Lambda Istanbul granted permission to continue operating

May 7, 2009

Lambda IstanbulIn January, I wrote (link here) about the rejection by the Supreme Court of Appeals of a local court’s order that Lambda Istanbul (the Turkish LGBT solidarity organisation) be closed down for having objectives which were against Turkish “moral values and family structure”.

The case was then scheduled to return to the local court in Istanbul earlier this week, with the expectation that it would uphold the Supreme Court of Appeals’ decision. It seems that this has been the outcome, which is welcome news; however there is a sting in the tail.

By upholding the decision, this condition set by the Supreme Court has also been upheld:

Dissolution of the defendant association could still be demanded if it should act counter to its constitution, in the ways of encouraging or provoking gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transvestite behavior or acting with the aim of spreading such sexual orientations.

In my view, this is a truly inequitable condition imposed by the Supreme Court, born of the same paranoia-fuelled ignorance that led to the UK’s similarly repressive – albeit narrower in scope) Section 28 amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 (repealed in 2003) which stated that a local authority:

“shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”

Lambda has responded, saying it will only feel truly safe when the Turkish constitution is amended to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity:

(The) constitutional safeguard is a must to hinder any homophobic interpretations of those vague concepts in law such as ‘general morals’ or ‘social values’ by barristers, who suffer from the very same social prejudices as many others in society.

Given the apparently open season of violence towards trans people in Turkey, it should not need stating that such a constitutional safeguard should be implemented immediately.

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Previously related posts:

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