HRW’s Turkey Report Highlights EU’s Gay Flaws

Human Rights Watch puts more pressure on Turkey this morning.

The non-profit last month demanded that the nation cease-and-desist its anti-gay ways. Apparently the Turkish government didn’t meet HRW’s expectations, because they’ve today released a 123-page report highlighting human rights abuses against the homos.

In addition to compiling a startling collection of violence – like trans people being raped by cops – HRW’s urging the European Union to withhold Turkey’s membership until they’ve cleaned up their act.

Turkish law offers no express protections for LGBT people’s universal human rights. In 2005, Turkey reviewed some of its laws to bar discrimination, a move meant to show Turkey’s commitment to European Union standards. However, Turkey has yet to adopt a comprehensive antidiscrimination law that conforms to EU standards.

“In the complex path toward European Union accession, this report points to an area where little or nothing has changed,” said [executive director Scott] Long. “The EU must fully incorporate issues of sexual orientation and gender identity when considering Turkey’s application for membership.”

Turkey’s hardly the only homophobic nation vying for EU membership. Just yesterday we reported that gays may not make it into anti-discrimination policies because nations like Poland and Italy would object. In fact, Poland’s senate recently passed its European Charter, but failed to include gay rights.

Rather than fighting for what’s right, the Union insists it must be “realistic” when dealing with conservative countries:

We need to be realistic, and we have signals from some member states that they would not support such a horizontal directive and this, of course, is a problem because we need unanimity in council to get the proposal through.

By folding to right wing regimes, the European Union does itself – and democracy – an injustice. As Long says, “Democracy means defending all people’s basic rights against the dictatorship of custom and the tyranny of hate.” One would think that Europe, with its long history, would realize that by now. But apparently not.