Turkey: Police try to prevent submission of human rights petition by trans protesters

November 2, 2009

“Money is the road to justice – and power walks it on crooked legs”

Turkish flagVia bianet: news of another attempt by the state to continue its oppression of trans people, this time at a protest against human rights abuses.

About 80 people gathered in Ankara upon the call of the Pink Life Transgender Association. Despite police resistance they managed to hand their petition for redress to the Human Rights Presidency of the Prime Ministry. The petition is concerned with police violence against transvestites and transsexuals and rights violations occurring in the Act on Misdemeanour.

Members of the Pink Life LGBTT Association handed a petition to the Human Rights Presidency of the Prime Ministry considering grievances in the “Act on Misdemeanour”. According to this law arbitrary police fines for transvestites and transsexuals have been abolished. The petition draws attention to the fact that nevertheless, the police goes to their houses with orders of confiscation and fines, arbitrarily arrests and detains transvestites and transsexuals and closes down their homes.

I recently wrote about this particularly nasty form of oppression which was initially instigated in Istanbul, and the practice of which is evidently spreading. (Links here and here)

Briefly, the police are harassing trans people every time they step outside their homes – leaving the bakery, while grocery shopping, even whilst at the hairdresser’s. The police then issue a fine of around 35€ (approximately £32 in Britain; or a little over $50 in the U.S.) – and this happens every time a trans person is stopped.

This has all come about since the introduction of a new system of incentives to the police department, whereby officers earn points for each fine they issue – which effectively translates into bonuses in their pay packets.

More recently, there have been eye witness accounts of trans people variously being held without charge, detained under unofficial house arrest and evicted and made homeless. It seems that these practices are now spreading to Ankara, and perhaps other places too.

Supporters of the Pink Life LGBTT Association gathered on Ankara’s popular Yüksel Avenue before they submitted their petition on 23 October. In the petition they asked, “How much longer will the injustice against us continue, which is acted out by the police force of the Ankara Public Security branch staff, the Esat Police Station, the Kavaklıdere Police Station, the Anafartalar Police Station and the Karşıyaka Police Station? How many more of our homes will be closed by the Ankara Governorship?”

[…]

After the group had read out their demands, they wanted to walk to the Prime Ministry to submit their petition. As reported to bianet by Kaos GL spokesman Barış Sulu, the police tried to prevent the group from entering the Prime Ministry by setting up barricades.

Later on Pink Life members Kılıçkaya, Fulden Aras and Sevgi Yıldırım entered the Prime Ministry as representatives of the association and went to Human Rights Chairman Mehmet Yılmaz Küçük‘s office. In the meantime Küçük had agreed that the group could come one by one to hand in their demands. However, the police did not allow this for some more time.

It really is high time the rest of the world at the very least condemned these oppressive acts by the Turkish authorities; if it were possible to impose some form of sanctions without causing further suffering to ordinary people, then I believe that should be done, too. It’s clear that these hate crimes will continue unchecked for as long as the authorities are allowed to get away with it. I say they should be called to account for these human rights breaches as quickly as possible.

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Curtsey to Stefani for the link

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Previous related posts:

  • Human rights violations against LGBT individuals in Turkey in 2008 (August 9, 2009)
  • Turkey: trials in connection with the murders of two trans women now under way (July 9, 2009)
  • Unsafe haven: LGBT asylum seekers and refugees in Turkey (July 8, 2009)
  • Turkey – new Chief of Police for Istanbul. Will this bring an end to the “undeclared war” against trans women? (June 15, 2009)
  • Turkish policemen on trial for attack on trans woman (May 29, 2009)
  • Turkey: another trans woman stabbed to death – UPDATE (May 29, 2009)
  • Turkey: another trans woman stabbed to death (May 25, 2009)
  • Turkish parliament questioned on trans safety (May 12, 2009)
  • Lambda Istanbul granted permission to continue operating (May 7, 2009)
  • Suspected murderer of trans rights activist arrested in Turkey (April 21, 2009)
  • Every 15 days, another trans person is murdered in Turkey (April 14, 2009)
  • The undeclared war against LGBTT people in Turkey continues (March 29, 2009)
  • Another trans woman murdered in Turkey (March 14, 2009)
  • Trans woman stabbed to death in Istanbul (March 12, 2009)
  • Lambda Istanbul wins appeal against closure (January 28, 2009)
  • Trans rights abuses in Turkey (November 29, 2008)
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