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An employee of Istanbul Municipality (İBB) was laid off for being homosexual less than two months after getting hired, the LGBTI+ news portal Kaos LG reported.

Erkan Altay was hired to work at the municipality hotline Beyaz Masa in December of 2019 and was asked during a routine health check why he was excused from his military service. Altay explained he got a doctor’s report for being gay.

Altay says he thought it was wrong for him to be asked this question and told his supervisor what happened.

Upon notifying his supervisor, Altay says he started receiving discriminatory treatment from him.

Altay was fired on Jan. 6.

The hiring process was “problematic”

Altay says that while the job interviews were fair and candidates from all backgrounds were granted an equal treatment, he encountered problems upon starting the job.

Since he lived far from the municipal building, he needed to move in to another, closer house. Altay says he asked about the pay.

Altay says that though asked about the pay, he wasn’t provided with any information and was told he would find out when he started working.

While at the municipality to sign his contract, he inquired about wages once again but to no avail.

“I signed my contract nonetheless out of trust for the establishment,” Altay said, adding that after signing their contracts, the candidates were told “there is no definitive information about the wages, but that it wouldn’t be below minimum wage.”

After everyone signed their contracts, the new employees were sent to the infirmary where Altay saw the doctor and told him he had been exempted from military service for being gay.

“She behaved as if she’d discovered a dirty secret about me”

Altay says he thought the process was problematic and informed his supervisor F.S.

“Unlike her attitude within the establishment, she behaved as if she’d discovered a dirty secret about me, in a condescending and aggressive way,” Altay said.

Altay said that he also notified his supervisor that they had not been given clear information about their positions, and that the new employees had a variety of skills, and that he hadn’t gotten a clear idea of what would determine their placements.

“The supervisor said in a disrespectful way that she didn’t know what I was talking about and that I was being condescending of less skilled people,” Altay said, and added that he responded by saying he would never discriminate against anyone.

“They tried to make me stop talking”

Altay moved closer to the municipality and continued his training, during which he made some friends.

On Jan. 6, his name was announced in class and was called into the supervisor’s office.

“I was told by the supervisor and two people from Human Relations that I would be unhappy there and that my skill set didn’t fit the job,” Altay said.

Altay says he was notified of his termination by his supervisor and the two people from HR, who all kept interrupting him during the discussion.

“When I said I understood that their reaction was because of my homosexuality, they panicked and tried to make me stop talking,” Altay said.

Altay said that he would be upset if this incident reflected badly on mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. He also said he had faith that this situation would be corrected.

“I felt it was my duty to oppose the mindset of impunity that prevails in public institutions,” Altay said. “I have complete faith that this will be fixed with the fair and humane manner the tests were conducted in,” he added.