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 Post subject: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:01 am 
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Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of Turkey's first gay honour killing?

By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul
Saturday, 19 July 2008

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Ahmet Yildiz was shot as he left a cafe near the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul

In a corner of Istanbul today, the man who might be described as Turkey's gay poster boy will be buried — a victim, his friends believe, of the country's deepening friction between an increasingly liberal society and its entrenched conservative traditions.

Ahmet Yildiz, 26, a physics student who represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco last year, was shot leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus strait this week. Fatally wounded, the student tried to flee the attackers in his car, but lost control, crashed at the side of the road and died shortly afterwards in hospital. His friends believe Mr Yildiz was the victim of the country's first gay honour killing.

"He fell victim to a war between old mentalities and growing civil liberties," says Sedef Cakmak, a friend and a member of the gay rights lobby group Lambda. "I feel helpless: we are trying to raise awareness of gay rights in this country, but the more visible we become, the more we open ourselves up to this sort of attack."

Turkey was all but closed to the world until 1980 but its desire for European Union membership has imposed strains on a society formerly kept on a tight leash. As the notion of rights for minorities such as women and gays has blossomed, the country's civil society becomes more vibrant by the day. But the changes have brought a backlash from traditionalist circles wedded to the old regime.

Bungled efforts by a religious-minded government to loosen the grip of Turkey's authoritarian version of secularism have triggered a court case aimed at shutting the ruling party down, with a verdict expected within a month.

Against this backdrop, the issues of women's rights, sexuality and the place of religion in the public arena have been particularly contentious. Ahmet Yildiz's crime, his friends say, was to admit openly to his family that he was gay.

"From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents," one close friend and near neighbour recounted. "They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing."

The family pressure increased, the friend explained. "They wanted him to go back home, see a doctor who could cure him, and get married." Shortly after coming out this year, Mr Yildiz went to a prosecutor to complain that he was receiving death threats. The case was dropped. Five months later, he was dead. The police are now investigating his murder. For gay rights groups, the student's inability to get protection was a typical by-product of the indifference, if not hostility, with which a broad swathe of Turkish society views homosexuality. The military, for example, sees it as an "illness". Men applying for an exemption to obligatory military service on grounds of homosexuality must provide proof — either in the form of an anal examination, or photographs.

"The media ignores or laughs off violence against gays," says Buse Kilickaya, a member of the gay lobbying group Pink Life, adding that Ahmet Yildiz's death "risks being swept under the carpet and forgotten like other cases in the past". Turkey has a history of honour killings. A government survey earlier this year estimated that one person every week dies in Istanbul as a result of honour killings. It put the nationwide death toll at 220 in 2007. In the majority of cases, the victims are women, but Mr Yildiz's friends suspect he may be the first recorded victim of a homosexual honour killing.

"We've been trying to contact Ahmet's family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral," one of the victim's friends said yesterday, standing outside the morgue where his body has been for three days. "There's no answer, and I don't think they are going to come." The refusal of families to bury their relatives is common after honour-related murders.

Mazhar Bagli, a Turkish sociologist who has interviewed 189 people convicted of honour killings, has never heard of a death revolving around homosexuality but has no doubt that it could be used as justification. "Honour killings cleanse illicit relationships. For women, that is a broad term. Men are allowed more sexual freedom, but homosexuality is still seen by some as beyond the pale."

While his death may be unique, Mr Yildiz is by no means the first victim of widespread homophobia. When an Istanbul court decided to close down the city's largest gay rights group late this May, commentators took the decision as evidence of a crackdown on the community spearheaded by Turkey's current religious-minded government. Lambda Istanbul had been taken to court by the Istanbul governor's office on the grounds that it was "against the law and morality".

However, many gay activists are reluctant to draw a connection with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), noting it was the first party in Turkey's history to send a deputy to attend a conference on gay rights. This year's Gay Pride parade in Istanbul was the largest ever, they also point out. Long active in more liberal parts of western Turkey, gay groups are even beginning to meet relatively openly in the conservative east of the country where Ahmet Yildiz came from.

But according to the former neighbour, the physics student's blank refusal to hide who he was in any way may have been too much for his family. "He could have hidden who he was, but he wanted to live honestly," the neighbour said. "When the death threats started, his boyfriend tried to persuade him to get out of Turkey. But he stayed. He was too brave. He was too open."

Killed by those they loved

So-called "honour killings" continue to be a grim reality wherever conservative social mores resist the rule of law.

In Turkey, a recent government study estimated that around 1,000 honour killings have been committed in the past five years. The victims are mostly young women, murdered by male relatives for transgressing chauvinistic social rules.

Women have been killed for having illicit affairs, talking to strangers, or even for being the victim of rape. Turkey's justice system has recently increased penalties for honour killings, and ended the practice of allowing murderers to claim family honour as an extenuating circumstance. However, getting a child relative to carry out the killing remains a horrifying way around the law.

The problem is not confined to Turkey. The UN estimates that 5,000 honour killings take place globally every year, from Brazil to Pakistan to Britain. Police estimate more than a dozen honour killings take place in the UK every year, such as the brutal rape and murder of 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod by her uncle and father in 2006, or the murder of Rukhsana Naz, strangled by her family because she wanted a divorce in 1999.

Honour killings have not so far really targeted gay men, although in 2006 a wave of anti-gay killings took place in Iraq, carried out by fanatical Islamist militias. A Jordanian man was shot and wounded by his brother in 2004, apparently for being gay.

Jeff Black

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:03 am 
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Religion, pornography and the Turkish government

It seems odd that the state is staking its secular credentials on adopting a libertarian stance: is there another agenda?

o Rahila Gupta
o guardian.co.uk,
o Friday August 29 2008

After narrowly avoiding being shut down by the judiciary for undermining the secular freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, the ruling Islamic party in Turkey, the AKP, has become extremely nervous of introducing any legislation that appears to advance the religious agenda. A protection of youth bill that contained anti-porn measures was hastily dumped after an outcry from secular forces.

In the context of the debates on pornography that take place in the UK, it seemed odd that the Turkish government had to stake its claim of being secular by adopting a libertarian position on pornography. Here, the debate is sharply divided between libertarians, who argue that pornography is the business of consenting adults, and not that of the state, and feminists, who oppose pornography on the grounds that it degrades women.

The law might seem an attractive tool in the fight against pornography because it signals what is unacceptable to society. Of course, British feminists recognise that the banning of pornography can be problematical, not merely because the dividing line between pornography and erotica is so fluid, but because it vests too much power in the state. Historically, such legislation has been used more broadly than intended to crack down on any sexually explicit material, often lesbian and gay material, without regard to whether it is exploitative. It is because of the dangers posed by a powerful state that Turkish feminists, whose views have so far gone unreported, are opposed to the bill.

Meltem Arikan, a Turkish writer and feminist, felt the heavy hand of the state when her book, Don't Hurt My Flesh, based on interviews with children who had experienced incest and abuse at home, was banned in 2004 under legislation designed to protect children from pornography. She had to defend the book in court before the ban was lifted. She believes that the protection of youth bill should have been called the policing of youth bill, because its provisions are designed to monitor and restrict the movements of young people. The bill proposed, for instance, that unaccompanied under-18s should not be allowed into restaurants after 10pm; true protection of young people would require the government to take steps towards prevention of abuse within the family. As far as the religious establishment is concerned, the family is sacrosanct, and any investigation into incest is out of bounds. Arikan suspects:

The government wants to use the protection of youth as an excuse to attack secularism, which was established in Turkey around 80 years ago. Therefore, feminists of Turkey, who are aware of the secret purpose of the government, are against the law.

Meanwhile, new legislation in the UK, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, makes it an offence to be in possession of images of extreme pornography. It remains to be seen whether there will be a consensus on what constitutes "extreme". And whether a more liberal state can be trusted to make judgments that protect women from degradation.

Given the different alignment of social and political forces here, the anti-porn campaign has made feminists uneasy bedfellows with the religious lobby, which opposes porn on grounds of morality. The feminist agenda is, of course, quite distinct. We need to carve out a space for women to express our sexuality, distinct from constructions of women's sexuality by exploitative industries such as porn or prostitution, or the controlling strictures of religion.

Source: Guardian UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:14 am 
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It's good to see Turkey is handling these topics in an open manner rather than having the religious factions force their morality upon the state.

And there really is NO "fluid line between erotica and pornography" !

Pornography is the clear depiction of the sex act, whether alone or with other people or objects. Erotica does NOT depict the sex act.

:x

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:45 pm 
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Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

September 17, 2008
By Kerem Öktem
Source: Middle East Report

What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work?

If the city is Istanbul, it seems, nothing much. Apart from the anxious glances of a few young male bystanders caught up in the demonstration and the occasional cheers of onlookers, only the presence of riot police at the Istanbul gay pride parade on June 29, 2008 would have reminded the observer that this was a politically sensitive event in a deeply troubled setting. Yet, in contrast to their aggressive tactics against peaceful demonstrators on May Day, the police were remarkably restrained as well.

June 29 marked the largest gay pride event ever to be held in Turkey, and indeed the largest in the immediate neighborhood of southeast Europe, where similar, if smaller, processions were attacked by right-wing extremists and members of the general public. The march's dispassionate reception was surprising, particularly considering that it took place as Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by politicians with Islamist origins, faced an existential threat in the country's highest court. The legal challenge to the AKP's right to participate in politics, mounted by defenders of the state secularist legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and dismissed by the Constitutional Court on July 31, could have escalated into all-out war over Turkey's future. Yet no one used the gay pride parade to pose as champions of public morality. There was no hate campaign, and indeed there was benign neglect, in both the Islamist and secular sectors of the mainstream press. Coverage in the left and liberal press was sympathetic; only newspapers close to the extremist Islamist Felicity Party featured a smattering of incitement. Was this an indicator of growing acceptance of gender non-conforming lifestyles in Turkey, a sign of a more tolerant, outward-looking society, affirmation of a more progressive cultural climate?

There is wide consensus that Turkey is a "hinge state," a hybrid of the political and also sexual regimes and ideologies of Europe and the Middle East.[1] Turkey's neighbors to the east have considered homosexuality a punishable offense for the better part of a century, due to British or French mandate-era civil codes or conservative interpretations of Islamic law; its neighbors to the west have followed restrictive Communist legislation or conservative Orthodox Christian legal mores to the same conclusion. But homosexuality has not been an issue of criminal justice in Turkey since the modern nation-state emerged in the 1920s. The only territory under Turkish control where homosexuality is banned is northern Cyprus, where British anti-sodomy laws were incorporated into the Cypriot and, later, the Turkish Republic of Cyprus penal code.

Yet as liberal and cosmopolitan as Istanbul and other cities in western Turkey look in comparison to cities in nearby countries, Turkey remains a deeply conservative -- if highly heterogeneous and regionally differentiated -- society gripped by a patriarchal and militarist state ideology rooted in the foundational myths of Kemalism. If many gays and lesbians prosper as professionals or within the arts and media sectors, and some gay rights activists carve out spaces of interaction protected to a degree from state intrusion, transgender people are exposed by both the visible manifestations of their sexual orientation and their engagement in sex work. As Elif Shafak argues, the Kemalist modernization project "required the mapping of gender roles and public-private zones, as well as the redrawing of the boundaries in between."[2] Kemalist and Islamist responses to transgender individuals are equally negative, but the former is probably more hateful: The transsexual condition is particularly threatening to the ideological constructs of modern Turkey's very essence, the clearly, albeit differently, circumscribed roles for men and women in the public sphere. But the loud and public advocacy of all gender non-conforming people, gays and lesbians included, for equal rights throws into question key tenets of the republic: militarism, male hegemony and de-feminized femininity, a concept exemplified by the female doctors, nurses and teachers, who were expected to subordinate their sexuality to the ideal of selfless service of the nation.

Fighting for Pride

Traditional forms of homosexual and homoerotic interaction, including the dances of males performing in women's clothes (zenne and köçek), were tolerated in the Ottoman Empire and, for much of its history, in the Turkish Republic as well. Transsexuals performed on stage and as sex workers in private rendezvous houses; veterans recall with nostalgia being treated by clients in a "gentlemanly manner." All this, of course, happened behind closed doors, protected from the public gaze. Then the military coup of 1980, the central rupture in Turkey's recent political history, unsettled this balance between reluctant toleration and enforced invisibility.

The putschists destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of young men and women and imposed a militarist, religiously conservative mindset in educational and other state institutions as part of their war on communists and other leftists. But the generals also declared war on individuals they deemed morally deviant. Literally storming nightclubs and music halls across the country, military commanders ordered transsexuals to be removed and imprisoned.[3] After undergoing torture and compulsory haircuts, the dancers were forcibly relocated to provincial cities. Contemporary witnesses remember transsexuals being dragged onto trains and trying to escape by jumping off the carriages bound for Eskişehir, a town in west-central Anatolia. At the same time, famous transsexual singers like the "Sun of Art" Zeki Müren (1931-1996) and Bülent Ersoy were banned from stage, radio and TV, over which the state had monopolies at the time.

Following the destruction of the socialist left, however, the late 1980s saw the cautious emergence of new social and identity movements, ranging from feminists to the liberal left, from anti-militarists to Kurdish rights groups. In this environment, gay, lesbian and transgender people, and their sexual and political identities, became increasingly visible. The turning point was an aborted gay pride week in Istanbul in 1993, initially authorized by the governor, but banned after a campaign of libel in the mainstream media. Gays, lesbians and, increasingly, transgender people reacted to the reversal by organizing themselves in the associations Lambda Istanbul and Kaos GL in Ankara.

The rest is a story of unprecedented achievement. In 1994, Kaos GL began publishing a monthly "gay-lesbian cultural magazine," and soon became a focal point for the emergence of a self-identified gay community in Turkey. Annual gay pride events occurred in Istanbul and Ankara, even if only in cultural centers and theaters. In 2001, members of Kaos GL joined in the May Day demonstrations in Ankara, paving the way for the first gay pride parade, in Istanbul in 2003. "The first time we were out in the streets," remembered one activist, "we were about 20 or so people." Yet another breakthrough came in 2007, when the parliamentary election campaign, moved up by the AKP government after Kemalist politicians blocked a vote on the AKP's candidate for president, coincided with the pride parade. Around 1,500 demonstrators hit the streets, inspired by the slogan of independent candidate and professor Baskin Oran that society can only change when the disenfranchised bust out of the confines of identity politics and act in solidarity with each other. Oran's words captured the outlook of Kaos GL and Lambda. The result was broader coalitions of gay rights groups, socialist and feminist activists, human rights organizations and representatives of the liberal left.[4] The simple, remarkable fact is that, in the space of 15 years, Turkey's gay and lesbian rights movements have created the conditions for the emergence of a conscious cultural and political gay identity, a better informed and less homophobic mainstream media, and a community of thousands of active supporters who do not fear to make a public stand.

"Cleansing" the Neighborhood

Yet to what extent does this success translate into concrete amelioration of homophobic practices in public institutions and the legal system? Paradoxically, at least at first glance, discriminatory practices in state institutions are widespread and homophobic behavior is on the rise. Hate crimes against members of the LGBT community are rampant, as dramatized by the July 2008 murder of gay rights activist Ahmet Yildiz, dubbed the first gay "honor killing" because the killer is allegedly a member of the extended family.[5] Much of the rise in incidents of homophobia may be due to better reporting. Yet the change seems to be structural: A war rages within the republican establishment over the right way to be a "Turkish citizen" and a "Turkish man." It is fought in police stations, courts and military barracks, and seems to target members of the transgender community with the greatest violence.

According to Pinar Selek, one of Turkey's most prolific sociologists and feminists, this ideological war is compounded by strategies of inner-city beautification and rent generation predicated upon the removal of those who disturb decent, ordinary folk.[6] The suburb of Eryaman is one of Ankara's many new high-rise residential areas that supply affordable and relatively well-appointed accommodations to the lower middle classes. Many transsexuals have moved there in recent years. Apart from the odd quizzical look, they have had few problems with their neighbors, even if the fact that some of them engaged in sex work did raise concerns. All this changed, however, in April 2006, when a group of young men known to be members of the semi-fascist Hearths of the Ideal (Ülkü Ocakları) attacked the flats of transsexual tenants. In the ensuing days, transsexuals were rounded up, abused and beaten, under the noses of silent neighbors, as well as local policemen who declined to intervene.[7] In some cases, the far-right attackers were joined by plainclothes officers identified as members of the "Sledgehammer" unit, which is tasked with ridding Ankara of sex workers and transgender people.[8] The assailants are now on trial for forming an armed gang to engage in criminal activity. While this case is the first prosecution for attacks on transsexuals, the judge intends to reduce the charges to inflicting bodily harm. Whatever the outcome, the initial goal of "cleansing" Eryaman of gender non-conforming people, thereby precluding a slump in housing prices, has been achieved.

Unlike tightly controlled Ankara, Istanbul is often assumed to be more welcoming toward sexual minorities. Yet here, as well, the police have effectively declared transsexuals fair game, leaving no doubt that they will receive no assistance when they fall victim to crime. In fact, transsexuals are often beaten up when they enter a police station in central Istanbul. At the heart of Istanbul nightlife, and particularly in Beyoğlu, transsexuals remain visible, some of them living together in a side street off Tarlabaşı Boulevard with the ironic name of Bayram, the term used for the feast at the end of Ramadan. Once a largely Greek and Armenian enclave, the area now accommodates illegal migrants, refugees, poor Kurds and Roma, as well as transsexuals. Bayram is the last such area of collective transsexual habitation, many others having been "cleansed" by police and local vigilantes in the 1990s. As per Selek's analysis, Bayram is the scene of a major urban transformation project seeking to replace cheap, substandard housing with an upper middle-class neighborhood. According to activist accounts, the residents of Bayram have been given one year's notice by a private developer: Leave, or we will make you leave. In a tragic turn, the transsexuals of Bayram, together with their Kurdish, Roma and African neighbors, will soon face involuntary removal from their homes, in an echo of the eviction campaigns targeting Armenians and Greeks before them.

Public Morals and Authoritarian Values

A malign symbiosis of security forces and ultra-nationalist vigilantes has been a periodic feature of Turkish politics since the 1950s. All of the recent high-profile political murders -- Father Andrea Santoro in 2006, Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in January 2007, three evangelical Christians in April 2007 -- were carried out by members of groups of a nationalist and, to some extent, Islamist persuasion, either with the tacit knowledge or the outright logistical support of security personnel. The ongoing court case against the Ergenekon network, composed of retired generals, active-duty army and police officers, judges and other Kemalist establishmentarians, is likely to reveal more such vigilantism and intimidation of minority groups.

The courts, however, play an ambiguous role in that many judges seek to interpret current law, which is less draconian than in the past thanks to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, in the authoritarian and socially conservative spirit of the founding years of the republic. These jurists often employ notions of public morals rooted in the penal code of fascist Italy, as well as notions of decency based in Islamic legal norms.[9]

A court case against Lambda Istanbul, organizer of the 2008 pride march and Turkey's most prominent gay rights group, resulted in a verdict rejecting Lambda's application for the status of formal association on the grounds that the words "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite and transsexual" in the group's name are "against the law and morality" and infringe upon the constitutional protection of the "Turkish family."[10] The fact that the court of first instance decided against the application shows, above all, the socially conservative worldview of many local judges, coupled with ignorance of international legal norms and European human rights law, which they are obliged to implement. The jurists also disregarded a key Turkish precedent: Kaos GL once faced almost exactly the same allegations. In that case, the public prosecutor confirmed the group's official status as an association when he decided that there was no reason to suspect the association of "immoral" activities. The governor, Muammer Güler, an AKP appointee, will have to register Lambda Istanbul eventually, either by decision of Turkey's Supreme Court, to which Lambda activists have now appealed, or failing that, the European Courts of Human Rights. In the meantime, Lambda's status remains in limbo, placing constraints on the group's activism and making it difficult for new members to join.

The only public body in Turkey that explicitly discriminates against homosexuals is the military. According to the Turkish Armed Forces Health Requirement Regulations, people with "high-level psychological disorders (homosexuality, transsexuality, transvestism)" are to be barred from military service.[11] At the same time, military doctors and psychological commissions set high thresholds for men to be identified as homosexuals, subjecting them to a series of humiliating and degrading tests based on outdated conceptions of human psychology. Once they are recognized as gay, they are dismissed as unfit for service, with possible repercussions for their job prospects and employment in state institutions. Conscientious objectors, especially but not only if they are gay, as in the case of Mehmet Tarhan, are treated with particular scorn: They are subjected to torture and ill treatment in military prisons and to recurrent prosecutions that amount, according to another case seen at the European Court of Human Rights, to "social death."[12] Remembering the armed forces' role in enforcing militarism and conservative social norms after the coup of 1980, it would be fair to say that the military is the most powerful combatant in the war over the definition of the values of society in general, and the norms governing the "Turkish man" and, hence, the Turkish nation, in particular.

Individuation

The common idea that Turkey is polarized between "secular" and "Islamist" camps obscures more than it reveals about social dynamics. Ever since the 1980 coup, despite the military regime's promotion of a "Turkish-Islamic synthesis" and despite the war in the Kurdish southeast, Turkey has been undergoing a process of individuation, the exploration of and struggle for identities beyond those permitted by the state or the community. Once, even critical intellectuals conformed in one way or another with the identities officially sanctioned by the Kemalist state. The few available avenues of resistance, such as radical leftist or Islamist politics, suppressed the individual as much as the praetorian state, whose policies were prescribed, above all, by the military and the civilian bureaucracy.[13] In the 1980s and 1990s, however, social change slowly created the conditions for individual identity choices. The country urbanized rapidly; levels of wealth and education rose; a socially responsible bourgeoisie investing in liberal institutions emerged; transnational networks of Alevi and Kurdish diasporas grew; and Turkey was exposed to global institutions and their norms, culminating in the process, now in abeyance, of accession to the EU.

The process of individuation led to clashes with both state- and community-approved identities. Hence, identity-based movements, whether Kurdish or Alevi, feminist or gay, lesbian and transsexual, experienced both pressure from the state and ostracism by society at large, albeit in varying measures. The ostensible paradox, that a conservative backlash strikes Turkey at a time when a growing number of individuals are losing the fear of coming to terms with their own history and identity, appears in the end to be dialectical rather than paradoxical. In the original condition of state authoritarianism, homophobia and hatred of Kurds were not explicit, because gender non-conforming individuals and Kurds were denied visibility and deprived of a safe political or social space. Now that these identities have become visible as well as audible -- even unavoidable -- the reaction to them is also manifest.

What complicates this tableau, which is otherwise quite similar to the European historical experience, is not so much Islam or even Islamism, but the modes of governance of the praetorian state. Without the state's extra-legal manipulation, far-right extremists and hardline Islamists might still attack transsexuals, gays, African immigrants, Christians or other "others." Yet they would not be capable of terrorizing society at large, carrying out assassinations and murders in broad daylight, were they not sanctioned and utilized by the security forces, treated with leniency by the courts and protected by the subliminal adoration of militarism and male supremacy that is constantly reproduced by many private media outlets.

Before the June 29 demonstration in Istanbul, Kaos GL and Lambda Istanbul organized a series of conferences, panel discussions and cultural events dedicated to the rights and the politics of members of the gay, lesbian and transsexual community. In Ankara, where some of the events took place on university campuses, hundreds of students took the opportunity to converse with gay rights activists. No ugly incidents occurred. Despite administrative hassles and occasional police interference, gay rights groups are now showing up beyond the metropolises, from Eskişehir to Antalya. Piramid GL, based in Diyarbakır, is the country's first Kurdish gay rights organization. Turkish Cypriots, too, have formed the Northern Cypriot Initiative Against Homophobia. As one panelist at the conclusion of the Istanbul pride week remarked, "Three years ago, we were only 40 people; last year we were 1,500." In 2008, they were almost twice as many.

Turkey might have avoided a political meltdown when the Constitutional Court decided not to outlaw the AKP, as the chief prosecutor of Turkey, a Kemalist stalwart, demanded. Yet the government's drive for reform, given impetus by belief in the possibility of integration into Europe, has lost considerable momentum. The AKP's social conservatism is omnipresent, whether in the censorious ban of cross-dressing on TV or in the promotion of a model of family relations that leaves no space for dissent or non-conforming gender roles. What is less likely, however, is the reversal of the societal process of individuation, which would require a level of state violence and a renunciation of basic democratic principles unimaginable at the current juncture. Even in the worst-case scenario of direct military intervention, Kurds will not resubmit to the delusion that they are "mountain Turks," families of survivors of the 1915 atrocities against Armenians will not deny their ancestry[14] and transsexuals will not turn into "Turkish men."

Even the generals of the 1980 junta managed to ban Bülent Ersoy and Zeki Müren from the stage for only a few years. When they were allowed to perform again, they returned with a vengeance: Ersoy had a sex change operation and Müren appeared in ever more colorful and feminine dress. The Sun of Art baffled almost everyone once again when he died in 1996, receiving a state funeral. He had bequeathed his belongings to the Mehmetçik Foundation, which provides pension funds for Turkish soldiers wounded or killed in combat.

Notes

1. Tarik Bereket and Barry D. Adam, "The Emergence of Gay Identities in Contemporary Turkey," Sexualities 9/2 (April 2006).
2. Elif Shafak, "Transgender Bolero," Middle East Report 230 (Spring 2004). See also Deniz Kandiyoti, "Transsexuals and the Urban Landscape in Istanbul," Middle East Report 206 (Spring 1998).
3. The tragicomic film Beynelmilel [The International] captures the brutality of the gender and cultural policies of the 1980 military regime. In a key scene, an army unit storms a gathering of local men, who meet to drink and sing with a köçek despite a curfew, and arrests all men present.
4. Bianet.org, July 3, 2007.
5. Independent, July 19, 2008. Activists say they have evidence for at least one comparable murder in the southeastern town of Maras.
6. Pinar Selek, Maskeler, Süvariler, Gacılar, Ülker Sokak: Bir Altkültürün Dışlanma Mekanı (Istanbul: Istiklal Kitabevi, 2007).
7. Kaos GL, LGBT Bireylerin Insan Haklari Raporu 2007 (Ankara, 2007).
8. Human Rights Watch, "We Need a Law for Liberation": Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights in a Changing Turkey (New York, May 2008).
9. See Kerem Öktem, "Revolution of Islamic Law: Eighty Years of the Swiss Civil Code in Turkey," H Soz U Kult, October 20, 2006, online at http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de ... te/id=1356.
10. Human Rights Watch, p. 92.
11. Ibid., p. 80 ff.
12. Andreas Speck, "Conscientious Objection in Turkey: Struggling to Emerge," Peacework (December 2007).
13. Ahmet Insel, "Pretoryen Devlet ve Sahipleri," Birikim 218 (June 2007).
14. See Fethiye Çetin, My Grandmother: A Memoir (London: Verso, 2008).


Kerem Öktem is a fellow at the European Studies Centre of St. Antony's College at the University of Oxford.

Source: Z-Mag.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:34 am 
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Hotel fires philandering male staff
Wed Sept 17, 2008

ISTANBUL (Reuters) — A small hotel on Turkey's Mediterranean coast has fired all its male employees for repeatedly having affairs with foreign female guests, the manager said on Wednesday.

Pelin Yucel, manager of Image Hotel in Marmaris, said her 27-room hotel now only employs female staff. Most of the guests are British and Russian tourists, she said.

"We had been facing the same problem every year but after the last incident we decided to run the hotel by only female staff," she told Reuters by phone.

"The last straw was when I saw our bartender, who was a very decent man, walk out of the bathroom with a British tourist," Yucel was quoted in the media as saying.

Around 20 million tourists visited Turkey last year, many of them drawn by its sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

Source: Reuters.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:35 am 
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Quote:
Around 20 million tourists visited Turkey last year, many of them drawn by its sandy beaches and turquoise waters.


Attachment:
1072543977.jpg
1072543977.jpg [ 19.24 KiB | Viewed 3878 times ]


... and apparently all too willing Turkish dick...

:grin: :blowjob:

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:37 am 
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Women told: 'You have dishonoured your family, please kill yourself'

As Turkey cracks down on 'honour killings', women are now told to commit suicide

By Ramita Navai in Batman, eastern Turkey
27 March 2009

Image
This family of sisters said there had been an honour killing in their village, in one of the most patriarchal areas of Kurdish Turkey, and they live in constant fear

When Elif's father told her she had to kill herself in order to spare him from a prison sentence for her murder, she considered it long and hard. "I loved my father so much, I was ready to commit suicide for him even though I hadn't done anything wrong," the 18-year-old said. "But I just couldn't go through with it. I love life too much."

All Elif had done was simply decline the offer of an arranged marriage with an older man, telling her parents she wanted to continue her education. That act of disobedience was seen as bringing dishonour on her whole family — a crime punishable by death. "I managed to escape. When I was at school, a few girls I knew were killed by their families in the name of honour — one of them for simply receiving a text message from a boy," Elif said.

So-called "honour killings" in Turkey have reached record levels. According to government figures, there are more than 200 a year — half of all the murders committed in the country. Now, in a sinister twist, comes the emergence of "honour suicides". The growing phenomenon has been linked to reforms to Turkey's penal code in 2005. That introduced mandatory life sentences for honour killers, whereas in the past, killers could receive a reduced sentence claiming provocation. Soon after the law was passed, the numbers of female suicides started to rocket.

Elif has spent the past eight months on the run, living in hiding and in fear. Her uncles and other relatives are looking to hunt her down, for dishonour is seen as a stain that can only be cleansed by death. One of the women's shelters where Elif has stayed has been raided by armed family members.

Elif is from Batman, a grey, bleak town in the south-east of Turkey nicknamed "Suicide City". Three quarters of all suicides here are committed by women — nearly everywhere else in the world, men are three times more likely to kill themselves. "I think most of these suicide cases are forced. There are just too many of them, it's too suspicious. But they're almost impossible to investigate," said Mustafa Peker, Batman's chief prosecutor.

Wearing tight clothes or talking to a man who is not a relative is sometimes all it takes to blacken the family name. Mr Peker said women who are told to kill themselves are usually given one of three options — a noose, a gun or rat poison. They are then locked in a room until the job is done.

A woman's fate is usually decided during a "family council", when the extended family meets to discuss breaches of honour. In these meetings, it is agreed how the victim must be killed. If it is not to be a forced suicide, a killer is chosen. The youngest member of the family is often ordered to kill, in the belief they will be treated more leniently if caught.

Mehmet was 17 when he was handed a gun and told he would have to kill his stepmother and her lover. "I didn't want to do it. I was so young and so scared," he said. Mehmet ran away, but his family tracked him down and warned him his own life would be in danger if he refused to kill.

He shot dead his stepmother's lover, but his stepmother survived the attack. He was given a two-and-a-half- year prison sentence.

"There were many other 'honour killers' in prison and we were treated with respect, even by the prison guards," Mehmet said.

Most honour killings happen in the Kurdish region, a barren land ravaged by years of war and oppression. Rural communities here are ruled under a strict feudal, patriarchal system. But as Kurds have fled the fighting between separatist rebels and Turkey's government, the crime is spreading across the country into its cities and towns. According to a recent government report, there is now one honour killing a week in Istanbul.

"Families who move here are suddenly faced with modern, secular Turkey," said Vildan Yirmibesoglu, the head of Istanbul's department of human rights. "This clash of cultures is making the situation worse as the pressure on women to behave conservatively is become more acute. And of course there are more temptations."

Ms Yirmibesoglu believes that the entrenched belief in the notion of honour — at all levels of society — is impeding any progress. "Honour killings aren't always properly investigated because some police and prosecutors share the same views as the honour killers," she said. "For things to change, police, prosecutors and even judges need to be educated on gender equality."

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Transgender woman killed in Turkey
13 March 2009

ISTANBUL, Turkey, March 13 (UPI) -- A transgender woman in Istanbul, Turkey, was stabbed to death in her home, the victim's friends said.

Bianet reported Friday that Dilan Pirinc, 28, was allegedly killed by a man who later was turned in to police by his father. "Pirinc had recently filed a complaint about someone harassing her," fiends told Bianet.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Platform said in a statement that violence toward transgender people is on the rise. "Without an amendment of the constitution's article on equality to include sexual orientation and sexual identity, our lives will continue to be under threat," the organization said.

"For years now, we have insisted that transgender murders are political murders. A political power which resists to introduce hate crimes in the penal code, which refuses to see demands for constitutional equality in a country where murderers are let off with deductions of penalty in a system in which killing a transgender individual is made such easy deserves to be protested to the end."

Source: UPI.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:54 pm 
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Struggle for gay rights hits football in Turkey
by Burak Akinci
June 18, 2009

Image
Referee Halil Ibrahim Dincdag is pictured in Istanbul.
(AFP/Bulent Kilic)

ISTANBUL (AFP) — The fledgling homosexual movement in Turkey has ventured into the roughest of fields -- the macho world of football -- after a referee "came out" on television, dropping a bombshell in this football-mad country and leaving authorities confused.

Already stripped of his refereeing licence, Halil Ibrahim Dincdag, 33, vows to fight on to restore his career and, if need be, go as far as the European Court of Human Rights. "I have not committed a crime, I have not defamed my profession. I'm only a homosexual," he told AFP from Istanbul, where he was on "self-exile" after leaving his home in Trabzon, a conservative bastion on the Black Sea coast.

Dincdag's "coming out" last month was an act of unprecedented courage in a country where gays are widely ostracised and derisive words such as "fag" are among the favourite booing chants against referees at the stadiums.

"Since then, my life has turned into hell," he said, explaining that he lost not only his licence but was also "thanked" for his services by a radio station in Trabzon, where he used to do a programme. "I have inadvertently become a standard-bearer of the homosexual struggle" in Turkey, he said timidly, adding he still had the support of his family, which includes an imam brother.

The Turkish Football Federation dug around to find an argument to revoke Dincdag's licence: since he was exempt from military service due to his homosexuality, thus falling into the army's classification of "unfit", the federation said he would be physically unfit for a refereeing job as well. Scrambling to defend the move, federation vice president Lutfi Aribogan argued that Dincdag was a mediocre referee lacking "talent" and would have never made it anyway from the amateur to the professional league.

But as criticism of the decision mounted, the head of the referees' board said the door remained open for Dincdag to return to the fold even though he did not explain how.

Image
Halil Ibrahim Dincdag

"They are not sincere... In any case, they would not like to see me at the matches," Dincdag said. Despite his pessimism, Dincdag is bent on fighting to restore his licence and has already lodged an appeal at the courts. "If necessary, I will go even to the European Court of Human Rights," he said.

Despite his personal plight, Dincdag's "coming out" is a cause for celebration at the offices of KAOS-GL, the increasingly outspoken group for gay and lesbian rights in Turkey, where the referee's case is hailed as a step forward for the movement.

Turkey's bid to join the European Union, in which respect for human rights is a key condition, has already "contributed to a better understanding of homosexuals" in the country, said Ali Erol, a senior KAOS-GL member. He complained, however, that "Turkey, which has managed to break taboos on the Armenian genocide and the Kurdish problem, is yet to openly face the reality of homosexuality."

Unlike most Muslim countries, which punish homosexuality -- some with death, Turkey has never criminalised same-sex relationships and homosexual traditions can be traced back to the palaces of Ottoman sultans. But even though gays today figure among the country's top celebrities, prejudice against the ordinary homosexual remains strong in daily life.

Police are notoriously harsh against transsexual prostitutes. Several of them have been killed in "hate murders" in recent years. "While an openly homosexual mayor is running Paris, we are still at the point of discussing whether a homosexual can run a football match," grumbled Murat Soylemez, Dincdag's lawyer.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:49 am 
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Gay referee gets red card in Turkey

After coming out on TV, Halil Dincdag sues football federation over sacking

By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul
25 June 2009

Image
To football fans in Turkey who shout 'faggot' to insult referees, Halil Dincdag says, 'Well, here I am'

Turkey's football authorities were at the centre of a growing scandal this week after a referee they had sacked for homosexuality and outed to the press began fighting back in the courts and the press.

"They thought I was an ant that they could crush, they thought I would run away and hide in a corner," Halil Ibrahim Dincdag said. "But they have destroyed my life and I will fight them to the end."

Mr Dincdag, 33, from Trabzon, had been refereeing in the local league for 13 years when he was informed this May that his licence would not be renewed. Two days after he appealed his dismissal to the football federation, stories about him began appearing in the national press. As a result he was sacked by the local radio station he worked on and forced to flee to Istanbul to spare his family from an influx of journalists. It was at this point that he decided to come out as gay, while appearing on a popular television sports programme.

"The day the press started writing about me, I went into a coma, and the day I appeared on TV I died," he said in his lawyer's office. "Thirty-three years of my life had disappeared. Since then, I have been trying to resurrect myself."

Mr Dincdag's television appearance was an act of considerable courage. Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, unlike in some other Muslim countries. But homophobia is widespread, no-where more so than in the world of football. "The crowds shout 'faggot' at referees whose decisions they don't like," Mr Dincdag said. "Well, here I am."

His principled stance brought him a wave of support. Three-quarters of Trabzon's 80 referees rang him up to congratulate him. Thirty thousand people signed a petition launched by Turkey's most influential newspaper backing his campaign. One columnist even compared him to Harvey Milk, America's first openly gay politician. Turkey's deputies brought his case to parliament. Most importantly for Mr Dincdag, his pious family, from whom he had kept his homosexuality secret, stood behind him.

Caught off balance by the outcry, Turkey's football federation began back-pedalling fast. Its vice-president Lutfi Aribogan said Mr Dincdag's sacking had nothing to do with his sexuality and everything to do with his lack of "talent". The head of the referee's board then said the door remained open for Mr Dincdag to return to the fold, insisting that it was Mr Dincdag's lawyer, not the federation, that had leaked his name to the press.

"Do they have no fear of God," Mr Dincdag asked, pointing to a sheaf of match reports dating back a decade that show him to have ranked among the best local referees. "I've already gone to the courts over this, and I'll go all the way to Europe if necessary."

Empowered by Turkey's European Union accession bid, the Turkish gay and lesbian rights lobby has become increasingly outspoken over the past decade. Activists say Mr Dincdag's fight for his rights has the potential to become a landmark case. "For years, the European Union has been talking about the importance of legislation on sexual discrimination in the workplace," said Ali Erol, a spokesman for KAOS-GL, an Ankara-based gay and lesbian rights group. "So far Turkey has not taken one step forward."

Old-fashioned views of homosexuality remain widespread. Speaking on television shortly after Mr Dincdag came out, Turkey's most popular football commentator Erman Toroglu, himself a former referee, said he didn't think the 33-year old should be given his job back. "I reckon [homosexual referees] would have a tendency to give more penalties to good-looking, tough footballers," he said.

Mr Dincdag's eyes glaze over with anger at the recollection. "Does Toroglu assault every pretty girl he passes in the street?"

Source: The Independent UK.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:27 pm 
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Turkish father goes on trial over son's gay 'honour killing'
8 September 2009

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Ahmet Yildiz, who was murdered in June 2008

Istanbul (dpa) — A Turkish father accused of murdering his homosexual son in a so-called "honour killing" went on trial in the Uskudar municipality of Istanbul Tuesday.

Yahya Yildiz, 49 — who is on the run and is being tried in absentia — is accused of shooting his 26-year-old son Ahmet in June 2008 after the latter told him about his relationship with a man from Cologne in Germany.

Human rights organisations were monitoring the start of the case after complaints were made that Turkish courts did not make enough effort to prosecute in cases where homosexuals were murdered. Ibrahim Can, the victim's German-Turkish boyfriend, demanded that those who had helped the murderer also be prosecuted. But, he said, "my expectations from the trial are minimal".

The prosecution claims the family had not accepted the son's homosexuality. Ahmet, who was about to complete his training as a physics teacher, had been threatened as a result. The father had hired a car for the murder, which was seen at the scene of the crime. His mobile phone records showed that he was in the area where the murder took place, the prosecution said.

A nearby resident was also shot in the attack. She is a joint plaintiff in the case.

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Ahmet Yildiz (left) with his German-Turkish boyfriend Ibrahim Can

Source: Earth Times / dpa.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:38 am 
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Homosexuals in Turkey: Istanbul week for gay rights
24 June 2009



ANKARA — Eleven have been killed in 'hate crimes' against homosexuals in the last six months in Turkey, and so the seventeenth LGBTT (Lesbians, Gay, Bi-Sexuals, Transsexuals and Transgender) Pride Week has kicked off in Istanbul in a climate of sadness and rage.

The event was organised by the LambdaIstanbul association, which in January risked being shut down due to accusations of offense to "public morality". There have been many assemblies, round table discussions and cultural events with a large number of participants - including the Turkish writer Elif Shakaf - to prepare for Gay Pride, the event which on Sunday will start at Taksim Square and end on the banks of the Bosporus via Beyoglu, long known as the centre of Istanbul night life - which many transsexuals have recently been forced to leave after raids carried out by the forces of order.

Defending ones rights in a demonstration has become necessary, Ismail Alacaoglu, one of the leaders of the LGBT Kaos GL association, told ANSA: "violence targeting us is on the rise because our visibility has increased. We were expecting this and are afraid that it will continue, but the time has come for us to take to the streets, since we no longer want to hide."

Source: ANSAmed.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:23 am 
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Turkish sex workers seek to establish a trade union
26 June 2009

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA — Activists and sex workers in Turkey are working on a project to establish Turkey's first sex workers union, daily Hurriyet reports.

Several activists plan to establish a trade union to protect the health, security and education rights of sex workers in Turkey, where the majority of them work without licenses or social security.

"People should have the right to voluntarily choose to be a sex worker and to have sovereignty over his or her body", Buse Kilickaya, an activist from Ankara-based Pembe Hayat Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender association (LGBT), said. "We are against forced sex labor but this is the oldest profession on earth and this will continue to be done by some people; this is why those peoplés rights need to be protected", the activist declared.

Prostitution is mentioned in the Turkish Penal Code and sex workers have to be registered according to the law. "Only 126 sex workers are registered in Istanbul but the real number is much higher", Muhtar Cokar, a doctor who helps sex workers access free and easy medical support, said. "The number of registered sex workers in Turkey is 3,500 according to police data while Ankara Trade Chamber said there are around 100,000 unregistered", the doctor revealed. "There is a social consensus that if you are a sex worker then you deserve to be exposed to violence, sexual harassment and discrimination", Kilickaya said, adding that "this approach has to change".

Source: ANSAmed.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Turkish research on homosexuality
9 July 2009

ANKARA — Almost 40% of homosexuals consider their lifestyle choice to be "perverse" and 90% of people do not want their offspring to be homosexual, daily Hurriyet reports quoting the research by the Sexual Health Institution Society (CISED).

Cem Kece, head of CISED, said the research was conducted by holding more than 5,000 interviews in the cities of Diyarbakir, Izmir, Adana, Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa and Mersin. Among those interviewed 48% were heterosexual women, 40% heterosexual men and the remaining 12% were gays, bisexuals, transvestites or transsexuals, collectively referred to as homosexuals for the research.

According to the results 75% of heterosexuals and 40% of homosexuals interviewed said homosexuality is a "form of perversion"; 40% of heterosexuals and 60% of homosexuals said they believe homosexuality is a "conscious choice".

The research revealed that 55% of heterosexuals and 35% of homosexuals believe homosexuality can be cured. Among heterosexuals, 75% said they would end their friendship if a friend is gay.

All heterosexuals interviewed and 90% of homosexuals did not want their children to be gay and 90% of homosexuals said they were subjected to discrimination.

Source: ANSAmed.

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 Post subject: Re: Turkey and sex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:05 pm 
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:? :yeahright: :lies:

Not sure where to begin... LOL.

Turkish research shows that the mainstream Turk has all the old hangups, misconceptions and prejudices about GLBT people that thankfully have been dispelled by a number of more "enlightened" countries and a lot of real scientific research.

Quote:
ANKARA, Almost 40% of homosexuals consider their lifestyle choice to be "perverse" and 90% of people do not want their offspring to be homosexual, daily Hurriyet reports quoting the research by the Sexual Health Institution Society (CISED).


Homosexuality is NOT a "lifestyle choice".

Quote:
Among those interviewed 48% were heterosexual women, 40% heterosexual men and the remaining 12% were gays, bisexuals, transvestites or transsexuals, collectively referred to as homosexuals for the research.


Collectively SO WRONG to group this as homosexuals. If the "research" already starts off with this premise then anything that follows will be incorrect. Were there any lesbians involved in this research? Or do these not exist in Turkey? :???:

Transsexuals, as well as transvestites, are usually or not necessarily homosexuals. (see our topic on Transsexuality/Intersex.)

Quote:
According to the results 75% of heterosexuals and 40% of homosexuals interviewed said homosexuality is a "form of perversion"; 40% of heterosexuals and 60% of homosexuals said they believe homosexuality is a "conscious choice".


Ah yes. Stands to reason that children as young as three and four year old who behave as members of the opposite sex that they themselves seem to be have made a "conscious choice" about this. "Daddy," says the little boy, "I'm playing with dolls and wear dresses because I want to be a homosexual when I grow up, OK?" (Crude example, I know.)

Quote:
The research revealed that 55% of heterosexuals and 35% of homosexuals believe homosexuality can be cured. Among heterosexuals, 75% said they would end their friendship if a friend is gay.


My favourite! Roll out the electric shock equipment! Or perhaps a couple of years in a religious school with daily beatings and lots of prayer and brainwashing will do it. Better yet, combine both with a 6x daily dose of serious mind-bending pharmaceuticals. Isn't it fun to experiment with the deviants?!

Who would want to be friends with such freaks, better stone them now!

Quote:
All heterosexuals interviewed and 90% of homosexuals did not want their children to be gay...


Well no. If this is what my general opinion of GLBT people is I wouldn't want my child to be one of them either!

Quote:
... and 90% of homosexuals said they were subjected to discrimination.


Now this I believe!

Not too surprising, given all the above attitudes.

IDIOTS.
:x

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