The book, Situation of LGBTI Rights in Turkey and Recommendations, including the articles of six experts major in different disciplines is now transferred to digital media. Those academicians who are parts of the advisory committee of “Awareness Project”as well, try to discuss the LGBTI rights from the different perspectives.
Photo: Sevra Nihal Unal
Kaos GL’s book, Situation of LGBTI Rights in Turkey and Recommendations, is now transferred to digital media.
The book is the outcome of Kaos GL’s “Raising Awareness on Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People in Public Institutions, Parliament and Non-Governmental Organizations” project conducted in 2013-2015. It contains several articles about LGBTI rights written by the academicians major in different disciplines.
With its shorter name “Awareness Project” was conducted with the active participation of the project advisory committee formed by those six experts. The advisory committee and Kaos GL together specified the tematic focus of the project as “Equal Citizenship”. In this context, legislative proposals and parliamentary questions were presented to the attention of the Parliament and the Ministry of Justice, Family and Social Policies, Labor and Social Security, Interior Affairs, Health. Public statements were made in Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM).
In addition to those institutions, workshops were organized for the experts from Ombudsman and National Human Rights Institution of Turkey. In this respect, in addition to the institutions listed above representatives from the Ministry of European Union; Development; National Education; Science, Industry and Technology participated to “International Conference on Gender, Diversity and Social Inclusion”.
“Situation of LGBTI Rights and Recommendations” edited by Murat Köylü consists of the articles of the members of Advisory Committee.
“Conservatism in terms of the Control of Sexual and Gender Identities” by Prof. Dr. Melek Goregenli discusses the relation between conservatism ideology and actual politics from “social-psychology” perspective and sheds light on the “construction and conservation of inequality”. Goregenli addresses “homophobia-authoritarianism” relationship and intergroup hatred in an increasingly authoritarian Turkey as a collective ideology which goes beyond character traits of single individuals: “The tendency of conservatism which can be observed in mental structures and behaviours of each individual, without doubt, is formed by social system and power ideologies that generate and feed these tendencies.”
“Suggestions for Political Sphere” by Prof. Dr. Simten Cosar evaluates her determinations and suggestions on the condition of LGBTI citizens on two axes: institutional politics and political participation. According to Cosar, a new era has started in Turkey with the AKP, “however, this new period is not meant to be a complete disengagement from 1980s and 1990s, it rather signifies that there are no more ups and downs as in those two decades, on the contrary, the structural transformation aimed by politics causing such ups and down has come to its final phase.”
“Creation of ‘National Will and Stability’ on Traditional and New Media: Being Left Speechless and Silence” by Prof. Dr. Mutlu Binark helps us focus on the media and communications aspect of the issue. Binark discusses the ownership structure of media industry from the perspective of freedom of expression and freedom of media and explains in his distinctive language how and why heteronormative masculinity culture and the “AKP government’s conservative and standardizing Sunni Islam interpretation” are being fed by media organizations, whether they be partisan or non-partisan.
“Struggles Imposed by New Hierarchical Citizenship Regime on Marginalized Groups and LGBTI Movement” by Ass. Prof. Aysen Candas stresses that “Turkey has entered a challenging de-democratization phase”. According to Candas, the AKP’s social engineering policies that accompany this period aim at taking back LGBTI movement’s current gains; which became clear by the police attack on Istanbul Pride in 2015. Despite this pessimistic picture, what should be done is obvious: “LGBTI citizens just like all other marginalized groups have to keep fighting and stand together with those groups. In the history of societies, there are periods that democratic gains are demolished and such crisis gives rise to progressive movements again through which new democratic periods are established.”
“Recognition of Sexual and Gender Identities and Discrimination in Turkey” by Ass. Prof. Kerem Altiparmak explains how different groups are forced into visibility by standardizing identity politics. According to Altiparmak, a result of such politics is the claim that all citizens are equal, without considering their identity traits. “The legitimacy of denying the demands of minorities and self-claimed groups is rooted from this equality understanding. Just like the majority does not have privileges in regards with their difference, minorities shouldn’t have either. Otherwise, that would be contrary to equality, the assumption goes. This issue is much more prominent in terms of LGBTI rights.” This approach means legal non-recognition and allows discrimination and hate.
“Legislation Process, Commissions and LGBTIs: Determinations and Suggestions” by Dr. Salih Sahin emphasizes the responsibility of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), as part of its functions of legislation and inspection, to form legal-institutional guarantees in order for LGBTI people to enjoy their rights and freedoms. “Today, in Turkey, it is seen that exclusion processes that ignore and not recognize LGBTI citizens are put into practice instead of legal regulations that include discrimination and inequality clearly and directly towards right-holder LGBTIs.” In this context, Sahin summarizes his suggestions for the TBMM under 4 titles: legal regulations aiming social inclusion, participatory legislation process, effective monitoring of law practices and strengthening the capacity of the TBMM’s Administrative Organization.