On 17 May 2010, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, 5 trans activists and founding members of Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) were stopped by Ankara police forces, badly beaten up and unlawfully taken into police custody. This incident is part of a recurrent pattern of police harassment and abuse against trans people in Turkey. Trans people in Turkey are regularly subjected to harassment and ill-treatment in the hands of police officer. The police often use the Code on Misdemeanour to charge transgender people various fines including for ‘disturbing the traffic’.
Two ILGA-Europe staff members are currently in Turkey documenting human rights violations against LGBT people and raising the issue with various actors, including national human rights institutions and the European Union representation in the country.
Earlier today in Ankara, ILGA-Europe together with its member organisations Pembe Hayat and Kaos GL met with Human Rights President Mehmet Yilmaz Küçük raising the recurrent patters of discrimination and violence experienced by LGBT people in Turkey.
Mr. Küçük mentioned that last December his office received 36 complaints from trans individuals who were subjected to police harassment, expressing that he is aware of the situation. Mr. Küçük also acknowledged the importance of improving cooperation with local LGBT organisations to raise awareness on the issue.
On its part, the European Union Delegation to Turkey committed to specifically raise the discrimination and violence against LGBT people with relevant ministries in upcoming meetings and discussions on the political criteria for Turkey’s European Union accession.
In February 2010, ILGA-Europe together with Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Pembe Hayat addressed a letter to the government of Turkey, urging for actions to end ongoing violence and murders of transgender people. Read the letter here.
ILGA-Europe, together with local and international organisations, will continue monitoring the human rights violations of LGBT people in Turkey, working with European institutions and demanding adequate response from Turkish authorities.