Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Group calls for massacre against LGBTIs in Turkey

The discourse of hatred directed at LGBT individuals is echoing on the street. A group, which calls itself the “Young Islamic Defense,” has put up posters in Ankara, calling for a massacre against LGBTIs.

Source: Kaos GL, “AKP’nin nefret siyaseti katliam çağrısına dönüştü” (“Turkey ruling party AKP’s politics of hatred has finally turned into a massacre call”), 7 July 2015, http://kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=19785

gencislamimudafaa

“If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both.”

The discourse of hatred against LGBTI deployed by President Tayyip Erdogan, the AKP government and the conservative media echoing on the street.

Participants of 13th LGBTI Pride Parade were attacked by the police. After, the AKP government declared Pride participants as “immoral” even though they proudly exhibited Pride in their election posters [as an example of freedom in Turkey]. “Conservative media” followed suit and fueled hatred.

The group, which calls itself “Young Islamic Defense” has been putting up posters throughout Ankara. The poster says, “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot [1], kill the doer and the done both.”

Arguing that Muslims should not be silent about this issue, the group has publicly defended their call to massacre on their website: “In order to show that Islam absolutely does not allow this situation, we have shared this hadith, mentioned also in [hadith scholars] Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood: “If  you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both!” Our wish is to learn the attitude Islam demands from us in light of the Qu’ran and the Sunnah, instead of the hodjas who cannot shout out what is rightful on television.”

The AKP’s politics is fueling hatred

In their 12 years of rule, AKP representatives from varying positions have made discriminatory statements and engaged in hate speech. However, the highest leaders of the AKP provoked hate in the extremely tense electoral atmosphere, revealing the AKP’s true self in matters of equality in human dignity with all of its nakedness. Through the government’s attack on Pride Parade, homophobic and transphobic hate groups have received the message in more clarity and have called for a massacre.

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Whoever criticizes Erdogan finds themselves in court; Here are the court cases!

We have translated the following text on the current legal environment in Turkey to give context to the case against LGBTI activist Levent Pişkin and the understanding of freedom of expression vs “insult”. Annotations in square brackets are notes by translators for clarity. Exchange rate used is 1 USD = 2.68 TL.

Of the 56 punitive or compensation lawsuits during the January-March 2015 period, 8 were initiated during Erdoğan’s prime ministry and 21 during his presidency, either by his complaint or with the justification that his personal rights were violated. Of the remaining 27, 7 were filed by his son Bilal Erdoğan and 3 were related to the Erdoğan family.

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Source: Erol Önderoğlu, “Erdoğan’ı Eleştiren Kendini Mahkemede Buluyor; İşte Davalar!” [“Whoever criticizes Erdogan finds themselves in court; Here are the court cases!”], Bianet, 30 April 2015, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/medya/164185-erdogan-i-elestiren-kendini-mahkemede-buluyor-iste-davalar

Of the 17 remaining cases, two were initiated by former minister [of Transport, Maritime and Communication] Binali Yıldırım and the others by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, the Adana Mayor, the District Governor of Gerger [a district in the province of Adıyaman], the Ülker Group [a private company owned by Yıldız Holding], the police commissioner, Anadolu Agency [semi-official news agency], and a military colonel.

During the January-March 2015 period, 2 journalists were fined a total of 4,420TL [$1,630], 9 journalists’ cases are in progress, 6 were acquitted, with 2 of those cases being reopened or new charges being brought. A total of 1,520,000 TL [$561,570] of compensation was being demanded from 4 journalists and 2 newspapers.

This data reflects only those cases that were noted by the media and those that Bianet reported on.

Here is the breakdown of these 3 months

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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.

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.

Homosexual AKP supporters displayed a flag in front of Erdoğan

Source: “AKP’li eşcinseller Erdoğan’ın önünde bayrak açtı”, (“Homosexual AKP supporters displayed a flag in front of Erdoğan”) Radikal, 4 August 2014, http://www.radikal.com.tr/politika/akpli_escinseller_bayrak_acti-1204925/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=trafik

The group named “The LGBTI of the AK Party” attended Erdoğan’s Maltepe rally. The group displayed a rainbow flag at the rally site and in front of the podium.

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The AK Party’s LGBT partisans attended presidential candidate and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rally for the first time yesterday in Maltepe and they displayed a flag. The group shared photos from the rally on their AK LGBTI Twitter account with the note, “HOMOSEXUALS STAND BESIDE TAYYİP ERDOĞAN. WE ARE AT RALLIES. GET USED TO IT, WE ARE EVERYWHERE.” One user tweeted the following, “I waved the rainbow flag at the very front. Our Prime Minister probably saw it too.” The photographs received supportive comments but there was a hostile message too, which read, “My brothers in the AK Party, put your foot down against this ridicule.”

Before the rally, representatives from the group spoke to Milliyet’s Damla Yur and explained that they had support from the party administration.

The news story entitled “There are active AK Party members in our group” reads as follows:

The first time we saw the rainbow flag next to AK Party members was during the opening ceremony of the Istanbul-Ankara High Speed Railway where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was also in attendance. The former Minister of State Responsible for Women and Family Affairs, AK Party deputy Selma Aliye Kavaf had declared once that “[she thought] homosexuality was a disease that needed to be cured.”

The AK Party’s Afyon Deputy Halil Ürün had asked, “What is LGBT? I have no idea. How should I know about it? We are ignorant about these issues.” The goal of the AK Party’s LGBTI members is to change the negative perceptions of right wing and conservative sectors against LGBTI people. The group entitled “The LGBTI of the AK Party,” founded on 30 March, already has 937 followers on social media. Three hundred of these followers are assumed to be AK Party members but only 11 people attended the initial meeting.

Some Active Party Members

One of the founders of the group, Kerem, shared the group’s goals with Milliyet. Kerem explains that they aim to make sure that the heterosexual sectors understand how there are LGBTI individuals who vote for the AK Party. It is for this reason that they decided to get together and become visible. Kerem has previously worked in AK Party organizations and states that they are able to reach people through social media. Kerem says that there are several AK Party members who came out with their sexual orientations:

“There are some very active party members in our group. An AK Party affiliated mayor sent us a congratulatory message when we first founded our group. We are not only in touch with AK Party. We have also received support from the LISTAG (Families of LGBTs in Istanbul) Family Group, Hevi LGBT, the Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association and other LGBTI groups.

“I have been hurt”

“As a homosexual person who votes for the AK Party, I have at times been very hurt and saddened by the declarations of the AK Party deputies. Our goal is to change the perceptions of right leaning and conservative sectors that have similar thoughts. Every political party may include people who think negatively of LGBTI individuals and there are LGBTI-phobic people among conservatives too. But this does not mean that all hate crimes are committed by conservatives. It would not be right to associate the hate crimes with a single party.”

 

 

The winners of the genetically modified tomato awards did not claim their awards this year either

Source: Elvan Yarma. “Hormonlu domates ödülleri’nin sahipleri bu yıl da ödülü almaya gelmedi,” (“The winners of the genetically modified tomato awards did not claim their awards this year either”), Hürriyet Kelebek, 28 June 2014, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/kelebek/hayat/26690059.asp

The tenth annual award ceremony of The Genetically ModifiedTomato Awards, given to homophobes, took place last night. The Awards Ceremony was initiated by LGBTI solidarity foundation Lambdaistanbul and is organized with the support of other LGBTI associations. For the first time this year, the Genetically Modified Tomato Awards took place in a municipal building. The Municipality of Şişli made available the Şişli Urban Cultural Center for the ceremony.

For those who are curious, the name “Genetically Modified Tomato” dates back to 2005 when [former football referee and current football commentator] Erman Toroğlu declared, “don’t eat genetically modified tomatoes, they will make you gay.” This statement had earned him the first ever Genetically Modified Tomato Award. The Awards Ceremony is one where the handing of awards is accompanied not with applause but with booing. The ceremony started with Mademoiselle Coco (nickname for Seyhan Arman) mentioning this Sunday’s Pride Parade with her idiosyncratic style: “Oh honey but I heard they were not going to let us walk this year!”

Organizations from various provinces participated in the ceremony including Purple Fish from Trabzon, Zeugmadi from Gaziantep, Istanbul Bears from Istanbul and many more. The organization network has become so large that as Mademoiselle Coco read the list of associations she kept saying, “Oh you’re one of us too?” When the awards were being handed out, the presenters expressed their dismay at not being able to award all the candidates and wishfully said, “Perhaps one day they may accept that they are wrong and come to receive this award.”

Victims of hate murders and those subjected to hate crimes were commemorated during the ceremony. As the organizers put forth, “If 99% of a social sector are sex workers, there’s a problem.”

When I attended the “hormone party” that took place at the Neo Club after the Awards, this time it was I, as a heterosexual person, who felt like the “other.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals danced together at the club. But lining up against the sidewalk at the exit, I noticed that they all stood a foot apart from me. Who knows? Perhaps that gap will be filled when Turkey is changed so that hate murders and words of “homosexuality is a disease” are not everyday occurrences and when homosexual individuals may be considered as presidential candidates.

WINNERS OF THE GENETICALLY MODIFIED TOMATO AWARDS

Politics: PM Erdoğan, for initiating a defamation case about the tweet, “It is not as if we will learn from you how to be a fag.”

Media: Yeni Akit Daily, for the following court defense, “Homosexuality and its derivatives are psychological disorders.”

Entertainment: Okan Bayülgen, for saying that there is an increase in homosexuality because young boys end up having to have intercourse with each other due to a scarcity of brothels.

Education: Yeditepe University, for banning one trans woman from entering campus and for turning down the application of a student LGBTI research group, with the explanation that the club would “degrade the university’s reputation.”

Sports: Former Fenerbahçe footballer Mateja Kezman, for saying that homosexuality is a disease and that it should not be encouraged, and for other homophobic declarations when footballers in Amsterdam decided to offer support for Pride.

Social spaces: Kızılay Shopping Center, for banning entry to three trans women with the words of “We don’t allow your kind in here.”

Censorship: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM), for banning access to LGBTI organizations’ websites.

International: Russia, for legally banning homosexual propaganda.

Institution: The Ministry of Internal Affairs, for allegedly putting pressure on the police officer, who had lost his job due to sexual discrimination, into providing the names of other gay members of the police force.

We had the opportunity to speak with Gizem from Lambdaistanbul before the ceremony.

What is the purpose of these awards?

The main purpose is to identify homophobic and transphobic persons and institutions.

What would you say bothers LGBTI individuals most in Turkish society and politics?

We are not accepted, not in terms of our rights and not in terms of visibility. The discourse of “homosexuality is a disease” is still widespread among many politicians. On the other hand, we are glad to see changes in the approaches of BDP [Peace and Democracy Party], HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] and CHP [Republican Peoples’ Party] towards homosexuality in the last few years. As per AK Party [Justice and Development Party], we don’t anticipate any such change from them any time soon.

The presidential elections are coming up. Will there be candidates who represent you?

My personal opinion is that none of them represent me. We recently heard Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu [joint candidate for the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) -trans.] declare, “Homophobia is not a universal matter.” The candidates are quite explicit about where they stand.

Do you think that Turkey may have a homosexual president in the future?

Of course. Why would we keep fighting if we did not believe this! Unfortunately though, I don’t think this will happen in the near future.

Do you think that there have been changes in how public or private corporate firms regard LGBTI individuals?

There have always been LGBTI individuals working in corporate firms. What we want is for them to be visible in those workplaces. During a recent investigation in relation to a gay police officer losing his job, the Ministry of Internal Affairs released a written statement saying, “Homosexuality is disparaging for civil service. The society needs to see honorable and reputable individuals in office in order to trust in such institutions.”

Levent Pişkin: “It was not me; it was the state of being a fag* that was judged”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Levent Pişkin: Ben Değil İbnelik Yargılandı” (“Levent Pişkin: It was not me; it was the state of being a fag that was judged.”) KaosGL.org, 28 May 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16699

Levent Pişkin, the LGBTI activist who received a pecuniary penalty for insulting the Prime Minister commented: “It was not me; it was ibnelik* that was judged… Intent is paramount in cases of defamation. It is with which intent you utter a phrase that determines the insult.”

Levent Pişkin was sentenced to a pecuniary fine of 1500 TL (720 USD) as a result of the “fag” tweet defamation case filed by the Prime Minister. In an atmosphere of hate, in which insulting, hate-mongering, minority targeting publications such as Yeni Akit go unpunished; a “fag” citizen’s demand for an explanation from the head of the executive, legislative and even the judiciary branches of the state was penalized.

Pişkin who said, “it was not me, it was faggotry being judged” had also filed a criminal complaint, which was dismissed by the court. We talked to Pişkin about the proceedings as well as the legal and social implications of the case.

Pişkin said there had to be intent in order for him to be punished for insult. A “fag” himself, he reminded us that he could not possibly have used the word “fag” as an insult.

Pişkin added that he would refile the criminal complaint against Prime Minister Erdoğan and that he will continue his struggle for “faggotry” in every medium.

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