Life

Homophobic obstinacy of Ankara Governorship: They banned the IDAHOT march twice!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Taking the prevention of March against Homophobia and Transphobia on as a duty, Ankara Governorship had the stay of execution to their decision of banning IDAHOT march revoked with the decision of District Administrative Court passed yesterday at midnight.

Obstinacy of Ankara Governorship to prevent the March against Homophobia and Transphobia planned to be done on the occasion of May 17 International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia still continues; Governorship that “didn’t approve” the march and refused to provide security by showing “certain sentiments” as reason had also the stay of execution to their decision revoked by submitting objection to the District Administrative Court. 

Midnight decision from the District Administrative Court!

Last night out of working hours (May 20), the Governorship went to law. District Administrative Court swiftly revoked the stay of execution decision that was taken unanimously by the 15th Administrative Tribunal. The justice system which don’t find the murderers in hate crimes, which hasn’t found the murderer father of Ahmet Yıldız who was killed because he was gay for the last 8 years gave a decision in just a couple of hours out of working hours when it came to banning the LGBTI march.

May 17 celebrated in 130 countries is not compulsory!

District Administrative Court justified their decision as follows:

“Since no valid reason to organize the meeting which was banned due to the risk of forming a basis for mass reaction and provocative actions in mentioned date was presented and since it’s obvious that occurrence of an irreparable and unrecoverable damage to the plaintiff association can’t be discussed in case of execution of the action that’s subject to contradiction, the decision of the administrative tribunal is not found right.”

District Administrative Court approved the “banning of the march” with this decision. 17 May which is celebrated in over 130 countries all around the world is banned in Ankara with the claim that “there is no valid reason that necessitates to organize the march in mentioned date

What is May 17? Why and how is it celebrated?

The necessity of organizing the march within May 17 week was explained in the appeal submitted by Kaos GL Association to the 15th Administrative Tribunal as follows:

“On May 17th, 1990, World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the list of diseases. Since 2004, this day has been celebrated as the Day against Homophobia and Transphobia in several places all around the world in order to draw attention of public, media and politicians to the hatred, discrimination and violation of rights the LGBT’s are exposed to. Currently, May 17 is celebrated in over 130 countries. The Client Association has been organizing International Meeting against Homophobia and Transphobia within the scope of May 17 International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia since 2006. Within this scope, March against Homophobia is carried out at the end of the various activities, workshops, conferences and activities with international participants.”

“This year, various workshops, activities and a two-day conference will be organized within this scope as well (Annex 1) and afterwards, it’s planned to make March against Homophobia / open-air meeting on May 22nd, 2016, Sunday, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. from the Kurtuluş Intersection to Kolej Intersection where Ziya Gökalp Street, Aksu Street and Libya Street are connected and to make a press statement and as notification and for security, Ankara Governorship was informed on May 12th, 2016.”

“Due to the fact that the decision of Ankara Governorship with date May 18th, 2016 and number 37349786-622.0220437 with regard to not approving the March against Homophobia to be made on May 22nd, 2016 is clearly contrary to the Constitution and to the European Convention on Human Rights, to the decisions of Constitutional Court and of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), due to the fact that the reason is an abstract reason and has no legitimate purpose, due to the fact that the march will be at a location that was determined by Ankara Governorship and that it’s very easy to provide security in terms of the participations, due to the fact that in case a motion for stay of execution isn’t granted, the march that’s organized in this week all around the world will be impossible to be made and due to the fact that it’s irreparable, it’s requested to immediately grant a motion for stay of execution in order to make the march on May 22nd, 2016 without taking the statement of the defendant.” 

March banned for the first time

Within May 17 week, activities regarding Meeting against Homophobia and Transphobia have been carried out by Kaos GL Association since 2006. And since 2008, Ankara streets have been hosting the March against Homophobia and Transphobia. With the revoke of stay of execution with the decision of District Administrative Court, a march is officially banned for the first time.

ECtHR decisions are against obstructions

On the other hand, there is an Alekseyev vs. Russia decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) with regard to the prevention of the Pride March in Russia and the attack to the march. The Court decided that banning the Moscow Prid Marches in 2006, 2007 and 2008 was a clear violation of the Article 11. With this decision, ECtHR repeated that in terms of democratic society, it is considered unnecessary to look whether the right to assemble and march depended on a legitimate purpose or to look whether it was organized under the law; and repeated that Article 11 also included protection of the demonstrators against the attacks of the persons who may be disturbed by the subject and purpose of the demonstration or who don’t share the same ideas with the demonstrators. The Court emphasized that the risk itself isn’t enough to ban the demonstration and the authorities should take the required precautions against possible attacks.

Similarly, during the decision regarding Identoba and Others vs. Georgia, ECtHR particularly considered the homophobic sentences expressed during the attack and assessed the the violation the LGBTI’s were subjected to and the fear and humiliation they’ve felt during the demonstration within the scope of prohibition of discrimination as violation of Article 3 in conjunction with Article 14. The Court underlined that the attack to the march on May 2012 was violation of Article 11 and the authorities couldn’t protect the applicants from biased violence to freedom of demonstration march and that was violation of Articles 3 and 14 and Article 11. The Court again stated that the authorities were informed 9 days before the march, this period could have been used to take necessary precautions, the continuation of the demonstration in a peaceful manner was the responsibility of the state and that the state could either have emphasized the tolerance with a public statement before the demonstration or have warned the public regarding the existing legal consequences of the attacks to the demonstration.

Statement from Kaos GL: Swift homophobic decision!

In the press statement issued after adoption of the motion for stay of execution, Kaos GL Association criticized the experienced unlawfulness, announced that the march can not be carried out under these circumstances and that they wil start a campaign against the homophobic and transphobic attitude of the Governorship:

“In the past few days, an information document indicating that ISID will target many new venues including Kaos GL started to circulate in social media. We contacted GATA (Gülhane Military Medical Academy) Command and Counter Terrorism Branch of Ankara Provincial Security Department regarding the trueness of the document. We received a reply from Counter Terrorism Branch that “such information didn’t reach them”. Even though it wasn’t officially recognized by the Turkish General Staff, we had the document unofficially approved as an “internal correspondence” by GATA Command on the phone. We contacted Çankaya District Police Department for provision of security of our Association and they said “We can increase the patrol in the area and occasionally, send officers to check but we don’t have the capacity to keep a team waiting there constantly” to the attorney of our Association. Within the process, we started to have serious doubts that both Ankara Provincial Security Directorate and Çankaya District Police Department might not be able to fulfill the task of providing security for the office of Kaos GL which has been working since 1994.

“We won’t march, our fight will continue”

“We applied to Ankara Governorship regarding the march we have been organizing since 2008 on the occasion of May 17 International Homophobia and Transphobia. We requested them to provide security of the march. The reply of Ankara Governorship given to us on May 20 regarding provision of necessary security precautions included statements as “it was reported that some sections of the society might react to the groups and persons to be participating the meeting due to certain social sentiments and that might cause provocations”. The Governorship stated that they approved that the march won’t be realized. As a result of the application we have made in the same day, Ankara 15th Administrative Tribunal assessed the decision of the Governorship. The Court granted a motion for stay of execution. Tking a swift action upon this decision, Ankara Governorship applied to District Administrative Court and motion for stay of execution was revoked.”

“We announce that under the circumstances in which we are pointed as targets and in which even our fundamental human right, right to live isn’t secured, we won’t be able to realize the march that we have organized in the past years without any problem with participation of thousands of people due to “security” reasons. We will continue our fight for our demand to have the entire city against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia rather than ghettos.We announce to people against heterosexism that we will start international campaigns against the homophobic attitude of the Governorship.”   

Related news:

Ankara Governorship banned IDAHOT March        

Translation: Vahap Karakus

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