to women that “if you were physically strong enough you would beat up men more than they beat you.” Besides, İsmet Uçma described male violence as “temporary rage” and said he does not approve the suspension of men from their home when they are in temporary rage. Many women are being killed under the caption of “honor” in this country and such advice from Uçma for avoiding violence against women in real life is not only not universal but it is also shameful. The best thing that the member of “Investigation Commission of Violence against Women” can do is maybe to deprive women of his stroke of genius. We do not approve that men put in an appearance in this commission and make decisions instead of women.

İsmet Uçma’s words about LGBTIs which are written in the protocol include discrimination, as well. Uçma, while stating that they don’t have any statistical information about the LGBTIs who are exposed to violence, also stated that they wish that homosexuality in society and even in humanity wouldn’t exist and that it can be prevented by propaganda. Uçma describes the existence of LGBTI as an “adverse sexuality preference” and as danger. Please be reminded that homosexuality is not a choice but an orientation. Whether Uçma likes it or not LGBTIs will exist in every field of life. Beyond any doubt, what is “adverse” according to Uçma is described within the frame of public morality, honor, customs and the norms that are located around these “values”. And all of these mean violence, pressure and death for women and LGBTIs.

What is dangerous and must not become widespread is the heterosexist, sexist and conservative mentality that is so openly demonstrated by Uçma. It is the monist opinion which desires everyone to be like himself and doesn’t respect the sexual identity of people.

We, as the women and LGBTIs of HDP condemn the AKP Istanbul parliamentarian İsmet Uçma’s statement that openly includes discrimination against women and LGBTIs and we expect an immediate apology from him. This attitude that is so distant from the responsibilities of a parliamentarian who is a member of the “Investigation Commission of Violence against Women” makes us once again question how safe we are as women and LGBTIs.

Contrary to the world that Uçma imagines, we will persistently pursue our struggle for women and LGBTIs rights and freedoms in order for them to live equally and freely.

*Translator’s Note: The relevant quote from İsmet Uçma:

We would not desire it but dear friends, we would wish that these things would not exist in our society, in humanity but we do not have any statistical information regarding events related to adverse sexuality preferences. It can this or that, it can be accepted or not accepted but it’s a fact of society. I find this important because: There are methods and means to prevent this, there can be suggestions for solutions that can be produced through our own codes different from the world. At least, its spread can be prevented if it does not come from society, meaning from birth and their human rights should also be protected. But we do not have any work or statistics on this. I think that at least, perhaps education or discourse can stop these facts of propaganda, reclamation, and promotion.

Black Pink Triangle Izmir Association Meets Justice and Development Party Representatives

Source: Eda Ebru Naneci, “AK Parti’den eşcinsel açılımı”, (“LGBT Initiative of the AK Party”), egemeclisi.com, 21 January 2015 , http://egemeclisi.com//politika/55300/ak_parti_den_escinsel_acilimi

Siyah Pembe Üçgen (Black Pink Triangle) Izmir Association, a homosexual organization, visited AK Party (Justice and Development Party) Public Relations Vice President Lütfi Tuna in his offices at the Ak Party Izmir Provincial Department.

As a part of their visits and meetings with non-governmental organizations, associations and political parties, the Black Pink Triangle Izmir Association of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies and Solidarity Against Discrimination organised a meeting with Vice President of Public Relations of the Ak Party in Izmir. Meeting the members of LGBTI (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex) association Black Pink Triangle in AK Party Izmir Provincial Department, Tuna said, “They took this step and we are glad. We welcomed them in our party.”

Our door is wide open

Tuna, saying that they talked in a casual manner during their visit: “If our party’s executive council takes decisions and plans projects, we will announce them in the following periods. They did not have any demands from our party. We just got to know each other. These are important activities. Our party welcomes all sections of society. Our doors are wide open to all people.”

We listened to them and took the necessary notes…

Tuna emphasized that they talked about problems experienced by many sections of society and added that the state and the nation have the power to act on this. Tuna said, “They shared with us the problems they experience. The problems they mention are common problems of most parts of the society. We will definitely take actions regarding these problems. Our state and our nation are strong enough to do this. We will try to do what is necessary. We have the congress ahead and these issues will be talked in more detail after the congress. They talked about the projects our Government carries out with the European Union. They told us about the problems they experience. And we listened and took the necessary notes. This was an introductory meeting,” said Tuna.

Police Detain Trans Women in Malatya on Grounds of ‘Reasonable Suspicion!’

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Malatya’da translara yönelik ‘makul şüphe’ gözaltısı!” (“Police Interns Trans Women in Malatya on Grounds of ‘Reasonable Suspicion!’”), KaosGL.org, December 19, 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18297

Police Detain Trans Women in Malatya on grounds of “Reasonable suspicion!”

Police conducted house raids on the residences of trans women in Malatya. One trans woman was forced out of a taxi and taken into custody. Local sources speculate that the new “reasonable suspicion” standard on police searches is the reason behind the recently increased pressure on trans women.

After the Legislative Package 6572 – a series of amendments to various laws on Judicial Procedures, also known as the “judicial package” by the public – was signed into law by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, trans women’s homes were raided before they were taken into custody. One trans woman was also forced out of a cab before being apprehended by the police.

The law, which reduced the standard of “strong suspicion” for police searches to “reasonable suspicion”, was criticized by public figures as a step towards becoming a “police state.”

House Raids and Apprehension from Taxi

As the public debate on the new law continues, trans women’s homes were raided yesterday (December 18th, 2014). Two trans women were arrested by the police under allegations of “prostitution.” The same day, another trans woman was forced out of a taxi before being taken to a police station.

Insult and Psychological Abuse at the Police Station

Emir Çoban, a member of the Malatya Youth Initiative against Homophobia and Transphobia, says the police applied psychological abuse and insulted the apprehended women repeating such slurs as, “Do you get your ass fucked? Are you a fag? Are you queer?”

After anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia activists showed up at the police station and demanded that their friends be released, the trans women were allowed to leave.

The right to shelter is being infringed upon

Çoban, in his assessment for KaosGL.org, told of the increasing pressure on trans sex workers in Malatya. Çoban protested, “they used to raid houses during the night, but now they do it in broad daylight.” Çoban reported that the police raided at least one trans home every week and apprehended the residents.

Çoban added that these raids infringed on trans women’s right to shelter and housing. He said, “We have to constantly change homes.”

According to Çoban, the increase in raids and apprehensions might be connected to the new “reasonable suspicion” standard.

AK Party’s Memecan: We must enable all to exist with their own diversity

Source: “AKP’li Memecan: Herkesin kendi farklılığı ile var olmasını sağlamalıyız” (“AK Party member Memecan: We must enable all to exist with their own diversity”) KAOS GL, 24 November 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18039

Nursuna Memecan, of the ruling Justice and Development Party, and Binnaz Toprak, of the Republican People’s Party, attended a conference, organized by the European Parliament, concerning protecting LGBTI persons from discrimination on 20-21 November 2014. Speaking to kaosGL.org, Memecan made the following statements concerning the rights of disadvantaged groups:

Mesude-Nursuna-Memecan-Erhan
“It is necessary for everyone to be able to live with dignity”

“It is necessary for the rights of all disadvantaged groups to be granted. It is necessary for all to be able to live freely, without feeling pressure on themselves and to live with dignity. It is necessary that both the Roma people and the disabled can live with dignity, that no one look upon them with pity.”
“We may love someone or we may not, but we are obligated to have respect”

“This applies likewise to LGBT persons as well. Not out of pity; we need to perceive that there is an equal human being in front of us. For this reason, we need to learn respect for one another. Whether to love or even not to love someone is not important; you know how people always say, ‘Let us all love another’; this is not at all necessary; we need to have respect. We may love someone or we may not, but we are obligated to have respect.”

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