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Will Turkey Listen to LGBT Representatives?

Will Turkey Listen to LGBT Representatives?

 

Turkey has taken one small step forward for LGBT recognition with, for the very first time, a government minister meeting LGBT representatives.

The Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) Association were invited to a meeting with civil society organizations on Wednesday, September 21 to discuss violence against women with Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Şahin.

Belgin Çelik from Pembe Hayat told reporters following the meeting that she had submitted a proposal for the acceptance of homosexual, bisexual and transgender individuals in the new constitution that Parliament plans to draft in the coming legislative year.

Şahin encouraged the proposal, saying:

“We would like to actively work with you and your participation and suggestions will help us learn and acknowledge the problems you face.”

Pro-gay Turkish MP Aylin Nazlıaka has asked for LGBT groups to be consulted over the new constitution.

Calling on members of Parliament to handle the proposal positively, Şahin said:

“If freedom and equality is for everybody, then sexual orientation discrimination should be eliminated and rights of these [LGBT] citizens should be recognized.”

However, Turkish MPs may face a problem reading any proposals. A report last week said that web access in the Turkish Parliament to the websites of various LGBT organizations is blocked and workers or MPs have to submit a written request for them to be unblocked.

Blocking of LGBT and other online content is widespread in Turkey. In May, there was a huge protest against the internet filtering system.

According to a representative of Lambdadaİstanbul.

“BTK (The Information Technologies and Communication Authority) has determined some banned words from domain names.  ’Gay’ and ‘lesbian’ are on this list. Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) Association, an LGBT organization in Ankara, has been warned by their web hosting company saying their website might be shut down. There is no pornographic content whatsoever on Pembe Hayat’s website but they have been warned just because they use those words.”

In June, Amnesty International published ‘Not an illness nor a crime: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Turkey demand equality.‘ It said:

“Not a single provision has been brought before Parliament to protect the right to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Instead, there has been a long line of discriminatory statements by government officials from which the government has failed to distance itself or issue apologies for.”

Related Stories:

Amnesty Calls on Turkey to Protect its LGBT Citizens

Turkey Ignoring Anti-LGBT Discrimination Says Amnesty

No Men Allowed At Turkish Soccer Game (Video)

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9 comments

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12:17AM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:56AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

If Turkey makes any move toward gay rights, it would be stunning.

4:50AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

interesting ,thanks fo posting

8:32PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Don't bet money on this turning out well! Turkish women are somewhat more liberated than in other Muslim countries but it's NOT a country which allows many personal freedoms.

6:27PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

noted

2:27PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

It's a positive start.

9:58AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Well wether or not they listen to them the mere fact they even met with them is a huge step forward.

8:57AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Well, let's hope these new outreaches by a few government people will be the beginning of Turkey ending its persecution of gay people.

The funny thing is that many gay people have fled the murderous Islamic regime in Iran for fear of being killed, only to be persecuted in Turkey where the Islamic command to kill gay people isn't acted on, but prison is an option.

With Turkey's application to join the EU (a VERY long shot) they have a hugely long road to go down & very many law changes to make, including removing any anti-gay laws etc. But with the resurgence of fundamenalist Islam, that future looks less bright, tho Turkey did just recently agree to EU requests to finally give back all confiscated property to all the religious minorities that have been persecuted or killed in the infamous genocide (the first time that word was ever used) & ethnic cleansing by the Young Turks & Ataturk in the early 20th c.to 'cleanse' Islamic Turkey of all Christians (@3million were murdered). Of course, this all ignored the fact that the Muslim Turks were invaders & colonizers in Christian Byzantium where Greeks had lived for 8000 yrs. But Turkey has yet to admit to this well documented genocide, so that is another stumbling block.

8:48AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Interesting article.

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