Turkish parliament questioned on trans safety

May 12, 2009

Turkish flagOver the past six months, I’ve written several posts about the undeclared war being waged against trans people in Turkey, apparently with the tacit approval of the government. And each time, I’ve been left with a sense of hopelessness that things will ever get better. So I’m heartened to read in the Hürriyet Daily News (link here) about a politician who at least appears to be taking the crisis seriously:

A Democratic Society Party, or DTP, Diyarbakır deputy, Akın Birdal, has sent a series of question proposals to Parliament, asking the prime minister about details of legal procedures regarding transgender murders in Turkey.

The list of questions proposed by Birdal asking about the nature of investigation procedures into these murders, the degree of punishments implemented and if any plans were being put into place for the Turkish Constitution, the penal code and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender organizations, or LGBTT, to establish new legal measures against such crimes.

In his proposal Birdal highlighted the increase in attacks against transsexuals, transvestites and homosexual’s. “In all social and political systems the right to live is the most consecrated right, and therefore the government needs to protect transgender citizens, who are increasingly being put under threat by society,” Birdal said.

Birdal said there has been no formal explanation about the recent transgender murder cases. He said there are no organizations provided by the Police Department where citizens can seek help when they feel threatened or after they becomes victims of an attack.

Birdal gave an example of a court case from the 11th High Criminal court in Ankara in September 2008, stating that the criminals that attack transgender citizens often come from organized groups that carry out persistent attacks on the victims. These attacks result in transgender citizens being forced out of their neighborhoods. “Organizations need to be established to help protect these citizens and enable them to seek refuge and help in threatening cases,” Bridal said.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Parliament will even listen to Mr Birdal’s words, let alone take them seriously, or act on them. In solidarity with those of my trans siblings in Turkey who are forced to live in fear for their lives, I wait and watch for positive developments with interest, because the current state of affairs surely cannot continue indefinitely.

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