„In a strong family there’re no homosexuals” – LMBTQI rights in Turkey


In 2017, the new Prime Minister and since then the President of the Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared that supporting gay people is against the national interest. This is not the first time he has made a statement: in 2014, he justified the banning of Pride in Istanbul. In 2017, the authorities in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, banned all LGBTQ-related cultural events, citing threats to order and fear of provocative activity from certain segments of society. According to ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex Association), Turkey is currently the second worst country in Europe for LGBTQ rights. While Turkey has a strong economic position among Western countries, the situation of sexual minorities falls short of the standards considered basic by human rights organizations, which are defined by the UN General Assembly, the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court. Although the Republic of Turkey was founded as a secular state, traditional Islamic values are still pervasive in most governmental and social institutions. The impact of these values on Turkish policymaking has resulted in further marginalization, stigmatization, and socially disadvantaged outcomes for those who do not conform to dominant heteronormative gender norms and sexual identities. This study asks two research questions. First, what are the Turkish government’s prospects for the LGBT community under Erdogan’s presidency? Second, what problems and challenges do homosexual and trans people face in Turkey?


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