Human Rights

The New Constitution in Turkey: Not For Gays!

Saturday, September 15, 2012
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party declines a proposal for protection on sexual orientation. ‘We don’t find it right to have an expression concerning gays,’ an AKP deputy says
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has declined a proposal jointly introduced by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that would bring in constitutional protection on sexual orientation, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has proposed an alternative clause upon the AKP’s refusal.
“It is the duty of a state to eliminate practices and legal rules which stem from cultural or societal prejudices which are based on the supremacy of a gender,” the proposal introduced by the CHP and the BDP on Sept. 11 said.
Principle of equality
The proposal was introduced during debates on the principle of equality as part of the ongoing meetings on drafting of the “Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” chapter of the Constitution by the Parliament Constitution Reconciliation Commission.
CHP’s İzmir deputy Rıza Türmen and the BDP’s Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan asked for constitutional protection of gay rights along with the inclusion of notions of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” within the article covering protection equality among people.
“We don’t find it right to have an expression concerning gays in any part of the constitution,” the AKP’s Istanbul deputy Mustafa Şentop was quoted as saying in response to the proposal.
Şentop also argued that the AKP is against the inclusion of such notions both within the Constitution and within the international agreements. The MHP then proposed having an article that said “Nobody can be subject to discrimination no matter what the reason is,” with the same party’s Konya deputy Faruk Bal suggested that such an article would “cover everybody.”
LGBT Organizations’ Constitutional Demand
LGBT organizations in Turkey campaign for the inclusion of terms sexual orientation and gender identity in the 10th article which regulates equality in the Constitution. A previous announcement from the Ankara-based LGBT organization Kaos GL was as follows:
“The existing constitution does not recognize LGBT reality. Thus Kaos GL has been constantly expressing its summarized demand about Article 10. LGBTs are real and a part of the Turkish society and will be a party to the New Civil Constitution as well. Fundamental rights and freedoms shall not be restricted owing to abstract and arbitrary reasons (which differ from time to time, from person to person) such as “public morality”, “national security”, “public order” and “public health”. Such expressions shall not be placed on the constitution and the lines of the constitutional amendments should be clearly drawn.” 
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