Mahmut Tanal

HDP’s Paylan submits Parliamentary Question to Minister of Interior on LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek, Discrimination, and Violence against LGBTI

Garo Paylan, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) member of parliament from Istanbul, asked Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk about the attack against LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek.

Source: Bia Haber, “Garo Paylan’dan LGBTİ Aktivisti Kemal Ördek’e Saldırı Hakkında Soru Önergesi” (“Parliamentary Question on LGBTI Activist Kemal Ördek from Garo Paylan”), bianet.org, 15 July 2015, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/166058-garo-paylan-dan-lgbti-aktivisti-kemal-ordek-e-saldiri-hakkinda-soru-onergesi

Garo Paylan, an HDP member of parliament from Istanbul, asked Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk about the attack against LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek.

LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek was sexually assaulted on Sunday, 5 July, at their home in Ankara. In response to an officer’s comment, “Enough with this Tribe of Lot,” the assailants allegedly responded “We are real men, officer; you would understand, wouldn’t you?” and were subsequently released. Ördek spoke about the incident to bianet.

Following the attack, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville made written statements and called on Turkish authorities to take effective measures against homophobic and transphobic aggression and discrimination in a written statement. Republican People’s Party Members of Parliament Mahmut Tanal (Istanbul) and Veli Ağbaba (Malatya) introduced the issue to the parliament with parliamentary questions.

The parliamentary question that Garo Paylan submitted to the Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk includes the following questions:

  • Is it correct that Kemal Ördek called the police for help, but was ignored and scolded by the police?
  • Is it correct that one officer commented, “Enough with the Tribe of Lot,” referring to Kemal Ördek, and that some other officers teased them due to their sexual identity?
  • Has an administrative investigation been started about the officers involved?
  • What is the number of similar attacks against LGBTI individuals between 2010-2015 according to official records?
  • How many LGBTI individuals lost their lives or sustained injuries as a result of similar attacks in the last five years?
  • What kinds of penalties have Directorate of Security employees received as a result of investigations conducted in this subject?

Rape and Police Violence Carried to Parliament with Tanal’s Parliamentary Question

Mahmut Tanal, the Republican People’s Party’s member of parliament from Istanbul, submits question to Minister of Interior Sebahattin Öztürk about the experiences of trans activist Kemal Ördek.

Source: Kaos GL, “Tecavüz ve polis şiddeti Meclis’e taşındı” (“Rape and Police Violence Carried to Parliament”), kaosgl.org, 11 July 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19823

Following the rape in their home and exposure to police violence of trans activist and Red Umbrella Association member Kemal Ördek, a parliamentary question was submitted by Mahmut Tanal.

The question encompassed the involved police officers’ covering up of the event and their use of offensive language, as well as the release of the people who allegedly committed the crime and their continued threats to Kemal Ördek over the phone. The following questions were posed to the Minister of Interior:

  • Are the allegations that on the night of these events, when Kemal Ördek asked for help from the police, they were not taken seriously and were reprimanded by the police officers, despite being the victim, true?
  • What was the legal justification for Kemal Ördek being brought to the police station alongside the suspects in the same car? Has any inquiry about the police officers who did this been started?
  • Are the allegations that upon entering the police station one of the police officers said, “Enough of this Tribe of Lot!”, that the other police officers mocked the victim for their gender identity, that the police officer who took the victim’s statement tried to make the victim sign a record of statement, different from their own and that this police officer interfered with the victim’s statement-giving true?
  • Has an inquiry regarding these police officers and other public officials been started by the Ministry?
  • What administrative sanctions will be taken towards these officials?

Turkey’s Minister of Family sees homosexuality as a “preference”

Ayşenur İslam, the Minister of Family and Social Policy, noted that there is no statistical record of gender and “preference” in applications received by the Ministry.

Source: “Aile bakanı eşcinselliği tercih sanıyor”, (“The Minister of Family thinks homosexuality is a preference”), KaosGL.org, 29 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18593

Responding to CHP MP Mahmut Tanal’s request for information on discrimination and violence against LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans), Minister İslam claimed that the Ministry produces “holistic social policies that target the entire society and prioritize disadvantaged segments.”

The Minister of Family does not observe international terminology

Not mentioning LGBTs in her response, the Minister of Family and Social Policy İslam used the term “preference” instead of “sexual orientation.”

Remarking that the applications received through the Ministry’s Social Support and Social Aid phone lines are processed based on the nature of the request, İslam said, “there is no statistical record regarding [the applicants’] gender and preference.”

In international documents, the term sexual orientation, which signals an unchangeable characteristic of the individual, is preferred over “sexual preference,” which implies voluntary choice.

The Protection of the Family Act ignores discrimination

Responding to the question regarding measures to make it easy for LGBTs to place complaints about domestic violence, İslam said that there is no discrimination in the Protection of the Family and the Prevention of Violence Against Women Act.

Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Human Rights Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, placed two expansive requests for information covering a number of issues including policies for the social inclusion of trans individuals, the social aid allocated to LGBTs, LGBT suicides, and policies addressing the special needs of minor, teenager, senior, and disabled LGBTs.

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MP Mahmut Tanal’s Parliamentary Question on LGBT Employment

Mahmut Tanal, a parliamentarian from the Republican People’s Party filed a parliamentary question on LGBT employment. PDF

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey
Republican People’s Party (CHP)
Group Presidency
Date: 18 November 2014
No: 32293

To the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Ankara

I respectfully request the Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Çelik to respond to the questions below in writing in accordance with the 98th bylaw of the Constitution and the 96th bylaw of the Standing Orders.

Lawyer Mahmut Tanal

Member of Parliament from Istanbul

  • Does your Ministry do any work to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens in the employment policies, especially regarding the participation of disadvantaged groups in labor force?
  • Do the public expenditures and the Ministry policies regarding youth empowerment include measures to help LGBT youth escape the circle of discrimination and social exclusion they are intensely exposed to, as well as suggestions based on human rights to address the problems of this group?

Ministry of Labor does not support LGBT participation in labor force

Turkish Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Çelik stated that the policies to support participation in the labor force do not include LGBTs.

Source: “Çalışma Bakanlığı: LGBT’lerin işgücüne katılımını desteklemiyoruz”, (“Ministry of Labor does not support LGBT participation in labor force”), kaosGL.org, 23 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18556

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security responded to a parliamentary question submitted by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Mahmut Tanal on the inclusion of LGBTs in its employment policies.

Minister of Labor and Social Security Faruk Çelik did not count LGBTs among the “disadvantaged groups” in employment which the Ministry gives support to for their labor-force participation.

Çelik’s answer to Tanal’s parliamentary question was as follows and can be seen in the original PDF here:

“The measures taken by our Ministry to support the labor-force participation of especially disadvantaged groups and to tackle discrimination and social exclusion concern women, children, people with disabilities, the youth, ex-convicts, the Roma, immigrants, the poor or people under poverty risk, addicts and seasonal workers.”

MP Mahmut Tanal had asked Çelik the following questions:

  • Does your Ministry do any work to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens in the employment policies, especially regarding the participation of disadvantaged groups in labor force?
  • Do the public expenditures and the Ministry policies regarding youth empowerment include measures to help LGBT youth escape the circle of discrimination and social exclusion they are intensely exposed to, as well as suggestions based on human rights to address the problems of this group?

MP Tanal asks Minister of Justice their activities on protecting the human rights of the LGBT citizens

Mahmut Tanal, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission, is waiting for a response to his questions regarding the activities of the Ministry of Justice.

Source: “Milletvekili Tanal, Bakan Bozdağ’a LGBT Yurttaşların İnsan Haklarını Koruma Çalışmalarını Sordu”, (Parliamentarian Tanal asks Minister of Justice Bozdağ their activities on protecting the human rights of the LGBT citizens”, KaosGL.org, 22 November 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18021 

Mahmut Tanal, a parliamentarian of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) from Istanbul; submitted 20 questions to the Grand National Assembly to get information about the activities of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Security and the Ministry of Family and Social Policies for protecting the human rights of LGBT citizens.

Tanal, a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission, requested a written response from the Ministry of Justice Bekir Bozdağ for the following questions:

  • Is there any activity carried out by your Ministry for recognising and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens, in accordance with international obligations?
  • Is there any activity being carried out for the Ministry staff, including the staff in provincial areas, to build awareness on this subject? What are these activities? What stage are these activities at?
  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • For the internal training of the aforementioned personnel, which resources and publications are used for the contents about human rights and democratic citizenship?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?
  • When a violence threat towards LGBT people from correctional officers or detainees and convicts is reported, what kind of procedure is followed by your Ministry for protecting the LGBT person, or as a sanction to the perpetrator?
  • What kind of mechanisms are there present in the prisons for LGBT convicts to easily report complaints to the management, or for the management and prevent them to be aggrieved and for establishing complete privacy and security?

Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts

The Ministry of Justice responded to a request for information regarding LGBT inmates and said that it provides training on how to approach LGBT convicts and detainees to the prisons’ psycho-social service experts. The Ministry did not respond to the question on whether correctional officers and the general inmate population receive programs on awareness-building and violence prevention.

Source: Murat Köylü, “Adalet Bakanlığı: Cezaevi psiko-sosyal servis uzmanlarına LGBT eğitimi verildi”, (“Ministry of Justice: LGBT training is provided to prisons’ psycho-social service experts”), Kaos GL, 30 December 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=18372

The Ministry had said “We do not do any work on LGBT rights”

The Ministry of Justice sent a partial answer to Mahmut Tanal’s request for information regarding “LGBT rights in prisons”. Mahmut Tanal is a member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey’s Human Rights Commission.

The Ministry of Justice had answered that they do not conduct “any work on LGBT rights”, in response to another request for information by Parliamentarian Tanal. However, it has been revealed that the Ministry is in fact giving trainings on the issue to the prison psycho-social service experts.

Isolation instead of education!

The European Court of Human Rights had found Turkey guilty of discrimination and ill-treatment in a 2012 case regarding a gay inmate’s “isolation for his own security.” In the following months of the judgement,  the Ministry of Justice had put forth an “LGBT-only Prison”, which was criticized by civil society as “collective isolation”.

Mahmut Tanal, Member of Parliament from the Republican People’s Party, submitted a parliamentary question in November 2014 to the Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ on “LGBT inmates rights”. However, given the fact that questions submitted by opposition parties usually go unanswered, the same questions were submitted to the Ministry through a request for information, which makes a response mandatory.

The questions submitted by MP Tanal are:

  • Are there any occupational trainings regarding the problems and special needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans detainees and convicts given to correctional officers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, and health personnel working within the prison system?
  • In the recruitment process for the aforementioned personnel, are there any criteria requiring knowledge and experience that are to be met on LGBT persons’ human rights and special needs?
  • Are there any awareness-building and violence prevention programs given to correctional officers and other inmates on combating stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity, exclusion and violence?

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