Republican People’s Party

KaosGL: “Sedef Çakmak: The rainbow flag at the March for Justice gives us hope”

The leader of the main opposition party CHP in Turkey led a 25-day, 450 km “March for Justice” from the country’s capital to Istanbul to protest the imprisonment of a party lawmaker. The march, joined by tens of thousands, soon grew to a wider anti-government protest demanding justice. The CHP Beşiktaş Municipality Alderwoman Sedef Çakmak, the first lesbian to be elected in Turkey, evaluated the March for Justice from the perspective of the LGBTI Movement for KaosGL.Org.

Source: Aslı Alpar, “Sedef Çakmak: Adalet Yürüyüşü’ndeki gökkuşağı bayrağı umut veriyor,” KaosGL, July 10, 2017 http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=24168

The March for Justice led by CHP Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu set off on June 15 from Ankara Güvenpark and finished with the Justice Meeting on July 9 in Istanbul. CHP Beşiktaş Municipality Alderwoman Sedef Çakmak evaluated the 24-day long Justice March from the perspective of the LGBTI movement for KaosGL.org. Çakmak suggests that both the march and the increasing role of LGBTIs in policy-making within CHP is promising.

“LGBTI+s have been struggling for justice for years”

The March for Justice, led by CHP Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu brought together people from all walks of life, who believe in the rule of law and who believe that the independence of the judiciary is threatened.

The demands articulated by Kılıçdaroğlu during the rally yesterday show that the search for justice is also a search for democracy. This, in turn, reflects the effort to bring together the masses which it is believed can never stand together. Yet democracy is an issue which cannot be left to the hands of the politicians. At this critical point in this country, all of us need to do our share for democracy and liberties. The best case in hand is perhaps LGBTI+s present in every sector of society. They have been continuing this struggle merely with their existence for years.

Since 2009, thanks to the selfless work of the LGBTI+ movement and the individual efforts of some of the MPs, the LGBTI+ individuals’ search for justice and equality has come to be voiced more and more within the CHP. Our candidacy for city council for CHP during 2014 local elections and afterwards our work in municipalities quickly led to awareness within the party. As such, the LGBTI+ movement emerged as a political actor during the 2015 general elections.

“There were people carrying the rainbow flag on their bags at the March for Justice against the government’s hunt for rainbows after banning Istiklal Avenue for Pride Walk”

The CHP’s increasing advocacy against the discrimination, pressure and inequality LGBTI+ individuals are subjected to is of course promising, but this can not be a one way relationship. As citizens, we need to be more present in the political parties as well as to continue articulating our rights. There were people carrying the rainbow flag on their bags and waving their rainbow umbrellas freely at the Justice March against the government’s hunt for rainbows after banning İstiklal for Pride Walk.

“It gives me hope that the CHP gives more place to LGBTI+ individuals”

Surely there are criticisms and prejudices against CHP, but the criticism should not overshadow the fact that there are many who labor to bring the party to a more inclusive position. In that regard, millions who come together with the demand for justice which already surpassed the CHP as well as the CHP giving more place to LGBTI+ individiuals as a social democratic opposition party give me hope. And I believe that now we need hope more than ever.

List of LGBTI Rights Pledgers Chosen for Parliament in Turkey’s November 1 Elections

Source: “İşte Seçimde Meclise Giren LGBTİ Hakları Takipçişi Milletvekilleri” (“List of LGBTI Rights-Following Representatives Chosen for Parliament in Election”), Gzone, 2 November 2015, http://gzone.com.tr/iste-secimde-meclise-giren-lgbti-haklari-takipcisi-milletvekilleri/

LGBTI rights very rarely came to the forefront of the most recent election period. There were no openly identified LGBTI individuals on the candidate lists of any of the parties, but following yesterday’s election, there were some representatives chosen from among LGBTI rights-defending CHP and HDP representatives who had signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge.

As a result of the “LGBTIs in Parliament” campaign led by SPoD LGBTI with support from LGBTI activists from all over Turkey leading up to the June 7th 2015 general elections, 22 representatives from the CHP and HDP signed the LGBTI Rights Agreement upon being elected. After the November 1st repeat of the general election, 16 of these candidates were elected once again.

The full list of candidates as published by SPoD LGBTI is as follows:

  1. Aylin Nazlıaka CHP Ankara Representative
  2. Selin Sayek Böke CHP Izmir Representative
  3. Zeynep Altıok CHPIzmir Representative
  4. Musa Çam CHPIzmir Representative
  5. Oğuz Kaan Salıcı CHP Istanbul Representative
  6. İlhan Cihaner CHP Istanbul Representative
  7. Aykut Erdoğdu CHP Istanbul Representative
  8. Dursun Çiçek CHP Istanbul Representative
  9. Selina Doğan CHP Istanbul Representative
  10. Şafak Pavey CHP Istanbul Representative
  11. Enis Berberoğlu CHP Istanbul Representative
  12. Sezgin Tanrıkulu CHP Istanbul Representative
  13. Didem Engin CHP Istanbul Representative
  14. Erdal Ataş HDP Istanbul Representative
  15. Filiz Kerestecioğlu HDP Istanbul Representative
  16. Onursal Adıgüzel CHP Istanbul Representative

Yeni Akit: Support for Homos by the CHP and the HDP

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had their homo love rekindled. The CHP and the HDP, which had previously listed homosexual candidates for the June 7th general elections, now are also signatories to a campaign for homosexuals’ ugly demands.

Source: Hüseyin Kulaoğlu, “CHP ve HDP’den homo’lara destek” (“Support for Homos by the CHP and the HDP”), Yeni Akit, 27 May 2015, http://goo.gl/5eeI6f

chp-ve-hdpden-homolara-destek-h1432665300

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and People’s Democratic Party (HDP) had their homo love rekindled. The CHP and the HDP, which had previously listed homosexual candidates for the June 7th general elections, now are also signatories to a campaign for homosexuals’ ugly demands. 39 [sic] MP candidates, with prominent names such as Enis Berberoğlu, Şafak Pavey, and Elif Bulut, have become signatories to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Rights Pledge that was organized by the Social Policies, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Studies Association (SPoD).

Şafak Pavey, the CHP’s MP candidate for Istanbul, reported that she will continue defending LGBTI rights as she did before and that she will carry the responsibilities brought on by this signature with honor.[1]

On the other hand, Musa Çam, the CHP’s Izmir 1st Region MP candidate, claimed that LGBTI rights are the most basic human rights and said “We will do everything we can for LGBTIs.”

HDP Candidates: Homosexuals are not alone

Sevda Özer and Ali Haydar Konca, MP candidates for Kocaeli from the HDP, reported in their statement following their signature of the pledge that LGBTI individuals are not alone in this struggle and that anyone who finds guidance in liberties should support this struggle.[1]

That pledge has the following signatories:

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Advisor to the Şişli Mayor to Work with LGBTI organizations in the USA

Şişli Municipality Mayor’s Advisor Boysan Yakar has been accepted to an exchange program with two LGBTI organizations in the USA. Yakar talked to kaosGL.org about the exchange program, his work in the municipality, and the place of LGBTIs in politics.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Şişli Belediye Başkanı Danışmanı ABD’de LGBTİ örgütlerinde çalışacak”, (“Advisor to the Şişli Mayor to Work with LGBTI organizations in the USA”), kaosGL.org, 27 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19269

Boysan Yakar, Advisor to the Şişli Municipality Mayor, has been accepted to the Professional Fellows Program with a scholarship to observe the legislative process in the US. Throughout the month of May, Yakar will work with two LGBTI organizations that operate on a national and international level. He will also participate in a candidacy training program for LGBTIs who are considering participating in politics.

boysan_yakar

“It is important to adopt these efforts for our own local conditions through the Şişli Municipality.”

Q: You will work with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Victory Institute for two weeks each as part of the exchange program. The HRC is known for its work on marriage equality, while the Victory Institute works for the emergence of LGBT leaders. What excites you about working with these two institutions?

The LGBTI rights movement has made significant and irreversible gains with the Obama administration in particular. The HRC works for LGBTIs’ right to marry and for the right to equal services in municipalities on both the federal and state levels. The Victory Institute campaigns for LGBTI and allied representatives in several state elections. It is important to hear about their experiences as part of this process and to discover ways to exert pressure.

I aim to learn about their past campaigns while I am in the US. I also want to work on figuring out what kind of alliances we can build with Turkey’s LGBTI movement. What excites me the most is the chance to observe districts and municipalities in Washington D.C. that work for LGBTIs, immigrants, women, and other minorities. It is important to adopt these efforts for our own local conditions through the Şişli Municipality.

I have seen the importance of SPoD LGBTI’s “LGBTI-Friendly Municipality” Campaign, where I was also a candidate for the local elections in 2014. It was an important experience to positively use the election atmosphere and the gains of the LGBTI movement with Istanbul’s municipalities. It is clear that the “LGBTI in the Parliament” Campaign will yield even more positive results this year.

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33 MP candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge

A number of candidates running for parliament membership from various cities such as Malatya and Edirne have signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge. The human rights organization SPoD LGBTI had formulated the open pledge and asked candidates to publicly sign it. By signing the aforementioned pledge, the candidates promised to defend LGBTI rights in the parliament.

33 MP candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge

The LGBTI Rights Pledge was made public for MP candidates’ signatures prior to the general elections of June 7 by the Social Policy, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD LGBTI) and has thus far received the signatures of 33 candidates. The pledge was proposed as part of the LGBTIs in the Parliament campaign, whose aim was to increase the visibility of human rights violations suffered by LGBTI individuals and to create a society where no individual faces oppression due to their identities. Women from the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party] were the first candidates to sign the pledge as they  declared “We are the rainbow.” Recently, new signatures were added to the pledge.

chp+imzalar+1

Representatives from SPoD LGBTI were in Ankara on April 28-29 to present the LGBTI Rights Pledge to politicians. Selina Doğan, the CHP’s [Republican People’s Party] first rank candidate from the second district of Istanbul, signed the pledge in addition to Zelal Deniz Demir, the HDP candidate from Ankara, Aylin Nazlıaka, the CHP candidate from Ankara, and Selin Sayek, the CHP first rank candidate from Izmir’s second district.

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After the HDP, CHP candidates also sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge

Istanbul 2nd district candidates Melda Onur, Enis Berberoğlu, İnan Güney, and Gül Yüksel visited SPoD LGBTI before the June 7 general elections. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidates signed the LGBTI Rights Pledge after the women candidates of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who declared “We are the Rainbow.”

SPoD LGBTI representatives, who have started the “LGBTI in the Parliament” campaign for the active inclusion of LGBTIs in decision- and policy-making processes and who drafted the LGBTI Rights Pledge, asked candidates for parliament to advocate for LGBTI rights in the Parliament.

Melda Onur emphasized the importance of the presence of LGBTIs in the Parliament with their open identities and said, “We have worked to bring LGBTI issues to the Parliament. We will continue to do so after the elections.” Enis Berberoğlu stated that they will work to get more CHP candidates to sign the Pledge and said, “The CHP’s 2015 Election Manifesto declared that it will work against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As you know the manifesto includes the sentence that we will work against all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through legislation and sanctions. This is a fundamental human rights issue.”

In the coming days, candidates from other cities and parties are expected to sign the LGBTI Rights Pledge.

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Turkish popular opposition promises to fight anti-LGBT discrimination

The Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced its manifesto for the June 7 elections, promising to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaos GL, “Turkish main opposition promises to fight anti-LGBT discrimination”, 20 April 2015, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=19225

The CHP announced yesterday its election manifesto titled “a Turkey to live in” [PDF, in Turkish] where it stated:

“We will decisively fight all kinds of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity via legislations and law enforcement.”

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