On 18 November 2017, Pink Life and Kaos GL – two Ankara-based organizations – informed the international community about a ban on organizing LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual and Intersexed) public cultural events, such as film screenings, theatre shows, round-table discussions, public talks, and exhibitions dealing with “socially sensitive” subjects.
According to both organizations: “The general ban presents us with a situation that is both vague and open to interpretation and rights violations, criminalizing LGBTI existence. LGBTI civil society organizations are respectable institutions, having worked for years to combat discrimination and hate crimes and ensure equal citizenship. This ban, which goes beyond limiting the areas of activity of these institutions and making them inoperable, cannot be accepted in a democratic society.”
The authorities are trying to justify the ban on the grounds of “protecting public health and morality”, “social sensibilities”, “public safety”, and “protecting the rights and freedoms of other people”.
The Turkish organizations go on to say that, “this decision, made on illegal and vague grounds, violates several fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and association. They also point out that in deciding to institute the ban, the Ankara Governor’s Office has violated Article 10 of Turkey’s constitution on equality and Article 26 on announcing and expressing thoughts, as well as a host of international agreements Turkey is party to. We would also like to add that the ban is grounds for violating the freedom of movement of LGBTI individuals.
The Magnus and LL sections of ŠKUC would like to express our solidarity with every LGBTI person in Ankara. We call on the Turkish government to immediately lift these egregious violations of LGBTI rights, ensuring the community is safe from discrimination and persecution and has the right to free expression and its own culture. We also call on the Slovenian government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do everything in their power to protect the basic human rights of LGBTI individuals. We expect the Slovenian political elite to offer clear condemnation of this crime, which is being perpetrated before the very eyes of the international community.
Tatjana Greif and Jernej Škof for ŠKUC LL and ŠKUC Magnus.
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