Thin edge of the wedge in the EU, once EU countries whom oppose LGBT rights gain strength,they will out vote countries whom have LGBT human rights. The Conservative Party have joined with some Eastern bloc countries whom deny LGBT human rights, although as the Conservative Party state it is better to be in than out.
An absolute outrage – it must be made crystal clear to Turkey that such blatant expressions of homophobia will automatically rule out membership of the EU. Indeed, this goes beyond homophobia and is an attack on basic freedom of expression. Homophobic behaviour among existing EU members such as Lithuania also has to be tackled. The EU must live up to its commitment to social as well as economic progress.
A more general point is that Turkish secularism is being eroded by the Islamist govt currently in power there. Having said that, Turkey is an extremely homophobic society across the board.
It’s sad that what was the EU ideal of human rights is being flouted by the ex-comintern countries without sanction, and that an applicant to the EU is resiling into a theocratic ethos.
The idea was that once the swastika fell Europe would set in stone absolute rights, and would defend them. Now I’m not so sure of that commitment
I’m seriously disgusted by these comments. These stereotypical imperialist views are not gonna help the oppressed LGBT in neither Turkey or Eastern Europe. They will only get marginalized more. Sad thing that you lot aren’t able to realize that.
Oh, and which of the above comments do you specifically disagree with?
Prospective EU member states MUST be held accountable for their homophobic human rights record..
Surely the best way to help the oppressed LGBT communities in these countries is to make their countries aware that if they want to be ´in the club´ so badly, then they need to play by the club rules… and start respecting their citizens human rights?
@steve; say what?
1) it is completely hypocritical to ask of prospective EU member states to be accountable to HR legislation whilst actual member states don’t give a rats ass neither and still have been admitted previously.
2) adding fuel to the fire (cos that’s what it really is) by stereotyping states and its citizens is truly not helping any LGBT or their orgs in the countries itself. It only marginalizes them as they are then seen more like a problem than part of society.
3) Every liberation fight against discrimination an oppression is different. Depending on states and cultures involved. Just look around you and notice.
There’s a serious problem in the East, from Greece eastwards, and obviously including Turkey.
Despite Greece being Greek Orthodox and Turkey being Secularist both countries share exactly the same awfully homophobic climate that is typical of most Middle Easten (Islamic) countries.
LGBTs in all of these countries (Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Saudi, and the all of the Gulf States) DESPERATELY need support.
They are living in horrifically homophobic climates. Their suffering is awful.
It is not “imperialist” to call out homophobia and demand that the rights of LGBT people are respected everywhere. Nor is it “imperialist” to use whatever devices we have at our disposal to defend such basic rights.
So whether that takes the form of EU membership in the case of Turkey, or the overseas aid development budget when it comes to the likes of Uganda, Malawi etc., I for one make no apologies for that.
Cultural sensitivities are all too often used to justify bigotry and prejudice.
Turkey might share some borders with the EU but culturally its 10,000 miles away. With its hard-line islamist prime minister slowly de-constructing the secular sate its just getting further away. Within the next twenty years Turkey will be a islamic theocracy.
America want Turkey in the EU to push Europe to the right, Europe does not want Turkey and has no real interest in ever letting it in.
As a trans person I would never want the country with the third highest rate of transgender murders in the world in the EU.
…Just one example – the international outcry that followed the “death to gays” bill in Uganda and threats to suspend aid to the country seem to have frustrated the passage of this repugnant piece of legislation if not killed if off completely.
Some would argue that this is an internal affair and outside voices have no right to intervene. I strongly disagree with this way of thinking. We need to insist that every country in the world adheres to basic standards of human decency. A strong commitment to promoting human rights abroad should form a central part of any ethical foreign policy.
jeez. Y’all are a terrible lot.
@pinkpolitico: what you’re talking about is homonationalism of the worst kind. You surely only sprout that kind of nonsense because it makes you feel like you care and that you’re ‘defending’ ‘one of your own’?
Well, I’m sorry to prick through your bubble but that kind of thinking, nor those proposed actions will help any oppressed LGBT in those countries. Because looking down upon and stereotyping simply isn’t helping. It’s rather more empowering to the oppressors.
And I should know since I actually am a queer person who lived the largest part of her life in those oppressing countries.
Absolutely right Helen. Homophobic attitudes in Turkey are bad enough but the transphobia in the country is absolutely rampant.
I do agree with Danielle in one respect however. The EU was not nearly strong enough in insisting that the old eastern bloc states that joined in 2004 embraced the social values of the club they were joining. LGBT people in in the likes of Poland and Lithuania had every right to expect better protection when their countries joined the EU.
Ohhhh, Danielle’s disgusted by other people’s opinions. Well I’m sorry to prick your bubble Ms Nobody. But NOBODY CARES.
Let me tell you what would help LGBT people in Turkey. If people like you, who had spent their whole lives living in these “oppressing countries” stood up to the bigotry (like the comments you are disgusted by do) instead of being disgusted by “queers” opinions who are trying to stop homophobia in the EU.
Perhaps you should learn from “this lot” who have been fighting for equality and succeeded in the UK, instead of thinking you have all the answers, when you clearly do not.
No Danielle, I sprout what you term “nonsense” because I oppose the abuse of human rights regardless of where they occur. My commitment to LGBT rights isn’t defined by borders. As the head of the UN said recently in reference to the motion condemning state sponsored executions, culture should never be used to justify the denial of human rights on the grounds of sexuality or anything else.
You, on the other hand, seem to believe that cultural sensitivities should prevent us speaking out against such abuses. That’s the kind of damaging, wooly thinking that has offered comfort to some of the worst despots in the world.
I’m sorry but I’m not about to let “western guilt” get in the way of speaking out against homophobic bigotry.
Oh, and from one leftie to another, the term “imperialist” belongs in the dustbin of history along with all the other outdated cold war terms.
My previous comment got lost somewhere apparently.
But in short;
@Stan; you’re an idiot
@Pinkpolitico: you’re a leftie? Surely we do not agree then what leftish politics are.
And talking about equality in the UK… please do remind yourselves of the date when section 28 was abolished.
And talking about equality in the UK… please do remind yourselves of the date when section 28 was abolished. – Danielle Nobody
But it was abolished, in some parts of Turkey holding hands in public or going out dressed might get you fined by the police or lynched by a hate mob. Some LGBT people have even been assassinated by the police.
In comparison section 28 is just a mild annoyance compared to the conditions the LGBT face in Turkey!
“On 15 December 2010, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU in 2009…”
“….prohibiting and eliminating all forms of discrimination, based on Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in all areas of life”. Article 21 of the Charter includes the prohibition of any discrimination based on any ground, and explicitly mentions sexual orientation…”
“The resolution finally includes important elements as regards some non-EU countries, as the Parliament supports the extension of the monitoring role of the FRA to the so-called accession countries, including Turkey and the Balkans”
Turkey should NOT be allowed into the EU until it improves on its LGBT record and I hope the FRA and Euro MEPs are taking note of all this.. Nothing will improve in Turkey without threats and having Turkey in the EU will only bring down the rest of the EU with them , we really don’t need more homophic countries in the EU to nobble LGBT progress in the rest of the EU….KEEP THEM OUT until they are forced to change their ways!!! I agree we should support gay Turkish poeple in their own country but no way should they be allowed into the EU!!!!!!
Danielle, you are a terrible person. What you are doing is advocating the ongoing oppression of minorities in other countries because “it’s their cultchah dahling.” After all, no one is jailing or executing YOU, right? It’s one thing to be a patronizing snot, and quite another to be a patronizing snot without a shred of human empathy.
After enough vodka to put things in perspective…
You’re right. I’m the patronising git. I truly am terrible.
Surely that’s because of my track record as a queer activist where I’ve actually been arrested multiple times and gotten an entry ban for Turkey.
Surely I haven’t got a shred of empathy left because I co-wrote the article from witch pink news took most of its info from. Surely I don’t understand any conditions LGBT face since I actually co-wrote the article thinking to show some solidarity with the activists in Bursa since I know how much the activists I counselled for another org f appreciated that when they were threatened.
Yeah. Too bad this is not about me or I could act like a bigger drama queen. But this is about lgbt activists in Turkey and their struggle whom you all pretend to know so much about. Well… you know nothing
This is an interesting link
“Turkish LGBT activists: More pressure from the EU, equality now
November 4th, 2010″
According to this the opinion of gay activists in Turkey are:
The current government has failed to implement expected anti-discrimination legislation, and does not show interest in meeting with LGBT organisations.
In the constitutional reform process a platform to examine LGBT issues was formed and actively took part in the consultations, but without conclusive results.
Activists feel government shows a “Western face” to the EU, but do not act coherently on the domestic scene. Recently, the Minister for Family Affairs declared that homosexuality was a curable illness; one of her colleagues in government also stated that LGBT people simply cannot be granted equal rights.
A representative of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the Conference said that his party was currently discussing LGBT rights, but hadn’t yet defined its position.
Another question was whether the upcoming Equality Institute would cover discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity—a particularly acute problem as transgender citizens are randomly arrested, fined, and often mistreated as a result of cross-dressing.
The activists were happy to report that good partnerships existed, especially between LGBT and women’s rights organisations.
Finally, the very high number of transphobic murders remains a serious problem that Turkey will have to deal with prior to its accession. Occurrences of lesbian women committing suicide as a potential disguise for honour killings was also evoked
As far as I can see gay activists in Turkey WANT the EU involved in putting pressure on their country..
And here is a link/commentary on the acession reports of these countries …
“…Extensive references to the human rights violations of LGBT people, particularly trans people, were made in Turkey report…”
…”Lilit Poghosyan, ILGA-Europe’s Senior Programmes & Policy Officer, who leads ILGA-Europe’s work on the Western Balkans and Turkey, said:
“We welcome the way in which the human rights of LGBT people are raised in this year’s progress reports and encourage the Commission to continue asserting the principles of non-discrimination and equality in accession negotiations with the countries.
The inclusion of LGBT rights in the progress reports is to a very large part a result of documentation of human rights violations and active advocacy work by ILGA-Europe, its member and partner organisations.
We will continue our work to ensure that the Commission covers human rights issues of LGBT people in the future progress reports and incorporates them in partnership agreements with the countries.’’
People, Danielle and I (Editor of GayMiddleEast.Com) gave this information to PinkNews.
I agree that Turkey has a serious problem with human rights, and in particular with LGBT rights. Having said that there have been a good deal of improvements in the last 10 years. There are set backs notably with Turkey putting on hold certain reforms, this has mostly to do the realisation that no matter how much and how quickly reforms are implemented, Turkey will never be accepted in EU.
The EU, to be sure, has accepted many states as members (mostly in Eastern Europe) that have appalling Human Rights records and state legislation that is passed against LGBT people before and after them joining the EU. Most notably, Latvia and Lithuania (but not only!). Integrating countries into the EU will, through freedom of movement and eventual legal harmonization through the EU Court, should in theory and in time help the matter. In this since, Turkish people rightly feel that instead of helping the country transform by including it progressively in Europe, HR issues are used as a pretext to reject it.
So why is Turkey rejected? Germany and France do not want to let Turkey in because they will loose their grip on the European market. Turkey has a huge and very healthy manufacturing base (fastest growing Economy in the Western Hampshire). Also France and Germany fear over 80m new citizens, and lets be frank, mainly muslims, joining in. They want political control and keep Europe christianocentric.
Cyprus and Greece made sure that no matter how much Turkey tries it WILL NEVER be let in. This is counter productive as even the ostensible reason to block it (Cyprus problem) is ill served by such a move – as it is more likely that it wont be solved.
So Turkey gave up, its just a symptom of that process, still its very bad of it to do these things but Europe should do some good soul searching over its hypocrisy. Turkey to be sure, economically needs less Europe than the other way around. They are exporting and trading with the former Soviet republic which have large Turkish (or related ethnicities) and Muslim populations, and with the Arab world.
The AKP although having reformed many things VERY quickly is a moderate Islamic party and the snob from the west only served to push it towards the east, which is unforgivable. True, what has happened in Turkey this week and other incidents that were mentioned are all HR violations that should be condemened and reported (as we have) to the perss and Human Rights groups (which we have done, to IGLHRC, COC, and Amnesty). However, HR should not be used as a thinly vailed legitimisation to reject Turkey on economic and cultural grounds (which is hypocritical and repulsive). By doing so Europe has lots a chance to engage and help reform through Turkey with the East.
what should be done?
Or do we just watch as the Turkish LGBTs go the same way as the Iraqi ones (that IS our responsibility!)?
after seeing what a vast influx of Muslims have done ot Amsterdam, I AM concerned about an influx of more. This isn’t christo-centric, it’s self-preservation! The more radical of these people want to KILL me because I am gay. That’s irrefutable, that’s fact. It’s a situation that isn’t redily open to change because their “faith” says that they are right.
I know that these people are the small minority, but equally they are the most vocal, and potentially the most dangerous to the gay community.
And as I asked Dani, what else should we do (that doesn’t put our LGBT community at risk) bearing in mind that interpretations of Islam teach that we ought ot be killed as a religious duty, something the Christians of Latvia et al don’t say.
Look why on earth should we allow Turkey into the EU on its present merits – forget past countries and mistakes let’s not make the same mistake again..once Turkey is part of the EU and its homphpobic agenda takes hold then there will be yet another country which will have to be accommodated when laws and directives are made ,,,,LGBT rights should be prime human rights befroe entry into the EU, if it can’t do that then I personally don’t want to see it as part of the EU and have the LGBT agenda further set back in the EU…
“Key findings of the 2010 progress report on Turkey ”
“…On Turkey, the Commission concluded that the country has made progress in meeting EU membership criteria, in particular through the reform of its constitution.However, further results are needed as regards fundamental rights, in particular to assure freedom of expression in practice. ”
You need to do more at home first before you can join the EU and personally I’m relieved by that….! I’m sick of homophobic countries voting down any key LGBT initiaitives in the EP..
@John & @Mihangel
Obviously you have some anger to vent which I understand but it appears you are missing the points raised.
Let me be blunt: EU is making a travesty of HR by using it as rationalisation for beating Turkey for economic/political reasons that weakens the issue of HR. The result is that Turkey pays less and less attention to this critique and is less motivated to implement reforms.This is counterproductive for LGBT and other groups suffering HR violations in Turkey.
While Turkey SHOULD be criticised and HR violations should be dealt with and reported (as we have done – GME is a LGBT advocacy and grassroots Organisation reporting from across the Middle East and North Africa).
Lets examine the UK; Labour trumped itself as the one who brought more equality for LGBT citizens, the reality is different – mostly – the EU repealed through the Courts many archaic legislation that
forced reform here. Remember there were a number of cases in the 90s that the European Court forced quietly on the UK that transfomred legislation here for the better. However, if there was a less sensitive approach where the UK would have been publicly bashed for its then problematic approach to LGBT rights – the result would have been unproductive for gays and lesbians in the UK (it would play into Euroscepticism and the usual suspects…). It was done through careful work of organisations on the ground with Europe wide organisations like ILGA, COC and the EU commission that helped bring about change in the UK.
It could have done so by engaging with Turkey; I am agnostic as to the “club” of the EU which seems to be trumped here with some smack of narcissism – our concerns in GME is for the welfare of the LGBT citizens of Turkey that suffer from social antagonism and traditional values. In other words we think its best for engagement as the activists (Danielle is one of them) require on the ground, and it would be better to have it through a framework of the EU than push Turkey into the clutches of the Arab League and Iran (which is what is happening).
This is unfortunate and will not only harm LGBT citizens but derail the progress made in Turkey in the last 10 years. Things can be and should be improved, this requires a broad approach with pressure from governments while working in tandem with activists. Making a political football or worse, hysterical reaction will not help HR issues in Turkey – which are very serious.
All the best,
Executive editor of GayMiddleEast.com
Turkey is not and never will be in Europe, time for Turks to realise that fact and move on.
We can be friends and have trade links, but culturally you are not European and never will be and could never assimilate into Europe politicly. I’m sorry if that hurts but its the facts of life.
The fact Turkey and the US keep pushing for Turkish membership, just shows who needs who.
I wish Turkey and the Turkish well in all they endeavour to do, but that will be outside the mechanism of the European union.
This is an authoritarian and repressive country, and most of it isn’t in Europe. No to EU admission, whatever the pressure from Washington.
And these heathens want to be part of the EU? It’s unfortunate LGBT people have to suffer like this, but rather that than let these people wash over Europe uncontrolled.
Just remember, these are the people that brought you “Midnight Express”, and nothing has changed since then.
I sympathesie with Turkish gays and of course realise that the EU has had a huge impact on improving LGBT rights in the UK BUT!!!! the UK and Turkey have different starting points – Turkey has to improve a hell of a lot before getting to the UK’s starting point and having Turkish MEPs in the EP will only set back LGBT rights in the EU for all of us…..the work needs to be done from the inside first, I’m sorry but NO to Turkey in the EU..
> Prospective EU member states MUST be held accountable for
> their homophobic human rights record..
It has become totally clear through embassy reports on Wikileaks that the US has used EU membership as a carrot in its diplomatic and military “big game”, totally regardless of the likely human rights or democracy dis-benefits for us EU citizens. They were able to do that through the compliance of Blair, and now they can do it through the offices of countries they have already levered in long before they reached the required human rights standards.
Once in they can argue that their oppression of us is part of their culture, which the EU must respect.
Those who betrayed the EU in that manner, to assist a foreign power, should face treason charges.
US disregard for human rights in its diplomatic strategy is the most shocking of the revelations, and needs ever more exposure, until US voters pay attention.
It makes it all the more shocking that the gay guy presently in protracted solitary for making those documents available (beyond the 3 million authorised to read them) is being ignored by the gay media (including PinkNews).
> Lets examine the UK; Labour trumped itself as the one who
> brought more equality for LGBT citizens, the reality is
> different – mostly – the EU repealed through the Courts many
> archaic legislation that forced reform here. Remember there were
> a number of cases in the 90s that the European Court forced
> quietly on the UK that transfomred legislation here for the
> better. However, if there was a less sensitive approach where
> the UK would have been publicly bashed for its then problematic
> approach to LGBT rights – the result would have been
> unproductive for gays and lesbians in the UK (it would play into
> Euroscepticism and the usual suspects…). It was done through
> careful work of organisations on the ground with Europe wide
> organisations like ILGA, COC and the EU commission that helped
> bring about change in the UK.
Since you don’t seem to have heard of the European Court of Human Rights (which is not EU), sadly I must discount much you do claim to know. I really seriously doubt ILGA or COC had much influence on UK legislation.
You’ve got to ask yourself, why would turkey want to be part of the EU? A new Ottoman Empire perhaps?
It really scares me that Turkey with a population of over 74 million (bigger that France and the UK and not much smaller than Germany) will have a huge MEP entitlement in the EP – in contrast Luthiania has a population of just over 3 million with a small entitlement of MEPs – the balance of power if Turkey becomes part of the EU would be immense – just think of it – 60 or so Turkish MEPs voting against LGBT progress ,,, I understand gay people would like the additional pressure from the EU if they were part of it but the risk of Turkey with its current record is too much to risk…it could set back the EU completely when it comes to passing any LGBT advances….