Melda Onur

SPoD and Representatives of the LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform Visited the CHP Leader

Source: “SPoD ve LGBT Siyasi Temsil ve Katılım Platformu Temsilcileri CHP Genel Başkanını Ziyaret Etti,” (SPoD and Representatives of the LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform Visited the CHP Leader,”) 21 November 2013, http://www.SPoD.org.tr/turkce/SPoD-lgbt-ve-lgbt-siyasi-temsil-ve-katilim-platformu-temsilcileri-chp-genel-baskani-kemal-kilicdaroglunu-ziyaret-etti/

Following the Local Administrations Political School for LGBTs that ran between 11 and 17 November 2013, the Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) continue their work to increase the political participation of LGBTs and visit political parties. Following the meetings with the politicians of the Democratic Party of the People (HDP) in the HDP extraordinary congress in October, the SPoD and the representatives of LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform met with the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

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“Hopefully, one day, we will have a gay prime minister”

Source: Aydil Durgun, “Umarım bir gün eşcinsel bir başbakanımız olacak,” (“Hopefully, one day, we will have a gay prime minister,”) Milliyet, 20 October 2013, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/-umarim-bir-gun-escinsel-bir/pazar/haberdetay/20.10.2013/1779011/default.htm

Asya Özgür from the newly founded LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform (LGBT Siyasi Temsil ve Katılım Platformu): “We want to see an LGBT who is out in the parliament. Hopefully, one day, we will have a gay prime minister.”

As the local elections approach, mayoral and council candidates are finalizing their preparations and of course Istanbul is in the news. Several LGBT organizations and associations in Istanbul explained, “We decided that this can not happen without us!” and founded the LGBT Political Representation and Participation Platform. We heard the details about the platform from its members Sezen Yalçın, Boysan Yakar, Asya Özgür and Deniz Şapka.

How did this platform emerge?

Sezen Yalçın: Right after Gezi, we came together and talked about what we wanted to do; it emerged from that. The LGBT movement has always been involved in the political sphere. There was a great deal of interest in our first meeting. This excited all of us and we kept organizing the meetings. We thought about what we could do to make it possible for one of us to run as a candidate and what we would demand from the locals. After we saw the local reaction at Gezi, we thought we can make our voices heard.

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The Backstage to the Hate Crimes Law

Source: Melda Onur, “Nefret Suçları Yasasının Perde Arkası,” (“The Backstage to the Hate Crimes Law,”) Odatv.com, 1 October 2013, http://www.odatv.com/n.php?n=nefret-suclari-yasasinin-perde-arkasi-0110131200

I did not expect much from the democracy package. “It is not worth talking about a package that does not demand changes in the Turkish Civil Code (TMK) and the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and that continues to defend the election threshold” but I have to talk about one point: Hate Crimes…     

About a year and a half ago, a group reached me via e-mail; they started a campaign called “I Demand Hate Crimes Legislation.” They wanted me to sign the petition and help them reach other deputies to sign. The name of the campaign was “Don’t Hate” (“Nefretme“). I went back in time to my days of journalism and NGO activism and I rolled up my sleeves to enter the process. I signed the petition and I did my best to get other deputies to sign. But really, I had two principal issues to deal with. First, I had to help the campaign in media publicity. Second, I had to help the team contact commission leaders.

I immediately contacted the Association for Social Change (ASC), which embraces this campaign. I met Murat Köylü and Levent Şensever at ASC and we launched a media publicity campaign and a schedule for the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. During this process, I met Yasemin Inceoğlu, a rare scholar who works on hate crimes. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) Bursa Parliamentarian Aykan Erdemir, who has been working on this issue for years, already had contacts with the association in the legislative process. My part was to help create public opinion.

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