The Istanbul Convention may become the new rupture point between the European Union and Turkey. Gender rights are just starting to be a battleground in Turkey, Poland and beyond.
Netflix has refuted claims that it will end its operations in Turkey. "We're proud of the talented individuals that we're working with. We're very excited for our projects that are currently at the process of production and that will begin shooting soon," Netflix said. "We look forward to share these stories with our members all around the world," it added.
A recent report revealed that some 30 percent of rights violations against queers in southern Turkey in 2019. The same report by non-governmental organization Mersin LGBTI 7 Color Association revealed a total of 132 queer rights' violations.
Turkey defended a homophobic tweet by the head of the Turkish Red Crescent, describing him as a victim of "LGBT propaganda." Fahrettin Altun, Turkish presidency's communications director, said on Twitter that "LGBT propaganda poses a grave threat to freedom of speech," adding that the IFRC "became complicit in that attack by targeting" Kerem Kınık.
Istanbul's 28th LGBTI+ Pride week started on June 22 with a week-long schedule, entirely planned online. After having been banned for the past five years, the Pride march will also be carried out digitally this year. The theme of the Pride week is "Where am I?" focusing on safe spaces for queers during the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration.
French sporting goods brand Decathlon was threatened with a boycott by some customers because of their social media post supporting Pride Month. The brand said they were "proud of" their stance of inclusivity and that they were against all forms of discrimination.
Turkish prosecutors have said they have not found any reason to start an investigation into Diyanet head Ali Erbaş over his comment that "homosexuality causes disease." The prosecutors' decision came as Amnesty International called on the Turkish gov't to take urgent action to counter the increasing number of discriminatory statements and policies by state officials against LGBTI people.
Chamber of engineers and architects slams Erdoğan’s plan to change professional bodies’ election system
The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) has slammed President Erdoğan over his plan to change the election system of professional bodies, mainly bar associations and medical chambers. TMMOB chief Emin Koramaz said in a statement on May 5 that Erdoğan wants to “make professional bodies nonfunctional and control them through the means of ‘a legal regulation.’”
In remarks targeting LGBTI individuals, a Turkish academic has said that activists' referring to the Istanbul Convention's 3rd Article on sexual orientation to promote LGBTI rights is “the exploitation of the law.” “There is no obstacle for LGBT activists to be designated as terror organization in one day," Emir Kaya said.
Gov’t plans to change bars’ election system amid rift over top religious official’s homophobic remarks
The ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) is planning to change the election system of bars amid a recent rift between the government and the bars over Diyanet head Ali Erbaş's homophobic remarks. One of the changes sought by the AKP is the election of bars' administration via proportional representation. The government also seeks to decrease the effectiveness of bars with a high number of lawyers, such as Ankara and Istanbul, in the Turkish Bar Associations elections.
A German clinic has announced that it terminated the employment contract of a Turkish heart surgeon over his comments that "homosexuality is a disease." The doctor's statements echoed those of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş.
Several German politicians have found recent remarks of Diyanet head Ali Erbaş on LGBTI individuals alarming, with one saying: "Erbaş's statements once again showed that the situation for LGBTI people in Turkey remains very difficult, indeed dangerous." They have also said that they were expecting imams affiliated with Diyanet's branch DİTİB, Germany's largest Islamic umbrella group, to "abide by the basic values of freedom and tolerance."
Prosecutors’ investigation widens to include Diyarbakır Bar Association after criticism of top cleric
Turkish prosecutors have extended their investigation into bar associations over their criticism of Diyanet head Ali Erbaş, who last week suggested that "homosexuality causes illness." After the Ankara Bar Association, the Diyarbakır Bar Association also now faces charges of “insulting religious values.”
The Positive Living Association, a non-governmental organization advocating the rights of individuals living with HIV, has urged Diyanet head Ali Erbaş to apologize for his remarks targeting the LGBT community and HIV-positive individuals. Saying that Erbaş's statements contradict logic, science and law, the association noted that he discriminated the society with hate speech.
The head of Turkey’s top religious authority has once again targeted LGBT individuals during a sermon. “Islam curses homosexuality. What is the reason of that? The reason is that it brings with it illnesses and decay to lineage,” Ali Erbaş said on April 24, while addressing the novel coronavirus outbreak. Last year, Erbaş had claimed that the pride march “goes against creation,” calling same-sex relations “heresy."