LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey

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24 Apr

On April 14th the European Parliament published its resolution on the 2015 report on Turkey. Recognizing the country’s serious setbacks with regards to freedoms of speech and expression as well as the increasing authoritarian tendencies of the Turkish leadership, it made a series of recommendations with regards to human rights including those concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) .
In its resolution the Parliament recognized and reiterated that respect for the rule of law is at the core of the negotiations process including human rights and democracy, freedom of association and peaceful protest, rights of minorities and tackling discrimination against vulnerable groups such as Roma, people with disabilities and LGBTI people. The Parliament expresses deep concern in light of regress in key areas such as independence of the judiciary, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and respect for human rights and rule of law.
Meanwhile in light of revived negotiations the Parliament called on the Council to propose, once the official benchmarks are met, to open chapters 23 and 24 and ensure that the reform process in Turkey is shaped on the basis of EU values and standards. In that respect the Parliament invites Turkey to reiterate its commitment towards full compliance and respect of the Copenhagen criteria.
More specifically with regards to LGBTI rights the Parliament emphasises the need to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including prohibition of discrimination and hate speech on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity and to include the prohibition of such discrimination in the new Constitution.
Lastly the Parliament calls on Turkey to undertake serious efforts to protect the rights of the LGBTI community; expresses strong concern at the lack of protection provided to LGBTI people against acts of violence; stresses, in this connection, its disappointment at the failure to include protection against hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Hate Crimes Bill; regrets that hate crime against LGBTI people often remains unpunished, or that offender’s sentences are reduced on account of the victim’s alleged “unjust provocation”.
During the last year the LGBTI community in Turkey has expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation with regards to protection of basic freedoms of citizens including those of LGBTI people. One of the most serious such occurrences was the unprecedented banning of the Istanbul Pride and the water and tear-gas use against peaceful protesters who had gathered in thousands in Istiklal avenue.

Country - Turkey