Universal Periodic Review

Deputy Prime Minister Arınç criticizes Istanbul Pride: “They get completely naked in broad daylight”

Source: DHA video, “Bülent Arınç: “Güpegündüz çırılçıplak hale gelip…”,” (“Bülent Arınç: “They get completely naked in broad daylight”,”) CNNTurk, 2 July 2015, http://www.cnnturk.com/video/turkiye/bulent-arinc-gupegunduz-cirilciplak-hale-gelip

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Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç answered journalists’ questions at the AK Party (AKP) Mardin Headquarters.

Arınç said,

Unfortunately, I am ashamed to say this in a place where our lady sisters are present but some people turn this into honor, meaning people in different sexual orientations. These things are not liked in our belief, our traditions, our customs and mores, and our society’s structure.

But it is extremely saddening that they get completely naked in broad daylight, challenging and having fun in the middle of Istanbul, and unfortunately, parliamentarians from the CHP and HDP supporting them.

I know that there are women and men parliamentarians, 5-10 parliamentarians from the CHP, who joined that march and who supported it. I submit this to our nation’s discretion. If our nation likes this and applauds it, it can continue to follow them. If our nation sees these as wrong, criticizes it, and beyond criticizing, says what comes to their mind, do the necessary thing at the ballot box.

LGBTI News Turkey Note: Please also see Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s statements on LGBT at the United Nations on 27 January 2015.

There is no discriminatory provision against LGBTs in our laws.

The principle that everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and other such grounds is organised by the Constitution’s Article 10. Due to the expression “and other such grounds” in the aforementioned article, types of discriminations are not limited but rather exemplified, and there is no question that other types of discrimination are left outside the scope. That there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that this group’s rights are not legally guaranteed.

On the other hand, pursuant to our Constitution’s Article 90, the international agreements we ratify are [considered] law. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence -Istanbul Convention-, which we ratified without reservations, includes provisions which state that there can be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In our country, like in all democratic states of law, perpetrators who commit murder and acts of violence against individuals of LGBT and all kinds of hate crimes are identified, the necessary investigations are started in order to bring them to justice, and the process is conducted by legal authorities scrupulously. The claims that the reasoning of unjust provocation constitute a routine in the reduction of penal responsibility do not match with the real situation that is revealed by tangible court decisions.

Deputy PM Bülent Arınç’s Statement on LGBT at the Universal Periodic Review

Bülent Arınç, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Human Rights, represented Turkey at the Universal Periodic Review on 27 January 2015. The webcast archive of the session can be viewed here.

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In response to questions and recommendations on LGBT rights in Turkey, Arınç said,

There is no discriminatory provision against LGBTs in our laws.

The principle that everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and other such grounds is organised by the Constitution’s Article 10. Due to the expression “and other such grounds” in the aforementioned article, types of discriminations are not limited but rather exemplified, and there is no question that other types of discrimination are left outside the scope. That there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that this group’s rights are not legally guaranteed.

On the other hand, pursuant to our Constitution’s Article 90, the international agreements we ratify are [considered] law. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence -Istanbul Convention-, which we ratified without reservations, includes provisions which state that there can be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In our country, like in all democratic states of law, perpetrators who commit murder and acts of violence against individuals of LGBT and all kinds of hate crimes are identified, the necessary investigations are started in order to bring them to justice, and the process is conducted by legal authorities scrupulously. The claims that the reasoning of unjust provocation constitute a routine in the reduction of penal responsibility do not match with the real situation that is revealed by tangible court decisions.

Translated by LGBTI News Turkey.

İnsan haklarından sorumlu Başbakan Yardımcısı Bülent Arınç’ın 27 Ocak 2015 tarihli Türkiye’nin Evrensel Periyodik İncelemesi’nde LGBT ile ilgili sözleri:

Mevzuatımızda LGBT’lere yönelik ayrımcı bir hüküm bulunmamaktadır.

Dil, ırk, renk, cinsiyet, siyasi düşünce, felsefi inanç, din, mezhep ve benzeri sebeplere ayrım gözetilmeksizin herkesin kanun önünde eşitliği ilkesi anayasanın 10. maddesi ile düzenlenmiştir. Sözkonusu maddede yer alan “ve benzeri sebeplerle” ifadesi sayesinde ayrımcılık türleri sınırlayıcı değil örnekleyici olup, diğer ayrımcılık türlerinin kapsam dışı kalması söz konusu değildir. LGBT’lere yönelik özel bir düzenlemenin olmaması hukuken bu grubun haklarının garanti altına alınmadığı anlamına gelmez.

Diğer tarafta anayasamızın 90. maddesi uyarınca onayladığımız uluslararası anlaşmalar kanun hükmündedir. Çekincesiz olarak taraf olduğumuz Kadına Yönelik Şiddet ve Aile İçi Şiddetin Önlenmesi ve Bunlarla Mücadeleye İlişkin Avrupa Konseyi Sözleşmesi’nde  -İstanbul Sözleşmesi-, cinsel yönelim temelinde ayrımcılık yapılamayacağına ilişkin hükümler de yer almaktadır.

Ülkemizde tüm demokratik hukuk devletlerinde olduğu gibi, LGBT’li bireylere karşı öldürme ve şiddet eylemleri ile her türlü nefret suçlarını işleyen faillerin belirlenerek adalete teslim edilmelerini teminen gerekli tahkikat açılmakta ve süreç adli makamlarca titizlikle yürütülmektedir. Sözkonusu davalarda haksız tahrik gerekçesinin ceza sorumluluğunu azaltan bir rutin teşkil ettiği yönündeki iddialar somut mahkeme kararları ile ortaya çıkan gerçek durumla örtüşmemektedir.

Turkey’s UPR review and Deputy PM Arınç’s LGBT remarks

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Arınç: LGBT’lerin adlarının anılmaması haklarının olmadığı anlamına gelmez”, (“Arınç: The lack of reference to LGBTs does not mean they do not have rights”), kaosGL.org, 27 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=18578

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stated that there is no discriminatory legislation against LGBTs in Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva. Arınç stated that the fact that there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that their rights are ignored.

Member states of the United Nations submitted their recommendations in Turkey’s second Universal Periodic Review on 27 January 2015 under the auspices of the Human Rights Council.

Common recommendations were on the freedom of expression and assembly, violence against women, gender equality, and independence of the judiciary. The delegations of Croatia, Germany, and Slovenia submitted recommendations on the recognition of the right to conscientious objection.

11 countries made LGBT recommendations

Recommendations on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity were put forth by 11 states. In the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, Turkey had received only 5 recommendations on this issue.

Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Norway, and Slovenia’s recommendations included the need for legislation on non-discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Belgium, the United States, Czech Republic, Spain, and Switzerland submitted advance written questions. These are non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity [Belgium, Czech Republic, Switzerland], training for government employees on equal treatment for LGBT persons [USA], and the current punitive system of the Turkish Armed Forces which considers homosexuality and transsexuality as diseases [Spain].

Deputy PM Arınç: It’s not that there are no LGBT rights

[we will share translation of the LGBT-specific parts of Bülent Arınç’s speech when the webcast archive is uploaded]

Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Human Rights Bülent Arınç stated that they try to “have democratic relations with everyone no matter their identity”. Arınç said, “There are no discriminatory legislation against LGBTs” and that the lack of a special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that their rights are ignored.

Arınç: Istanbul Convention includes sexual orientation

Arınç noted that the Constitution’s Article 90 stipulates that international agreements duly put into force bear the force of law and that the Istanbul Convention includes the term sexual orientation.

Arınç also said that effective investigations on hate crimes against LGBTs are in place and that claims of “unjust provocation” reductions are incorrect.

The UN’s translation mistake: Sexual preference instead of sexual orientation

There were mistakes in the Turkish translation at Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review. The translator used the terms “sexual preference and social identity” instead of “sexual orientation and gender identity” when simultaneously translating the recommendations.

Kaos GL Association in Geneva

Ezgi Koçak from Kaos GL Association observed the session in Geneva and spoke on behalf of LGBTI News Turkey and Kaos GL at a Law Society and Civicus side-event on the freedom of expression in Turkey. Koçak had shared the joint LGBT submission “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey” with LGBTI News Turkey’s Zeynep Bilginsoy at the UPR pre-session in December.

Turkey did not implement pledged recommendation in the first-cycle on LGBT

Turkey received recommendations on its human rights record for the second time since the first-cycle in 2010. In the first-cycle, former Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek had claimed that the prevention of discrimination against LGBTs was under the protection of the Constitution.

In 2010, Turkey had accepted recommendations from Norway, Canada, and the Netherlands to implement non-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Turkey had also noted the Czech Republic’s recommendation to provide training to public officers on human rights, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Since its first review, Turkey failed to implement these recommendations on non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Even though the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, include the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in its article on non-discrimination, Turkey must bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to fulfill its international obligations.

Türkiye’nin İnsan Hakları Sicili Birleşmiş Milletler İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nde İncelenecek

Ortak Basın Açıklaması
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

İletişim:
İstanbul: Zeynep Bilginsoy zeynep@lgbtinewsturkey.com
Ankara: Ezgi Kocak ezgi.kocak@kaosgl.org
New York: Hossein Alizadeh halizadeh@iglhrc.org
Cenevre: Alessia Valenza alessia@ilga.org

#UPRTurkey, #UPR21, @lgbtinewsturkey, @KaosGL, @IGLHRC, @ILGAWORLD

(İstanbul, Cenevre, New York; 26 Ocak 2015)

27 Ocak 2015 tarihinde, Birleşmiş Milletler’e üye devletler Türkiye’nin 2010’dan bu yana tutulan insan hakları sicilini inceleyecek. 2010’da devlet cinsel yönelim ve cinsel kimlik temelli ayrımcılıklar üzerine sicilini iyileştireceğine dair güvence vermişti. Fakat o günden beri LGBTİ kuruluşları Türkiye’nin bu alandaki başarısızlığını belgeledi.

İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nin gerçekleştireceği Evrensel Periyodik İnceleme’nin (EPİ) ikinci turu Türkiye’nin 2010’daki ilk turda kabul ettiği tavsiyelerin bir takibi niteliğinde olacak. Türkiye’nin ikinci periyodik değerlendirmesi İnsan Hakları Konseyi EPİ Çalışma Grubu’nun 21. oturumunda gerçekleştirilecek. İnceleme altındaki diğer ülkeler gibi Türkiye’nin EPİ süreci farklı bölgesel gruplardan seçilmiş üç konsey üyesi ülke tarafından yürütülecek: Gabon, Küba ve Suudi Arabistan. Bu üçlü, Türkiye’nin EPİ sürecinde raportör olarak hareket edecek. Üye ülkeler, sivil toplum tarafından belirtilen görüşlerle birlikte Türkiye’nin insan hakları sicili hakkında Birleşmiş Milletler üyesi diğer ülkelerin de tavsiye ve sorularını gündeme getirecek.

Türkiye’nin ikinci EPİ turuna katkıda bulunan yerel ve uluslararası sivil toplum kuruluşlarının sayısında ümit verici bir artış görülmüştür. LGBTİ kuruluşları da bu harekete katkıda bulunarak “Türkiye’de LGBT Yurttaşlara Yönelik İnsan Hakları İhlalleri” başlıklı belgeyi İnsan Hakları Konseyi’ne sunmuştur.

Gazetecilere, gelecek EPİ incelemesi hakkında bilgi vermek amacıyla  IGLHRC, KAOS GL ve LGBTI NEWS TURKEY tarafından hazırlanan “Arka Plan: İnsan Hakları Konseyi Evrensel Periyodik İncelemesi’nin Türkiye Değerlendirmesi” kuruluşların internet sitelerinde bulunabilir. Uzmanlar süreçle ilgili medya tarafından sorulacak soruları cevaplamaya da hazırlar.

Türkiye’nin ikinci periyodik incelemesi Cenevre’de Birleşmiş Milletler İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nde (Palais des Nations, Oda 20, 09.00) 27 Ocak’ta gerçekleştirilecek ve oturum http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast adresinde canlı olarak yayınlanacak. Oturumun video arşivi, ilk oturumun arşiviyle beraber http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast/Turkey adresinde bulunabilir.

Arka Plan: İnsan Hakları Konseyi Evrensel Periyodik İncelemesi’nin Türkiye Değerlendirmesi

Ortak Basın Açıklaması
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

Birleşmiş Milletler İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nin 27 Ocak 2015 tarihinde yapacağı değerlendirme Türkiye’nin insan hakları sicilinin uluslarlarası boyutta incelenmesi için ikinci defa gönüllü olmasıyla gerçekleşiyor. Türkiye’nin ilk EPİ değerlendirmesi, İnsan Hakları Konseyi’nde Mayıs 2010’da gerçekleşmişti. Evrensel Periyodik İnceleme, devletlere insan hakları performanslarını tartışma ve kendilerini nasıl geliştirebilecekleri üzerine geri bildirim alma imkanı veren devletler tarafından yürütülen bir süreçtir.

Birinci Tur

2010’da devletler Türkiye’nin sicilindeki cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli ayrımcılıklar konusundaki endişeleri dile getirmişti. Türkiye bu oturumda Norveç, Kanada ve Hollanda’nın tavsiyelerini kabul etti ve bu tür ayrımcılıkları azaltmak için girişimlerde bulunacağına dair söz verdi. Çelişkili bir biçimde, Çek Cumhuriyeti ve İrlanda tarafından verilen benzer tavsiyeler hükümet tarafından reddedildi fakat Çek Cumhuriyeti’nin kadına karşı ayrımcılıkla mücadele etmek için verdiği tavsiyede cinsel yönelim teriminin ve İrlanda’nın tavsiyesinde cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği terimlerinin kaldırılması ile önerileri kabul edilmişti. Hükümet ayrıca Çek Cumhuriyeti’nin devlet personeline verilecek cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği odaklı bir insan hakları eğitimi üzerine tavsiyesini de not aldı.

Birinci Turun ve Yeni Gelişmelerin Takibi

Türkiye ilk değerlendirmesinden bu yana, cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli ayrımcılıklar konusunda kabul etmiş olduğu tavsiyeleri uygulamaya koymada başarısız oldu. “Cinsel yönelim” ve “cinsiyet kimliği” terimleri, içinde ayrımcılık ve nefret suçları üzerine düzenlemeleri de bulunduran Mart 2014 tarihli Yeni Demokrasi Paketi’nde yer almadı. Buna ek olarak, cinsel yönelim ve cinsel kimlik terimlerine dair herhangi bir referansa yeni anayasa taslağının eşitlik üzerine olan maddesinde de yer verilmedi.

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasası’nın 90. maddesi, usulüne göre yürürlüğe konulmuş temel hak ve özgürlüklere ilişkin milletlerarası antlaşmaların kanun hükmünde olduğunu ve üstünlüğünü belirtir. Türkiye’nin Kasım 2011’de onayladığı Kadınlara Yönelik Şiddet ve Aile İçi Şiddetin Önlenmesi ve Bunlarla Mücadeleye İlişjkin Avrupa Konseyi Sözleşmesi’nin ayrımcılık karşıtı hükmü, “cinsel yönelim” ve “cinsiyet kimliği” terimlerini içeriyor. Bu hükümetin bu zamana kadar sorumluluğunu üzerine almayı reddettiği LGBTİ bireylerin güvenliğinin sağlama alınması için iç hukukunu bu anlaşmanın eksenine getirerek uluslararası yükümlülüklerini yerine getirmesi gerektiği anlamına geliyor.

İkinci Tur: LGBTİ Grubu Gönderisi

2014 yazında, yerel ve uluslararası LGBTİ kuruluşları koalisyonu BM İnsan Hakları Konseyi’ne 2010-2014 yılları arasında LGBTİ bireylerin yaşadığı insan hakları ihlallerini belgeledikleri ortak bir EPİ raporu sundu. Rapor, gerçek veya varsayılan cinsel yönelim veya cinsiyet kimliği sebebiyle gerçekleşen en az 41 ölümün altını çizdi. Bu sayı LGBTİ dernekleri ve basına yansıyan vakalarla sınırlıdır.

Türkiye’nin EPİ’nin ilk turunda cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği terimlerinin de bulunacağı kapsayıcı bir ayrımcılıkla mücadele yasasını yürürlüğe koyma sözüne karşın hükümet bu kesimi tanımak ve korumak adına hiçbir girişimde bulunmadı. Devlet tanıması ve korumasının yokluğu sebebiyle Türkiye’de cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli suçların verileri toplanmıyor, hatta bazı hakimler LGBTİ bireylere karşı işlenen nefret suçlarının faillerinin hapis cezalarına indirim uyguluyor. Eşcinsellik bir suç olarak görülmese bile çoğunlukla “müstehcen” veya “hukuka ve ahlaka aykırı” olarak adlandırılıyor. Cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliğinin bu şekilde yorumlanması LGBTİ topluluğunun ifade ve dernek kurma özgürlüğünü kısıtlıyor. Buna ek olarak, LGBTİ bireylerin yasal korumasının olmaması, bireylere yönelik cinsel yönelim ve cinsiyet kimliği temelli sistematik bir ayrımcılıkla sonuçlanıyor. Cinsel yönelimleri utanç verici ve “memurluk sıfatı ile bağdaşmayacak nitelik ve derece yüz kızartıcı” bulunduğu için kamu personelleri işlerinden çıkarıldı. Trans bireylerin ayrımcılık sebebiyle çalışma hayatına erişimleri yok ve seks işçiliğine başvurduklarındaysa polis tarafından keyfi olarak cezalandırılıyorlar.

AKP hükümetinin temsilcilerinin LGBTİ bireyler hakkında yaptıkları aşağılayıcı açıklamalar, homofobik ve transfobik bir ortama katkıda bulunuyorlar. 2010’da Kadın ve Aileden Sorumlu Devlet Bakanı Aliye Kavaf, “Ben eşcinselliğin biyolojik bir bozukluk, bir hastalık olduğuna inanıyorum. Tedavi edilmesi gereken bir şey bence” açıklamasında bulundu. 2013’te, İstanbul Milletvekili ve Sağlık, Aile, Çalışma ve Sosyal İşler Komisyonu Başkanı Türkan Dağoğlu “LGBT dediğimiz durum normal dışı bir davranıştır” açıklamasını yaptı. Hükümet yanlısı gazetelerin yinelemesiyle, bu söylemler ayrımcılık ve nefret suçlarının devam edebilmesini sağlıyor.

Son olarak, Türkiye’nin EPİ’nin ikinci turu için sunduğu Ulusal Rapor da cinsel yönelim, cinsiyet kimliği veya LGBTİ sorunlarıyla ilgili herhangi bir referans içermiyor.

Turkey’s Human Rights Record to be Reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council 

Joint Media Advisory
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

Media Contacts:

In Istanbul: Zeynep Bilginsoy zeynep@lgbtinewsturkey.com
In Ankara: Ezgi Kocak ezgi.kocak@kaosgl.org
In New York: Hossein Alizadeh halizadeh@iglhrc.org
In Geneva: Alessia Valenza alessia@ilga.org

#UPRTurkey, #UPR21, @lgbtinewsturkey, @KaosGL, @IGLHRC, @ILGAWORLD

(Istanbul, Geneva, New York; January, 23, 2015) — On 27 January 2015, United Nations’ member states will review the Republic of Turkey’s human rights record since 2010, when the nation pledged to improve its record on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Since then, LGBTI organizations have documented Turkey’s failure to do so.

The Human Rights’ Council’s second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be a follow up on the recommendations that Turkey accepted during the first cycle in 2010. The second periodic review of Turkey will take place during the 21st session of the Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group. Similar to other countries under review, Turkey’s UPR process is facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, Gabon, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. This troika will act as rapporteur for Turkey’s UPR review. Member states will be raising questions based on civil society’s submissions along with recommendations and questions about Turkey’s human rights records shared by other members of the United Nations.

The second cycle of Turkey’s UPR already shows a promising increase in the engagement of local and international civil society organizations that include LGBTI organizations who have submitted a document entitled “Human Rights Violations of LGBTI Individuals in Turkey” for the Human Rights Council’s consideration.

To help journalists cover the upcoming UPR review, IGLHRC, KAOS GL, and LGBTI NEWS TURKEY have included the attached “Background: The UPR Review of Turkey by the UN Human Rights Council” also available on the organizations’ websites. Experts are available to answer media inquiries about the process.

The Second Periodic Review of Turkey will take place at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s (09:00 in Room 20 at the Palais des Nations) in Geneva on January 27 and will be telecast live at this address: http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast. The video archives of the session, as well as the videos from the first session are available on this website: http://www.upr-info.org/en/webcast/Turkey

Background: The UPR Review of Turkey by the UN Human Rights Council

Joint Media Advisory
KAOS GL, LGBTI NEWS TURKEY, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ILGA-World

The January 27, 2015 review of the Republic of Turkey at the U.N. Human Rights Council marks the second time that Turkey volunteered to present its human rights records to be evaluated by members of the international community. In May 2010, Turkey had its first UPR review at the Human Rights Council. The Universal Periodic Review is a state-driven process, which allows states to discuss their human rights performance and receive feedback on how they can improve.

The First Cycle

In 2010, states raised concerns about Turkey’s record of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Turkey accepted recommendations by Norway, Canada and the Netherlands and committed to take steps to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Paradoxically, the Government rejected similar non-discrimination recommendations by the Czech Republic and Ireland but accepted amendments to combat discrimination against women with the removal of the term sexual orientation in the case of the Czech Republic and the removal of the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in the case of Ireland. The Government also noted the Czech Republic’s recommendation on human rights education and training for state personnel with a focus that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. The full list of recommendations accepted by the Republic of Turkey during the first UPR review can be viewed here.

Follow-up to the First Cycle and New Developments

Since undergoing its first review, Turkey has failed to implement the accepted recommendations of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of March 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination provision of the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfill its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

The Second Cycle: LGBT Group’s Submission

In the summer of 2014, a coalition of local and international LGBTI organizations submitted a joint UPR report to the U.N. Human Rights Council documenting rights violations against LGBTI individuals between 2010 and 2014. The report highlighted the murder of at least 41 individuals due to their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity. This number is limited to data compiled from reports by LGBTI associations and the Turkish media.

Despite Turkey’s pledge to implement comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation with the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (SOGI) in the first UPR cycle back in 2010, the government of Turkey has not taken any steps to legally recognize or protect these categories. In the absence of state recognition and protection of LGBTI individuals, Turkey does not collect data on crimes committed on the basis of SOGI; while some Judges apply reductions to prison sentences of perpetrators of hate crimes against LGBT individuals. Though homosexuality is not criminalized, homosexuality is often considered “indecent” and “contrary to law and ethics”. Such troubling interpretations of sexual orientation and gender identity have in effect limited the right to free speech and freedom of association for the LGBTI community. Furthermore, the lack of legal protection for LGBTI persons have resulted in systematic discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity: Civil servants are fired because their sexual orientation is considered shameful and “unfit for the position of a civil servant”. Trans individuals have no access to employment because of rampant discrimination and are arbitrarily fined by the police when they turn to sex work.

Officials from the ruling AKP government in some cases contribute to a homophobic and transphobic environment by making derisive statements about LGBTI persons in public. In 2010, Aliye Kavaf, then the State Minister of the Affairs of Women and Families, stated that she believes “homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease … something that needs to be treated”. In 2013, Türkan Dağoğlu, Istanbul MP and Deputy President of the Committee on Health, Family, Labor, and Social Affairs, stated in that “’LGBT’ is a behavior that is outside the bounds of normality”. These statements are then mirrored in pro-government newspapers, potentially contributing to a context in which the cycle of discrimination and hate crimes can continue.

Finally, the Republic of Turkey’s National Report submission for the second cycle of the UPR does not include any reference to sexual orientation, gender identity or LGBTI issues.

Universal Periodic Review Statement to the European Union

Statement delivered by Kaos GL’s Ezgi Kocak on December 3, 2014 in Geneva to Permanent Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations on behalf of Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, and ILGA World. 

Dear colleagues and representatives of the European Union,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of this meeting and to present the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans individuals in Turkey. We represent the coalition of organisations (Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Human Rights Commission).

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At the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, Turkey accepted recommendations by Norway and the Netherlands for non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, Turkey accepted the Czech Republic’s recommendation to review national legislation on non-discrimination with regard to women and gender identity. However, Turkey has failed to implement these recommendations and have instead moved in the opposite direction.

Despite the Turkish government’s commitments made during the first UPR and in spite of the collective efforts of the Turkish and international civil society organisations over the past four years, no anti-discrimination legislation – in line with the UN and the CoE norms and standards- has yet been put into the legislative process. Particularly, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of February 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination article of the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfil its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

Finally, Turkey’s 2014 Progress Report complements our UPR submission and highlights equality and non-discrimination, right to life and security of the person, administration of justice, including impunity and the rule of law issues where the Turkish government fails to address in order to improve the human rights situation in Turkey for all citizens including LGBT individuals.

Recommendations

We respectfully request that the issue of protection of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is raised during the upcoming UPR session and that the following recommendations are made to the government of Turkey:

  • Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  • Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  • Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Take all administrative measures, both on national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT persons in Turkey.
  • Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  • Cease to categorise homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  • Guarantee the freedom of speech and association for LGBT community members and their allies.
  • Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

Universal Periodic Review Pre-Session Statement

Statement delivered by LGBTI News Turkey’s Zeynep Bilginsoy on December 3, 2014 in Geneva to Permanent Missions to the United Nations on behalf of Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, and ILGA World at Pre-Session event hosted by UPR Info. 

Dear colleagues and representatives of the Permanent Missions,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of this session and to present the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans individuals in Turkey. This statement is delivered on behalf of a coalition of Turkish and international LGBT rights groups that have been engaged in the UPR process with the submission of a report entitled “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey”.

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Although the National Report of Turkey states that a consultation meeting took place on 27 February 2014, none of the eight officially registered LGBT associations were invited to this meeting.

We believe that recommendations during the UPR review of Turkey can specifically help the LGBT community in Turkey in areas such as (1) right to life, non-discrimination, and administration of justice and (2) refugees and asylum-seekers.

(1) Right to life, non-discrimination, and administration of justice

“LGBT is a behaviour that is outside the bounds of normality” Türkan Dağoğlu, Istanbul MP and Deputy President of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Family, Labor, and Social Affairs, 2013

Between 2010 and June 2014, 41 individuals have been killed due to their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Moreover, several incidents of gun and physical-assault-related injuries, fatal lynchings and rape cases have also been reported throughout this period of time.

Due to the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are not recognised as categories protected under anti-hate crime legislations, there is a lack of official data on instances of hate crimes. As a result, the number of deaths is estimated to be far higher. Besides, the fear of humiliation and undignified treatment that LGBT persons face throughout the legal process, along with concerns about revealing the survivor’s sexual orientation and gender identity to the public, are among the factors that prevent many LGBT individuals from seeking justice through the court.

Although Turkish legal codes do not explicitly discriminate against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the applications of existing laws by Turkey’s Judiciary is often discriminatory against LGBT individuals. Even worse, the perpetrators of anti-LGBT hate crimes can benefit from penalty reductions stipulated as part of “unjust provocation” regulations. Given the absence of any legal protection for individuals subjected to hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and considering the biased application of the laws to the advantage of perpetrators of crimes against LGBT individuals, it is of utmost importance for the Republic of Turkey to consider offering comprehensive legal protection for LGBT individuals a top priority.

Follow-up to the First Review

At the first-cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of Turkey in 2010, several states raised concerns and put recommendations to the Government relating to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Turkish government accepted recommendations by Norway, Canada and the Netherlands (100.33, 102.11, 102.12) and therefore committed to take steps to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Paradoxically, the government rejected similar non-discrimination recommendations by the Czech Republic and Ireland but accepted amendments to combat discrimination against women with the removal of the term sexual orientation in the case of the Czech Republic (102.10) and the removal of the terms sexual orientation and gender identity in the case of Ireland (102.13). The government also noted the Czech Republic’s recommendation (102.32) on human rights education and training for state personnel with a focus that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

New Developments since the Review

Despite the Turkish government’s commitments made during the first UPR and in spite of the collective efforts of the Turkish and international civil society organisations over the past four years, no anti-discrimination legislation – in line with the UN and the CoE norms and standards- has yet been put into the legislative process. Particularly, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not included in the 6th Democratization Package of February 2014 that includes the Anti-Discrimination Bill and regulations on the basis of Hate Crimes. Furthermore, no reference to sexual orientation and gender identity were included in the Article on Equality of the New Constitution’s draft.

Article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey stipulates that international agreements duly put into effect have the force of law. The non-discrimination article of the Istanbul Convention, which Turkey ratified in November 2011, includes the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”. This means that Turkey must fulfil its international obligation to bring its domestic laws in line with this convention to ensure the protection of LGBT individuals, something that the government in Ankara has so far refused to undertake.

Recommendations

We respectfully request that the issue of protection of all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity is raised during the upcoming UPR session and that the following recommendations are made to the government of Turkey:

  • Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  • Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  • Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender
identity.
  • Take all administrative measures, both on national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT persons in Turkey.
  • Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  • Cease to categorise homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  • Guarantee the freedom of speech and association for LGBT community members and their allies.

(2) Refugees and asylum-seekers

Turkey has long served as a stepping-stone for thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Based on the Turkish government’s regulations, LGBT refugees arriving in Turkey are required to resettle in conservative satellite towns in the interior of Turkey, where they face discriminatory acts by public officials and law-enforcement agencies and violence from their neighbors. Their UNHCR processing times can take years, while they are unable to work both due to their refugee status and their sexual orientation or gender identity. Because of the lack of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, the existence of LGBT asylum-seekers and refugees as a category is not legally recognised. This issue is even more complicated for Syrians who have been given temporary protection in Turkish territory and who are considered “guests” rather than refugees.

Recommendations

We therefore request the distinguished delegations to consider making the following recommendations to the government of Turkey:

  • Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

UPR Submission: “Human Rights Violations of LGBT Individuals in Turkey”

“The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.”

The UPR Pre-Session of Turkey will take place on 3 December 2014. This session will allow civil society organisations engaged in the UPR to give their recommendations to Member States. We will be taking the floor to present our joint submission (Kaos GL, LGBTI News Turkey, IGLHRC, ILGA) and to put forth the following recommendations:

  1. Include the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in constitutional clauses on equality and non-discrimination, as well as in hate crimes legislation.
  2. Take all administrative measures, both on the national and local levels, to prohibit and prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, in order to provide effective protection of LGBT individuals in Turkey.
  3. Conduct full and independent investigations into all allegations of harassment, violence, or abuse of LGBT individuals, and prosecute perpetrators.
  4. Monitor, aggregate, and publish data on the number of complaints of violence against members of the LGBT community.
  5. Provide mandatory trainings on the international standards of non-discrimination to government officials, police, military, prison/detention staff and to the judiciary with specific emphasis on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  6. Provide a comprehensive framework for public school education on sexuality that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  7. Cease to categorize homosexuality and transsexuality as illnesses of any sort.
  8. Ensure that an individual’s mere existence as an LGBT individual is never considered “unjust provocation” of a criminal act, nor “contrary to law and ethics”.
  9. Provide legal protection and equal treatment for LGBT people who have faced discrimination and abuse due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  10. Guarantee the freedom of speech and assembly for LGBT community members and their allies.
  11. Provide mandatory training for all personnel working with refugees, asylum-seekers, and temporary guests on UNHCR guidelines regarding LGBT individuals.

Links to our full report:

Turkish: EPI-LGBT

English: UPR-LGBT