Current Affairs

Turkey bans gay magazine

PinkNews Staff Writer July 28, 2006
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Turkey’s only gay magazine has been banned, according to reports.

The Kaos GL Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association claim that the latest issue has been confiscated by Ankara 12th Justice Court because it has been deemed “pornographic.”

The issue contained a feature in which pornography is questioned and contributed by the figures who are experts in their fields.

Judge Tekman Savas Nemli decided on the confiscation and seizure of Kaos GL after Republican Prosecutor Metin Sezgin claimed the content breached “general morality.”

The decision of the Ankara Chief Republican Prosecutor’s Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau uses the expression that some texts and pictures are against “protection of general morality”. But this expression does not state which pictures and texts should be banned on which grounds. Turkey’s gay and lesbian magazine has been published regularly since September 1994.

A statement from the publication said: “It is the first time that our magazine has been banned on the same day it was delivered from the printing house, even before it was distributed to bookstores.”

Kaos GL, which started to be published in 1994, was made legal at the end of 1999 and the Republican Chief Prosecutor did not find it “pornographic or obscene.” Following its registration by officials, two of its issues were distributed in closed envelopes because of the Prime Ministry’s Council for Protection of Juveniles from Obscene Publications. Other than this, Kaos GL has not faced any investigation.

The statement added: “This decision, which coincides with the July 24 Press Festival, should be a surprise against freedom of expression. The decision is sexist and homophobic. What is attempted to be buried with a siege of ‘general morality’ is the freedom of expression of Turkish national gay and lesbians.

“From the beginning, we have developed arguments and struggled against putting homosexuality in the same category as sexuality and putting sexuality in the same category as pornography. Our right to have our word – which should exist within the framework of freedom of expression – is at the same time gay and lesbians’ struggle for existence. It is obvious that not homosexuals but ‘general morality’ will change.

“Today, the presentation of views on women’s bodies with a sexist mentality poses no problem, but scientific, cultural and artistic criticism of pornography via gay-lesbian sexuality is seen and banned as an attitude against ‘general morality.’

In the magazine, contributions from writers Ahmet Tulgar, Fatih ZgŸven, GŸner Kuban, Hasan BŸlent Kahraman, Mehmet Bilal Dede, and Meltem Arõkan, painter Taner Ceylan, and photography artist Bikem Ekberzade, discuss the relation of pornography to homosexuality.

In the feature, with the headline “Visuality of Sexuality, Sexuality of Visuality: Pornography,” the doors of the world of pornography that invades the globe are opened and we question how all the images that confuse our minds turn into pornographic elements.

A recent poll conducted by the Open Society Institute and Istanbul’s Bogazici University found that three quarters of Turks disapprove of gays and lesbians

As part of its application for membership of the European Union, Turkey is expected to allow greater rights including freedom of speech and press and greater rights for the gay community.

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