According to an annual report by Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (KAOS GL) in Turkey, the freedom of expression of the LGBTI+ community has continued to be violated in 2021 and at least eight hate murders were reported throughout the year.
Authors of the report, entitled ‘Against All Odds’, are lawyer Kerem Dikmen and human rights monitoring expert Defne Güzel who prepared the report on the basis of media reflections, and on testimonies received from victims by KAOS GL and some other NGOs.
According to the report, cases concerning violations of the right to freedom expression saw a further rise in 2021, and constituted almost 30% of all rights violations.
At least eight hate crime murders targeting LGBTI+ people were committed within the year. The reports admits that this figure ‘does not seem to reflect the real situation’, as it indicates only the number of incidents that were investigated. The true figure is most likely much higher.
The police violated legal regulations prohibiting torture and ill-treatment during demonstrations, and this involved hundreds of people, the report said.
In at least seven incidents, at least 12 individuals who attended demonstrations were ill-treated or tortured by the police. No information on any investigation into cases in the cities of Ankara, Aydın, Çanakkale, İstanbul and İzmir were ever disclosed by the authorities.
The report also noted that ill-treatment by the police turned into torture against LGBTI+ activists particularly during the demonstrations in the Boğaziçi University against the appointment of a rector by the Turkish president.
LGBTI+ activists were ill-treated as they were taken into custody also during the Women’s March on 8 March 2021, and during the Pride Parade.
The report concluded to say that Turkish state officials and institutions have acted as an inciter of violence and hate crimes against the LGBTI+ community.
“The failure of the state, with all its officials and institutions, to provide LGBTI+ individuals access to any rights, their efforts to deny these individuals opportunities, and furthermore their rhetoric and actions directly targeting LGBTI+ individuals, are the most important indications of a decline,” it said.
“Despite this all-out attack it is apparent that the LGBTI+ community, as a part of the social opposition, are the most dynamic group in the struggle for human rights, and they are determined to exercise their rights, especially freedom of expression, without bowing to pressure.”
One of the most senior administration figures who has consistently publicly targeted the LGBTI+ community with his statements, the Turkish interior minister Süleyman Soylu recently said:
“What is LGBTI+? Woman to woman, man to man marriage. What else do you want to say? Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu [leader of the main opposition] has said everything already (…) So we are the bigots and they are progressives. No, in this country this can not be tolerated.”