Activists target Turkish law

The Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association in Ankara, Turkey, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have teamed up to demand that Turkey’s “Law of Misdemeanors” be rewritten to protect transgender people’s rights to free expression, association and movement.

“In recent months,” the groups said, “the harassment of transgender and transsexual persons in Turkey has intensified as police abuse the country’s Law of Misdemeanors to legitimize daily fines, extortion, eviction, detention and police brutality. The law gives security forces tremendous leeway to punish any noise, disobedience and disturbance, with virtually no oversight in how the law is applied or recourse to those who are penalized.”

The groups said trans people are routinely fined $67 under the law’s Article 32, which applies to anyone who disobeys an order issued “to protect public security, public order or commonweal,” and are fined $34 under Articles 36 and 37, which target anyone who “makes noise with a purpose of discomforting or breaking the peace of others” or “disturbs others to sell goods and services.”

“In Ankara, transgender people report being regularly … taken into custody and being kicked, slapped, punched and physically brutalized,” the groups said. “Persecution of transgender people in Istanbul has … become especially vicious with the introduction of a bonus system (that) gives officers ‘points’ for the number of fines they issue and lawbreakers they apprehend.”

The groups said trans people in Istanbul are being apprehended in broad daylight while shopping or running errands and subjected to fines, detention, extortion, police brutality and eviction from their homes.

By Rex Wockner


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