Istanbul Gov. Takes Activists To Court

Turkish Gays Under Fire

It’s no picnic being gay in Turkey. While homosexuality isn’t technically illegal, many of the nation’s Muslims disapprove of same-sex love. And so, too, does the governor of Istanbul. Muammer Güler ordered the public prosecutor to file charges against Lambda Istanbul, a gay advocacy group.

Using the Turkish Civil Code as a foundation, the governor contends that Lambda Istanbul challenges both law and morality.

The Turkish Civil Code states that associations against law and morality cannot be established.

Because Lambda Istanbul’s title has the words “lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transvestite and transsexual” in it, this association’s title and purposes were found to be against the Turkish Civil Code,” said the governor’s letter sent to public prosecutors and the group, Lambda Istanbul.

Sheesh, talk about getting bogged down by semantics!

The case against Lambda Istanbul echoes a 2005 case against Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Organization. In that case, officials in Ankara refused to ban the gay group. Rather than relying on Turkey’s pro-lgbt legislation – of which there is none – the judge cited the American Psychiatric Association’s assertion that homosexuality ain’t a mental illness. Further, the presiding officials states that words like “gay” and “lesbian” are ingrained in daily life and research. He also cited European Union’s political stance on the matter and the European Convention of Human Rights.

Lambda Istanbul, meanwhile, says not only are they not immoral, they’re simply employing their freedom of speech to let their countrymen know, “Not only heterosexuals live in this society!” They go on,

We also remind that both LGBT associations “Lambdaistanbul,” and “Kaos GL,” are founded with the same objectives and are working in the frame of the law. We demand to fairness and have the same criteria and conventions in the city of Istanbul as well.

The trial starts next week. If found guilty, Lambda Istanbul will be shut down and fined.