Turkey, Middle East

Due to its strategic location astride two continents, Turkey's culture has a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organizations such as the Council of Europe, NATO and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005. The human rights of LGBT people in Turkey is one of the most controversial human rights issues in Turkey. Homosexuality is not illegal as such in the Republic of Turkey. However, owing to conservative values embedded in Muslim-majority Turkish society, homosexuality remains a taboo topic in public discourse. The desire of Turkey to join the European Union has forced the government to grant official recognition to LGBT rights organizations, respect a greater degree of the freedom of speech and the press and to entertain gay rights legislation. Gay themed conferences and gatherings now regularly take place, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara. The major LGBT community-based civil rights organization is KAOS GL, established in 1994 in Ankara. Lambda Istanbul, a member of ILGA-Europe, was established in 1993 in Istanbul. It was recently threatened by the District Govenorship. The prosecution argued that its name and activities were “against the law and morality.”  But they lost the case against Lambda. Also see: Islam and Homosexuality

 

News & Reports:

 

The Hospital’s Exam on Trans

Voltrans Transmen Initiative founding member Ali Arikan passed away last night after battling cancer. I have been in the hospital for about a month and a half now; my bowels do not function because of the pressure from cancerous cells in the peritoneum. I am getting chemo, they give me lots of drugs so that… Read more »

Turkish Court Decides People Need Protection From Gay Dating

A Turkish court has issued a ban on popular gay dating and hook-up app and website Grindr, demonstrating Turkey’s apparently conflicted stance on wider human rights issues. For those not in the know, Grindr is a free iPhone app and website that allows gay, bisexual and “curious” men to connect online. Due to its use… Read more »

Turkey to become second majority Muslim nation to protect sexual minorities from discrimination

Turkey’s Constitutional Consensus Committee agreed Monday that sexual orientation be added to a section of a draft new constitution – which if passed would make it only the second majority Muslim country to protect sexual minorities Turkey looks set to join Albania as one of only two majority Muslim nations to protect sexual minorities from… Read more »

Gay Muslims in Turkey: torn between religion and sexuality

“When I was a child, I was told that homosexuals would burn in hell,” said Ertugrul, a Muslim fighting for greater freedom for gays in a country where homosexuality remains taboo. Ertugrul, who did not want to give his last name, is president of the group Muslims and Gays, which he says wants to “break… Read more »

When IGLHRC honored Turkish parliamentarian Dr. Binnaz Toprak and activist Yasemin Öz

Friends, When IGLHRC honored Turkish parliamentarian Dr. Binnaz Toprak and activist Yasemin Öz with our annual human rights awards in May, we could not have predicted the turbulent events that would ensue there in the weeks to come. While Dr. Toprak and Yasemin visited the U.S., we held meetings with the Turkish Ambassador to the… Read more »

Istanbul gay pride supported by tens of thousands of Gezi park protestors

Tens of thousands people joined Istanbul gay pride, including Gezi park protestors in a march of unity and solidarity demanding change Tens of thousands people joined Istanbul gay pride, including Gezi park protestors in a march of unity and solidarity demanding change LGBT rights activists and demonstrators were joined by Gezi Park protestors in an… Read more »

Protests Squelched, Gay Rights March Brings Many in Turkey Back to the Streets

Istanbul — Not long after a security crackdown smothered the antigovernment protests that convulsed Turkey for weeks, thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul again on Sunday, this time for a march to demand better treatment and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. When the first gay rights parade was… Read more »

Turkey: Father who murdered son for being gay pleads guilty

A Turkish man who murdered his son for being gay pleaded guilty but said it was ‘an accident’ A Turkish man from Diyarbakir who murdered his son for being gay pleaded guilty but said it was ‘an accident’ A man who killed his son for being gay in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir, Turkey, pleaded… Read more »

Main opposition urges protection of LGBT’s, ruling party calls them ‘immoral’

As many countries discuss granting gay marriages, the Turkish Parliament tackled for the first time May 29 the discrimination faced by lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT), a sensitive issue long ignored by politicians. The initiative came from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which submitted an inquiry proposal regarding the problems of… Read more »

‘The Other’ and LGBT Rights in Turkey

In 2009, Dr. Binnaz Toprak, then a professor of political science at Bogaziçi University in Istanbul, authored a report titled “Being Different in Turkey: Religion, Conservatism and Otherization.” The report, jointly published with the Open Society Foundation in Turkey, demonstrated how the conservative religious politics of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had intensified… Read more »

Anti-Homophobia Meeting to Talk About “Peace”

Kaos GL will focus on the issue of “peace” during this year’s International Anti-Homophobia Meeting. Held in the week of May 17th every year, the 8th meeting will celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Forums and Conferences Will be on May 17th and 18th Kaos GL, a strong proponent of peace all the… Read more »

Turkish LGBT activist Yasemin Oz wins human rights award

Lawyer Oz, who has been active in LGBT rights for 18 years, wins the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s Felipa de Souza Award Yasemin Oz, who has campaigned for LGBT-rights in Turkey since the mid-1990s, is being honored with a human rights award. The Felipa de Souza Award, given by the International Gay… Read more »

Police break into homes and arrest 20 trans women in Istanbul

On the night before International Women’s Day, the homes of trans women was broken into by police on suspicion of ‘providing space for sex work’ On the night before International Women’s Day, police officers in Istanbul arrested and harassed 20 transgender women. Around 4pm yesterday (7 March), police officers broke down their doors with sledgehammers… Read more »

Turkey: Children fostered by European gay couples will be retrieved

A campaign has been launched by the Turkish Government to retrieve Turkish children fostered by Christian families in Europe – starting with children fostered by gay and lesbian couples. According to the Hurriyet Daily, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has instructed Turkish international representatives to start the process in the cases of three… Read more »

59 Deputies From Republican People’s Party (CHP) Request LGBT Rights Inquiry

Republican People’s Party (CHP) requested an inquiry yesterday from the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) to find solutions for the problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The request for the inquiry was prepared by Istanbul deputy of CHP, Binnaz Toprak and signed by 59 CHP deputies, including Toprak. CHP demanded legal protection… Read more »

Turkey progress report slammed – no progress for gay rights

Turkish activists claim: Turkey’s own progress report to the European Union ignores repeated critique of the country’s failure to protect LGBT people Activists slammed Turkey’s progress report to the European Union (EU), saying it totally ignores the EU’s recommendations regarding LGBT rights Turkey’s minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said the report… Read more »

Turkey progress report slammed – no progress for gay rights

Turkish activists claim: Turkey’s own progress report to the European Union ignores repeated critique of the country’s failure to protect LGBT people Activists slammed Turkey’s progress report to the European Union (EU), saying it totally ignores the EU’s recommendations regarding LGBT rights Turkey’s minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said the report… Read more »

Celebrity gay fashion designer brutally attacked in Turkey

One of Turkey’s most celebrated fashion designers and a gay activist was brutally attacked in Istanbul Celebrity Turkish gay fashion designer, Barbaros Sansal, was seriously beaten last night (27 December) in Istanbul, Turkey. Sansal is well known in Turkey for being an outspoken gay activist and for his use of witty language. According to daily… Read more »

Resistance… Resilience… Equal Rights

for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world. As part of Pride celebrations in 2012, Turkish protestors demanded their rights: “We are here, get used it!,” “Sexual Orientation in the Constitution,” and “Sexual Identity in the Constitution.” In October 2012, together with two Turkish LGBT organizations, we prepared and submitted a shadow report… Read more »

Voice & Vision 2013 Award Recipient

Turkish activist recipient of 2013 David Kato Vision & Voice Award Johannesburg – The 2013 David Kato Vision & Voice Award has been awarded to Ali Erol: a leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) activist in Turkey. The award will be announced at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s 60th anniversary celebrations in South… Read more »

2013 David Kato Vision and Voice Award

AIDS-Free World’s Maurice Tomlinson, recipient of the 2012 David Kato Vision and Voice Award, delivered this speech in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the ceremony honoring the 2013 recipient of the award. Access changes attitudes. This is true of any civil rights struggle. If you are not at the table, you can’t challenge the hateful rhetoric… Read more »

Turkey: Gay teenager allegedly murdered by father and uncle

A gay teenager has reportedly been murdered by his father and uncle in Turkey. According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the killing took place in the south eastern province of Diyarbakir last month. Both the father and uncle have been arrested in connection with the incident. The boy, who has only been named as RA,… Read more »

Bid to decriminalise gay acts in Northern Cyprus at European court

The European Court of Human Rights has registered a case to decriminalise homosexuality in Northern Cyprus, the last place in the Council of Europe where being gay is a criminal offence. Cyprus was required by the court to decriminalise consensual sex between consenting adults in 1993, but Cyprus’ division has meant many of the island’s… Read more »

Protestors march on Turkish embassy for IDAHO

Montenegro sees rally for LGBT rights as French Caribbean island holds first LGBT march Activists in Montenegro marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) by marching on the Turkish embassy in protest at the country’s treatment of LGBT people. Members from rights group, the LGBT Forum Progress, carried banners reading in English, Montenegrin… Read more »

Transgender woman in Turkey attacked

A transgender woman was beaten up by seven men outside her home in Istanbul last night A transgender woman was attacked in the street outside her home in Istanbul last night when she took her dog out for a walk. Michelle Demishevich told Gay Star News that in the early hours of Monday (today, 23… Read more »

Conscripts to Turkish army must ‘prove’ their homosexuality for exemption from military service

Young gay Turkish men are being forced to “prove” their sexual orientation to avoid compulsory military service. There are no specific laws against homosexuality in Turkey, but out gay men are unwelcome in Turkey’s armed forces, giving them little incentive to fulfil the role their country requires of them. Armagan Kuloglu, a retired Turkish army… Read more »

Kurdish gay rights group hacked on Facebook

An extremist Turkish Nationalist group called “Ayyildiz Tim” hacked the Facebook page of Hebûn, the Kurdish LGBT Association based in Diyarbakir, this weekend. Members of Hebûn say they are extremely concerned about sensitive information that was stored on their account and the fact that Kurdish LGBT people have been outed after the hacked user’s friends… Read more »

From Diyarbakir with love: Kurdish, gay and proud

Kurds rarely make it onto the international media – and that’s even more so for Kurdish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, yet they do exist have many stories to tell. So we travelled to the city of Diyarbakir in Eastern Turkey (or North Kurdistan), the centre of the Kurdish culture in the region. Here… Read more »

Turkey: Film “Zenne Dancer” Examines Risks of Disclosing Sexual Identity

A critically acclaimed film in Turkey about the murder of a gay man by his father is prompting Turkish society, once again, to examine its tolerance of differences [6]. Zenne Dancer is inspired by the story of 26-year-old university student Ahmet Yildiz, who was gunned down in Istanbul in 2008 in what has often been… Read more »

A gay film reveals Turkey at a crossroads

Istanbul – Sexuality and homophobia in modern-day Turkey are brought to the fore in ZENNE Dancer, a new film directed by Caner Alper and Mehmet Binay which premiered today in Istanbul. Drawing inspiration from the 2008 murder of Ahmet Yildiz, the film shows Turkey at a crossroads between progressive and conservative trends. A close friend… Read more »

High Court of Appeals rules against homophobic journalism!

Turkey’s High Court of Appeals has ordered the Turkish daily paper Yeni Akit to pay compensation for insulting LGBT people in a headline it printed in 2008, according to a report published by Hürriyet. Yeni Akit printed an article titled “Üskül prefers perverts,” regarding Zafer Üskül, the then head of Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights Commission… Read more »

Partner of Turkish gay man shot in ‘honour killing’

Ibrahim Can, the partner of Ahmet Yildiz, a gay man shot dead in a reported “honour killing” in the Turkish city of Istanbul, will speak about his experience at London’s SOAS tomorrow. Ahmet Yildiz was 26 when he was shot outside his apartment building in the summer of 2008. His father, Yahya, is believed to… Read more »

Gay Turkey News & Reports 2010-11

Also see: History of the LGBT Movement in Turkey Turkish LGBT Rights Report Sept 2005 Turkey Photo Gallery Travel story about sailing Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast 1 Sexual Orientation Discrimination at Work in Turkey: Is it finally in law? 1/10 2 Turkey urged to end discriminatory clampdown on gay rights groups 2/10 3 European Parliament says… Read more »

Gay Turkey News & Reports 2009

Also see: Islam and Homosexuality Travel story about sailing Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast 1 Istanbul gay rights group wins appeal 1/09 2 Press Release: Report of 2008 1/09 3 Transgender activist murdered in Turkey 3/09 4 The Intergroup concerned about the ruling of the Turkish Supreme Court 5/09 5 Russian activists plan picket for Obama’s visit… Read more »

Gay Turkey News & Reports 2007-08

Also see: Islam and Homosexuality Travel story about sailing Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast 1 Systematic Attacks Against Turkish Transgenders 01/07 2 Turkey’s first gay and lesbians students club 4/07 3 Turkey’s gay-lesbians on their way to be recognized 4/07 4 Despite Turkey’s reforms, gay community says it lacks legal protections 5/07 5 From: YazBerlin 5/07 6… Read more »

Gay Turkey News & Reports 2006

Also see: Islam and Homosexuality History of the LGBT Movement in Turkey Turkish LGBT Rights Report Sept 2005 Travel story about sailing Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast Also see: Gay Middle East Web Site: http://www.gaymiddleeast.com/ More information about Islam & Homosexuality can be found at: www.al-fatiha.org Other articles of interest can be found at: groups.yahoo.com/group/al-fatiha-news Queer Muslim… Read more »

Gay Turkey News & Reports 2004-05

Also see: Islam and Homosexuality Travel story about sailing Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast Also see: Gay Middle East Web Site: http://www.gaymiddleeast.com/ More information about Islam & Homosexuality can be found at: www.al-fatiha.org Other articles of interest can be found at: groups.yahoo.com/group/al-fatiha-news Queer Muslim magazine: Huriyah Gay Islam discussion groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimgaymen     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lgbtmuslim http://groups.yahoo.com/group/queerjihad          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bimuslims http://groups.yahoo.com/group/transmuslims       http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lesbianmuslims 1… Read more »

Gay Turkey News & Reports 2000-03

Also see: Islam and Homosexuality Turkish LGBT Rights Report Sept 2005 Travel story about sailing Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast Also see: Gay Middle East Web Site: http://www.gaymiddleeast.com/ More information about Islam & Homosexuality can be found at: www.al-fatiha.org Other articles of interest can be found at: groups.yahoo.com/group/al-fatiha-news Queer Muslim magazine: Huriyah Gay Islam discussion groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimgaymen… Read more »

Relentless Homophobia Rages in the Balkans

“Be IN-tolerant! Be normal!”, appeals a poster that recently flooded the streets of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. As the first gay pride parade in Bulgaria is about to take place, amid strong opposition by nationalistic organisations and a large part of society, the high levels of persistent homophobia in the country and the Balkans as… Read more »