Human Rights / Labour

Yes, Indeed, Turkey Does Discriminate at Workplace

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
European Social Charter submission in relation to discrimination in employment on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity has been concluded.
In April of 2012, Kaos GL and ILGA-Europe worked together on a submission in relation to Turkey’s national report on its social charter obligations in relation to employment.
The Social Charter Committee has now published its "Conclusions" in relation to Turkey. The Committee made a finding that Turkey is not in conformity with the Social Charter in relation to providing protection from sexual orientation discrimination in employment. This will be referred to an inter-governmental committee which monitors the application of the Charter. However, the submissions regarding gender identity has not been referred to.
The “Conclusions” report has the following details: “The Committee recalls that it has previously noted that under Article 10 of the Constitution all individuals are equal before the law without discrimination based on language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect or any other similar ground. Article 5 of the Labour Code (Law No. 4857), on the “principle of equal treatment”, prohibits all discrimination on the same grounds.
The Committee previously noted that discrimination on the grounds of age and sexual orientation did not figure in the list of grounds of prohibited discrimination. It has repeatedly asked whether the said “any other similar ground” includes these two grounds for discrimination and what measures have been taken to combat these types of discrimination.
The current report fails to provide any confirmation that these are protected grounds. Furthermore the Committee notes that the report states that there have been no cases concerning any form of discrimination before the courts. The Committee therefore concludes that Turkey has failed to demonstrate that persons alleging discrimination in particular on grounds of age or sexual orientation are adequately protected and more widely that the protection against discrimination on the grounds required by the Charter is adequate and finds that the situation is not in conformity with the Charter. It notes that according to an EU accession report comprehensive anti-discrimination law is still lacking and Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT) continued to suffer discrimination, intimidation and violent crimes.  
In addition it notes from submissions received from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (European Region) (ILGA) on the 4th National Report by Turkey on the implementation of the revised European Social Charter quoting the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner’s Report comments: ‘In Turkey, Article 17 of the appendix of the Armed Forces Health Regulation, 55 states that gay men are ‘unfit to serve’ in the army. Therefore there is a ban on LGBT persons from serving in the armed forces.’ The Committee asks for the Government’s comments on this.
The Committee notes that a Bill on establishing a Committee for Equality and Fight against Discrimination has been drafted, further a task Force on the Fight against Discrimination will be established in order to assist the drafting of a framework law prohibiting discrimination in line with the EU acquis. The Committee asks to be kept informed of all developments in this respect.”
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