violation of the right to life

You can’t call it a reform if the Penal Code excludes the LGBTI

Source: Yıldız Tar. 2014. “LGBTİ’siz TCK Düzenlemesine Reform mu Denir?” (“You can’t call it a reform if the Penal Code excludes the LGBTI”). Kaos GL. June 6, 2014. Accessed June 6, 2014. http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16789

 

Attorney Hülya Gülbahar evaluated the proposed changes to the Turkish Penal Code apropos sexual assault: “This is social engineering. LGBTIs are intentionally being forgotten, ignored. How can one call it a reform while excluding LGBTIs?”

The blanket bill* of changes to the sections of the Turkish Penal Code concerning sexual assault against women and children have been debated quite a bit and are still being discussed. Women’s rights organizations stated that the proposed changes will ease punishment for a number of crimes and will set free many rapists and abusers.

Flirt is becoming a crime

One of the problems under debate is the section of the proposed changes that increases prison sentences for relations between youths aged between 15 and 18. Women’s rights organizations have emphasized that this proposal “incorporates the act of flirting into the definition of a crime.”

The organizations stated that youth flirting and “underage and forced marriages” are two separate issues. “Neither the society nor the laws should be introduced to such a conceptual confusion on this issue. It is a shared responsibility for all of us to protect children from abuse; forbidding youth from expressing sexuality is a conservative policy that would produce new social rights violations.”

In the wake of the debates and the objections to the administration’s attempt at “conservatization” and “social engineering,” Attorney Hülya Gülbahar evaluated the proposal from an LGBTI perspective.

How can one call it a reform while excluding LGBTIs?”

Gülbahar, who noted that while the administration is discoursing about protecting women and children, it is actually enacting legislation in the opposite path, stated:

“Yet again, we are debating the Turkish Penal Code. The administration talks about ‘protecting’ women and children but there is no mention of crimes committed against LGBTI individuals! Yet, the Turkish Penal Code defines and regulates crimes. It is necessary for individuals to be protected from crimes while not being subjected to discriminatory practices. Yet, in this package of so-called “reformation,” there exists not a single word regarding LGBTIs. Just a few days ago,a defendant was rewarded with “provocation” and “good behavior” in the case of a trans murder. How can one call a proposed change in laws “reform”  when it does not incorporate the rights of LGBTI individuals, whose humans rights, including that of freely walking down the street, are being violated systematically?”

The same tune since 2005!

Gülbahar noted how sexual orientation and gender identity were excluded from the 2005 anti-discrimination law proposal:

“We experienced the same debate with the ruling party, the AKP, in 2005. We succeeded in adding an amendment against discrimination against LGBTI individuals to the proposed legal changes after intense struggle and extensive effort. But they removed this amendment from the final revision of that proposal… And so, not only were LGBTIs expunged from protection under the Turkish Penal Code, but also the society received a message that legitimized all forms of discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals.”

LGBTIs are intentionally disregarded”

Gülbahar, who noted that LGBTIs are intentionally being disregarded, evaluated these practices as the product of a certain social engineering project and added:

“They are yet again effacing the topic in the package of Turkish Penal Code changes being debated in the parliament. This is because the desire is for the continuance of the ongoing discrimination and violence. Indeed, regarding sexual crimes, there exists in this proposal an open ended medicalizing emphasis of “illness” that may lead to surgical castration. With regards to theft and drug-related charges, the punishments are extremely heavy. These are the product of a social engineering project… It is also a necessity of such social engineering to maintain silence on all sorts of identity-based crimes against LGBTI individuals. An intentional forgetfulness/ disregard… A dangerous silence…”

 


Translator’s Note:

  • “Torba yasa tasarısı / değişikliği,” here translated as “blanket bill of changes,” is a type of proposed changes to laws and regulations on a range of diverse areas, rather than a specific legal issue. In Turkey, as in abroad, this political strategy is employed often when the proposed changes to law include controversial items that would not be approved by themselves or when some changes, often buried into the “bag of changes,” take away certain rights from citizens or enable governmental and/or corporate corruption, while others, often emphasized during the promotion of the “bag,” provide changes perceived to be positive.

Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “Trans Öldürmek İndirime Gerekçe,” (“Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences,”) milliyet, 3 June 2014, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/trans-oldurmek-indirime-gerekce–gundem-1892227

Soybozkurt, a felon who murdered a trans woman in Avcılar and for whom the prosecutor asked for a sentence of life in prison was given a reduced prison term of fifteen years.

Regarding the case of B.Ü., the trans woman beaten to death in 2013 in Avcılar (Istanbul), the court issued a reduced penalty on account of unjust provocation and good behavior. As the reason for the reduced sentence, the court cited the possibility that the felon’s statement might be true. The felon had claimed in his statement that “he beat the victim in anger because she was a transvestite and she propositioned him.”

Seda (B.Ü.), the trans woman, lived in her friends’ apartment at Avcılar Meis Housing Complex, which was the site of attacks against trans residents and where the apartments of trans residents were sealed for allegedly being used for prostitution. B.Ü. died after she was found beaten on the street on 01 March 2013. Ramazan Soybozkurt, who was tried for murder, claimed that he did not intend to murder the victim, but he beat her upon getting upset by her proposition.

The verdict was issued on February 26, 2014 after the trial at the Bakırköy Fourth Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes. The verdict cited as the reason for the reduced sentence the victim “being a transvestite.” The convicted felon Soybozkurt was given a reduced sentence due to provocation taking into account that “his statement might be true.” His sentence was reduced from life in prison to eighteen years; his prison term was further reduced to fifteen years for “good behavior.”

“They think it is entirely reasonable”

Fırat Söyle, the lawyer, reacted to the verdict by calling attention to other similar court verdicts for trans murders. He stated: “This is a verdict far from justice. The felon’s statement is not an unheard of defense. Courts find such statements as “they propositioned,” or “they propositioned for anal sex;” “I thought they were a woman” all as entirely reasonable defenses that warrant reduced sentences. If the murderers do not confess to their crimes, it is even possible that they may be acquitted.”

Çağla Joker’s Suspected Murderer Apprehended & Çağla’s Murderer Turned Out To Be a Child

Çağla Joker’s Suspected Murderer Apprehended

Source: “Çağla Joker’in Katili Yakalandı” (“The Murderer of Çağla Joker Apprehended”) Özgür Gündem, 25 April 2014. Accessed 27 April 2014. http://www.ozgur-gundem.com/?haberID=105454&haberBaslik=%C3%87a%C4%9Fla%20Joker%27in%20katili%20yakaland%C4%B1&action=haber_detay&module=nuce

The murder suspect who killed Çağla Joker and wounded Nalan has been apprehended.

Çağla Joker was gunned down and her friend Nalan was wounded in a home attack on April 21 in Daracık Street, Tarlabaşı, Beyoğlu, Istanbul. H.T., who escaped after his attack, was apprehended in Istanbul and taken to the Istanbul Police Headquarters. In his confession, H.T. said that he had gone to Joker’s home for sex and shot Joker and her friend upon learning that they were trans.

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Transphobic Hate Murder in Istanbul, Police Protect Killers

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Daracık Sokak’ta Katiller Vurdu, Polis Koruyor,”(“Transphobic Hate Murder in Istanbul, Police Protects Killers,”) kaosGL.org, 22 April 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16395

Two trans women were assaulted in the district of Tarlabasi in Istanbul last night. While 21-year-old Cagla (Joker) lost her life, Nalan who was injured on her shoulder is receiving treatment.

Istanbul LGBTT Association protested the armed assault today. The assault took place on Daracik Street in the gentrification district of Tarlabasi, Istanbul last night.

Didem recounted the attack: “The police and ambulance staff did not even touch the dead body of our friend. We carried her.”

Istanbul LGBTT Association has condemned the transphobic armed attack and said: “We are transvestites, we are here, get used to it, we are not going anywhere.”

Didem talked about the attack to kaosGL.org and stated that other trans women nearby heard gun shots and two people ran way from the apartment. Didem said:

“I learned that they first drew a knife on Joker. That she called Nalan for help. At that moment they shot Joker in the chest. She went to the window and asked for help. In the meantime, the murderers ran away towards Istiklal Street.”

Emphasizing that the murder might have been for a robbery, Didem said “Joker was found dressed in the living room. It might have been an aggravated robbery.”

“They did not want to touch the dead body of our friend, we carried her”

Attitude of the police and health workers came as no surprise: “The police came and did not do anything; just looked around a bit. They did not even question anyone properly. And the ambulance did not want to carry our friend. We took her down from  the apartment on our own.”

What if the family rejects the funeral?

As she said that they had to carry their friend themselves, Didem was moved to tears and she adds: “They did not even close her eyes. We did. What her family will do is not known yet. If they do not accept the funeral of our friend, we will perform it but the state might not approve.”

Another assault took place a few days ago! 

Didem recalls another armed attack that took place a few days ago at the Omer Hayyam stop. She believes that assaults can be prevented through trans solidarity. Having been exposed to transphobic hate attacks herself, Didem criticizes the indifference of the police and impunity.

Following the murder, Istanbul LGBTI Association made an urgent call and gathered with photos of Joker at the street where the murder took place and repeated the slogan “We are transvestites, we are here, get used to it, we are not going anywhere.”

Reasoned Verdict in the Court Case of Roşin Çiçek: Killing Someone Because of Their Sexual Orientation is Unacceptable

Source: “Roşin Çiçek Davasında Gerekçeli Karar: Cinsel Yöneliminden Ötürü Öldürülmesi Kabul Edilemez,” (“Reasoned Verdict in the Court Case of Roşin Çiçek: Killing Someone Because of Their Sexual Orientation is Unacceptable,”) kaosGL.org, 20 Mart 2014, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=16113

The court announced its reasoned verdict in the case of Roşin Çiçek, who was killed by his father and two uncles in Diyarbakir in July 2012 with the justification that he was a homosexual.

The reasoned verdict for the trial held on February 10, 2014 sentencing murderer father Metin Çiçek  to aggravated life in prison and the murderer uncles Alican Çiçek and Şeyhmus Çiçek to life in prison, states that it is unacceptable to violate the right to life on the basis of sexual orientation. Unlike many other murder cases that involve homosexual and trans people, there was no reduced sentencing for the convicted based on unjust provocation.

The verdict stated that Roşin Çiçek was subjected to mistreatment and insults by his father because of his sexual orientation and ran away from home because he was beaten. The court also drew attention to the fact that Roşin Çiçek, who had found a job in a maritime company in Mersin, was fired after his mother met with his employer.

Below are some of the headlines from the reasoned verdict of the Diyarbakir Third Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes:

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Transphobic Hate Murder in Antep

Source: “Antep’de Homofobik Nefret Cinayeti” (“Transphobic Hate Murder in Antep”) kaosGL.org, 21 February 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15871

Transwoman Sevda Başar was murdered by her boyfriend Ethem Orhan on Wednesday.

After the killer confessed his crime both to his family and to the military police, the military police found Sevda Başar’s dead body today. Orhan had shot his girlfriend in the chest with a hunting rifle and buried her in the vineyard he worked at.

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The Rights Violations Against LGBT People: Selected Case Analyses

Source: Sosyal Politikalar, Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği. (Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) LGBT Hak İhlalleri: Emsal Dava Analizleri (The Rights Violations Against LGBT People: Selected Case Analyses.) Istanbul: Punto Baskı Çözümleri, 2013. Available at: http://www.spod.org.tr/turkce/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/emsal-dava-analizleri-son1.pdf   

The Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association has been working in the field of access to law and justice since it was founded two years ago. We have organized educational workshops on LGBT rights for lawyers in order to strengthen LGBT people’s methods of accessing justice. We have also given legal aid to LGBT people whose rights have been violated. Our other work includes tracking legislation, participating in the New Constitution drafting process, and pursuing selected cases.

This report includes case summaries and analyses of SPoD’s selected cases. The selection has been made according to the LGBT public’s key issues. Cases based on the frequent violations of LGBT people’s right to life, work, and housing have been chosen. Emphasis has been placed on joining cases as joint plaintiffs while working with lawyers, NGOs, and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) for positive results. Furthermore, the media has been lobbied for the selected cases to ensure the flow of correct and effective information to the public and to make sure that victims are not doubly victimized by the media’s homophobic/transphobic language. A legal battle has been waged against the “hate language” produced by the media in general. Therefore, we did not focus solely on the legal aspects of the cases but also on their background in order to change the biases that lead to rights violations.

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