LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey


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The LGBT Community in Turkey: Discrimination, Violence, and the Struggle for Equality

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This Article analyzes the social and legal traditions that hinder Turkey’s movement towards equality and respect for human rights and suggests reforms necessary to protect all Turkish citizens, including members of the LGBT community.
These include:
(1) revision of Article 10 of the Constitution to provide express protections based on the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity;
(2) revision of the Penal Code to include sanctions for hate crimes and “honor killings”;
(3) changes in discriminatory employment and housing laws and practices;
(4) sensitivity training for police officers, and
(5) collaboration with religious and community leaders in an effort to change societal attitudes towards LGBT citizens.

Part II of the paper explores homosexuality within the context of Islam, the Middle East and Turkey.

Part III examines the scope of legal and social discrimination faced by Turkey’s LGBT community and addresses the inadequacies of existing legal protections for gays and lesbians.

Part IV discusses international obligations in light of Turkey’s bid for membership to the European Union.

Part V offers recommendations for reforms aimed at protecting and enhancing LGBT rights in Turkey




This report has been produced with the financial assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this report is the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of either the USAID, the United States Government, or other agencies mentioned in this report.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations, including UNDP, or the UN Member States.



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