Human Rights / Military

Officers Committing “Homosexuality Offence” to be Dismissed From the Turkish Army

Monday, February 4, 2013
Following Turkish Assembly’s (TBMM) debate on code of discipline in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) which became a law on 30 January, homosexual relationships are considered to be an offence stigmatized as “unnatural relationship.”
Officers committing “homosexuality offence” will be expelled from the army due to the code of discipline.
This regulation means workplace discrimination on sexual orientation and professional soldiers will lose their jobs yet they will not be able to claim their rights.
Homosexuality: An Offence in the TSK Forever and Ever!
As the bill of code of discipline was voted in, conditions listed in “indisciplines calling for the punishment of dismissal” passed into law. 
According to the law, going into extreme debt and unable to discharge the debt, moral weakness, getting involved in ideological or political activities, being married to or living together with someone lewd or having an unnatural relationship are counted as reasons for being dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces.

Previous edition of the army’s discipline law had also considered homosexual relationship as a “crime” stigmatized as “unnatural relationship”. Moreover, crime of “lewdness” which gained a wide media coverage remained in the new edition. Both crimes have been mentioned in the article 153 of the previous edition.
How Does the Army Understands Whether a Woman is Lewd?
The bill of the TSK’s Discipline Law has been modified to change “unnatural relationship” into “homosexuality” as the former term was not understood by the members of the Turkish Assembly’s Commission of Justice in 1996. Another article that had been accepted at that time was as follows: “military officers marrying to or living with prostitutes or women turned out to be lewd will be dismissed from the army.” Following th question ”how does the army understand whether a woman is lewd?”, the reply came as “no action to be taken based on gossip, only police and court records are confidential.” Then a commission member, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ahmet Güryüz Ketenci’s question about the “morality of men that female military officers married to” was ignored by the Commission.
It is clear that the accusations on “immorality” and “unnatural relationship” are kept in during each reconsideration of TSK Discipline Law.
If officer, “offender”; if soldier, “sick”!
Hence, the TSK keeps on regarding “homosexual relationship” as an “offence” to be punished. On the other hand, gay soldiers are considered to have a “psychological disorder” based on the article 17 of “Turkish Armed Forces Guideline of Health Quality.”  The government agrees with the TSK and stigmatizes homosexuality with its regulations on “unnatural relationship” and “psychological disorder.” The implications of the law will result in dismissal of military officers from their jobs and students from military schools. The guideline of health quality will keep on separating gay soldiers from the army. 
What Does Kaos GL Demand?
Kaos GL lists its opinions and solution suggestions as follows:
The right to conscientious objection must be entitled until compulsory military service is repealed.
Dismissal of officers from the TSK based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be regarded as workplace discrimination.
Gays going through humiliating treatment during the process of getting a “pink report” must have it only with their personal statement”. Discriminatory treatments towards those with pink reports in job applications and at work must be forbidden.
The obstacles before civil officers working in military workplaces to form unions should be put away.  
Related news:
AKP and Turkish Armed Forces Agree On Gay Soldiers!
Translation: Ömer Akpżnar / Kaos GL
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