Four mayoral candidates in Turkey who signed an LGBT-friendly municipality protocol were elected on Sunday in local districts of both Istanbul and Mersin.
HurriyetDailyNews reports the Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPOD) protocol was signed by 40 candidates for local areas who ran for the elections.
According to the protocol, the signatories have vowed to protect and improve gay rights, agreeing to partner with LGBT associations and promoting anti-discrimination measures.
One of the successful candidates, of the Peace and Democracy Party BDP, was elected in the southern Mersin province of Yüksel Mutlu.
The other three candidates, all belonging to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) were elected in the districts of Aykurt Nuhoğlu in Kadıköy, Murat Hazinedar in Beşiktaş and Hayri İnönü in Şişli.
Turkey has a poor record on gay rights: Though homosexuality has been legal in the country since 1858, sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in any civil rights law, and there is currently no legal recognition for same-sex couples.
Homophobic discrimination and violence are common, and the Turkish government recently came under pressure to do more to protect trans people in the country from murder and violence.
In 2011, Amnesty International accused the Turkish government or ignoring harassment and discrimination against gay people, with their lead researcher claiming that “homophobic statements by government officials have encouraged discrimination against individuals.”