Reuters - Duvar English
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 31 that a constitutional amendment that his party will present to Turkey's parliament will protect families from what he called "perverse trends," appearing to take aim at global same-sex marriage laws.
Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is preparing to submit constitutional amendments in coming days which will also ensure civil rights for women wearing headscarves.
Speaking to Islamic religious leaders, Erdoğan criticised what he said was a global trend of the family unit losing its meaning.
"While the unity between woman and man based on legitimacy is scorned; perversion, immorality and crooked relationships are being encouraged intentionally," he said.
Erdoğan and AKP lawmakers have toughened their rhetoric against the LGBT community in recent years, frequently labeling members "deviants" or "perverts".
"I view the proposal for a constitutional ammendment that we will submit to parliament in coming days as an important step in this regard," Erdoğan said.
He said he aims to "protect the family establishment from increasing threats by perverse trends".
Kerem Dikmen, a lawyer for the LGBT rights group Kaos GL, said strengthening the constitutional rights of one part of society should not lead to loss of rights for another.
Referring to homosexual relations in a speech about families "deepens the concerns by LGBTI+ individuals, who are equal citizens of the state ...in a period when hate speech against LGBTI+ individuals and hate crimes have increased," Dikmen said.
Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but hostility to it is widespread.
The country was once seen as a safe haven for the LGBT community in the Middle East and Istanbul was the scene of large Pride marches, with tens of thousands attending. But the marches have been effectively banned since 2015.
The AKP and their nationalist MHP allies do not have the three-fifths majority in parliament to pass constitutional amendments.
"We are going to stand tall against these efforts (in our country) until the end and not let this Muslim society be taken over by some people," Erdoğan said.
President Erdoğan first on Oct. 5 called for a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to wear headscarf for women, after the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Oct. 4 submitted a draft law with regards to the issue.
Erdoğan later said that the constiutional amendment in question will also include the protection of family which according to him "consists of the union of man and woman."
"The concept of family is indispensable for us. Because a strong nation comes from a strong family. Lately they have introduced LGBT into society, trying to degenerate our family structure," Erdoğan further said on Oct. 7.
CHP's move came amid allegations that the CHP would reban headscarf if it won the general elections scheduled to take place in June 2023.
The issue of the headscarf ban held an important place in public and political debates in Turkey in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The AKP lifted the headscarf ban for students in universities in 2010 and for public employees in 2013.