Lambda Istanbul wins appeal against closure

January 28, 2009

Turkish flagLast November, I posted about trans rights abuses in Turkey. Zafer Üskül, head of Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Commission said time and patience was needed for improvement on the issue. I voiced my opinion that the time is now and trans people’s patience has run out, and it’s a view I still hold to.

So I’m happy to see Amnesty International USA reporting here that Lambda Istanbul, the Turkish LGBT solidarity organisation “has won its appeal against the closure of the association”.

A local court in Istanbul had ordered the closure of the association on 29 May 2008. The original ruling followed a complaint by the Istanbul Governor’s Office that Lambda Istanbul’s objectives were against Turkish “moral values and family structure”.

The Supreme Court of Appeals rejected the local court’s decision on the grounds that reference to LGBT people in the name and the statute of the association did not constitute opposition to Turkish moral values. The Court’s judgment also recognized the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to form associations.

The case will now go back to the local court in Istanbul, which is expected to uphold the Supreme Court of Appeals’ decision.

Welcoming the outcome of the appeal, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey Andrew Gardner said: “This is an important decision upholding the rights of freedom of association and non-discrimination.

“The judgment should send a clear message to the authorities not to interfere in the legitimate work of LGBT organisations.”

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