Levent Pişkin

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

LGBTI Activist Lawyer Levent Pişkin detained in Turkey

One of the attorneys of recently arrested HDP Co-Leader Selahattin Demirtaş was detained after being targeted by the pro-government media.

Editor’s Note: The co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested along with eight other parliamentarians in November. HDP is the third largest party in Parliament with 59 elected lawmakers. The lawmakers were arrested on terror-related charges pending trial. Turkey’s government accuses the HDP of being the political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decades-long insurgency against the state. The party rejects the accusation.

Source: “LGBTI Aktivisti Avukat Levent Pişkin Gözaltına Alındı” (LGBTI Activist Lawyer Leven Pişkin is detained), kaosgl.org, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=22488, November 14, 2016

Levent Pişkin, who is a lawyer, LGBTI activist and an HDP Istanbul administrator, had recently visited HDP Co-Leader Selahattin Demirtaş in prison and was detained early this morning.

leventpiskin1

Special operations police units arrived at Pişkin’s house in Kurtuluş, Istanbul around 05.00 a.m and confiscated some of Pişkin’s belongings from his room after detaining him.

Pişkin, a member of Libertarian Jurists Association (ÖHD), which is among the 370 associations ordered to halt their activities, is a renowned human rights advocate. ÖHD announced Pişkin’s detention on Twitter:

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-13-11-20

Libertarian Jurists Association Istanbul Branch: “Our member, HDP Istanbul administrator Lawyer Leven Pişkin was detained during early morning, after being targeted by the pro-government media.”

Pişkin had visited his client Demirtaş as a lawyer and was targeted by Sabah daily (sourcing state-run Anadolu news agency) with the following statements:

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.

Levent Pişkin was detained by the orders of Bursa Public Prosecutor’s Office and is being taken to Bursa.

Lawyer C.K. was detained based on the same allegations on November 7 and was later released.

Lawyer Levent Pişkin also represents LGBTI associations and takes part in Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee. He represents Istanbul Pride March and Pride Week.

Erdoğan Finds Fine Too Low in “Faggot” Case, Gets 10 Thousand Liras Extra

LGBTI activist and lawyer Levent Pişkin will pay President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 10 thousand liras more in fines because of his “fag” tweet for which he was already convicted last year.

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Erdoğan Finds Fine Too Little in “Faggot” Case, Gets 10 Thousand Liras Extra”, Bianet, 16 April 2015, http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/163848-erdogan-finds-fine-too-little-in-faggot-case-gets-10-thousand-liras-extra

When PM Erdoğan’s stated, “If Alevilik [alawism] is about loving Ali, I’m a perfect Alevi,” Pişkin tweeted the response, “Waiting for PM to declare, ‘I am a perfect fag. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you. Kisses. #AnayasadaLGBT [LGBT in the constitution]”

A case was subsequently filed against Pişkin for “insult, slander or heavy provocation of a public official for their public service.” Ultimately convicted, he was sentenced to pay 1,500 liras [$560] in lieu of 2 months and 15 days in prison. The announcement of the verdict had been adjourned.

After winning the criminal case, Erdoğan had filed a civil suit for damages against Pişkin, demanding to be paid an additional 50 thousand liras [$18,500].

In the court session today, Erdoğan’s lawyer Ferah Yıldız argued that the 1500 lira fine in the previous verdict was not enough, and asked for an additional 50 thousand liras in damages. “My client received other assaults to his legal person because the monetary fine given in the criminal case was too little and my client’s personality rights were affected,” said Yıldız.

Istanbul’s 14th Criminal Court of First Instance ruled against Pişkin, ordering him to pay Erdoğan 10 thousand liras [$3,700] in non-pecuniary damages. In response, Pişkin said, “I cannot possibly pay this sum, I will start a campaign.”  He also plans to launch a solidarity campaign.

Pişkin also stated the following to bianet: “Their argument at court was meaningless. If he hadn’t filed this case, that tweet would never have reached so many people. I find the verdict to be unlawful, both because Erdoğan cannot tolerate criticism as a politician, and because it facilitates the view of homosexuality as an insult.”[1]


[1] See the relevant Wikipedia entry on censorship in Turkey for more information.

A trans woman in Tarlabaşı has been stabbed in the back

Source: Yıldız Tar. “Tarlabaşı’nda trans kadın sırtından bıçaklandı.” (“A trans woman in Tarlabaşı has been stabbed in the back.”) Kaos GL, 20 October 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17754

A trans woman in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul, has been stabbed in the back; the police failed to intervene. Lawyer Levent Pişkin evaluated the situation, saying that “the increase in attacks is related to the Islamic conservatism. That the assailants remain ‘unidentified’ is the covering up of the crime.”

Source: Kaos GL

Source: Kaos GL

Transphobic hate attacks have been increasing lately. In a new attack, on Saturday, October 18, 2014, a trans woman, Aylin, was stabbed in Tarlabaşı, Istanbul.

(more…)

President Erdoğan Sues Pişkin for Damages Worth 50 Thousand TL

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Erdoğan’dan Pişkin’e 50 bin liralık tazminat davası!” (“Erdoğan Sues Pişkin for Damages Worth 50 Thousand TL”) KaosGL.org, 29 August 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=17425

President Erdoğan files a new lawsuit against Levent Pişkin, an LGBTI activist, for a tweet Pişkin had made and demands 50,000 TL (23,155 USD) in damages.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a new lawsuit against LGBTI activist Levent Pişkin for a tweet he had made and demanded damages worth 50,000 TL (23,155 USD). This is the second time Erdoğan has filed a suit against an LGBTI activist over a tweet.

The verdict of the last case, in which Pişkin was sentenced to pay 1,500 TL (695 USD) in damages was cited as evidence.

Press Releases made in support of Pişkin also targeted

The new case also targeted press statements made in support for Levent Pişkin. In the filing, Erdoğan’s lawyers wrote, “The whole incident was deliberately misrepresented. The defendant continues to cross the line and grossly insult the acting Prime Minister.”

In the notification document sent to Pişkin, Erdoğan’s lawyers argued that “Erdoğan’s honor, dignity and reputation were damaged,” with the damage estimated at 50,000 TL.

“A fag* myself, I would never use the word ‘fag’ as an insult”

Pişkin, in his previous comments to KaosGL.org, had stressed that  ‘fag’ is a word that has been reclaimed by LGBTI people. LGBTI solidarity organizations had responded to the case by saying “The case against the use of the word ’fag’ has been filed against all of us. Homosexuality/Faggotry is not an insult, but a sexual orientation.”

What prompted the case?

Levent Pişkin had tweeted, “The next declaration I am expecting from Erdoğan is, ‘I am a perfect fag. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you.’ Kisses #LGBTIintheConstitution.*” Prime Minister Erdoğan had then attacked Pişkin through the media. Levent Pişkin had, in turn, filed a criminal complaint against the Prime Minister for insulting his sexual orientation.

Presiding judge removed from the case

While Pişkin’s complaint was not processed, Erdoğan’s action had resulted in the sentencing of Pişkin for libel (125/2) to two months and fifteen days of incarceration, later converted to a 1,500 TL fine.

The first judge appointed for the case had told Pişkin at the first hearing, “Do not be afraid, we are the judges of the December 17th case.** Feel free to tell the truth.” The second hearing, originally scheduled for March 25, was postponed, the original judge removed from the case, and a new judge appointed.

*#AnayasadaLGBTI

**Referring to the corruption allegations raised against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then the Prime Minister of Turkey, and circles close to him on and after 17 December 2013. 

Translators Note:

*The Turkish term ibne is originally derived from the Arabic word “boy” and is widely used today as a derogatory slang for gay men. The Turkish Language Institute Dictionary defines ibne as “a passive homosexual man” and “a word said in anger.” The term is being reclaimed by many in the LGBTI movement in Turkey. In this sense, ibne’s current connotations lie somewhere between the American English terms “fag” and “queer.” In this translation “fag” is used to stand for ibne, and “faggotry” for ibnelik, the state of being an ibne.