Gay men will be discharged from the Turkish army as a punishment for their “lifestyle choices,” it has been reported.
Openly gay men are already able to exempt themselves from compulsory military service, so long as they prove their sexuality.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, a new military code will label homosexuality as an “unnatural imminence” in the military body’s draft. It will join other ‘behaviours’ worthy of discharge including murder, fraud, bribery, and serving a prison sentence of more than a year.
Armagan Kuloglu, a retired Turkish army general, told the BBC that openly gay men in the army would cause “disciplinary problems” and create a disruptive and expensive need for “separate facilities, separate dormitories, showers, training areas”.
He added: “When someone comes out and says he is gay, then the army needs to make sure that he is truly gay, and not simply lying to evade his mandatory duty to serve in the military.”
To this end, gay men hoping for an exemption certificate on the grounds of homosexuality (a “pink certificate”) claim they have been forced to submit such things to their commanders as explicit photographs of themselves engaging in sex with another man.
One ex-conscript handed over such pictures and received his exemption, but said the experience was humiliating and potentially left him open to blackmail: ” . . . somebody holds those photographs. They can show them at my village, to my parents, my relatives.”
The exemption certificate reads: “psychosexual disorder”, and next to that, in brackets, “homosexuality”.
Turkey’s military hospitals still define homosexuality as an illness, as defined in a 1968 version of a document by the American Psychiatric Association.