Turkish gay magazine owner face prison
A criminal case has been filed in Ankara against the chief editor and owner of Turkey’s only gay magazine, Kaos GL.
Umut Guner, owner of the magazine and vice president of the Kaos GL Association, is being accused of publishing pornographic issues based on Turkish Penal Code, Article 226.
If convicted, he will face up to three years of jail sentence.
Turkish Penal Code, Article 226, Part 2 says: “A person who broadcasts or publishes obscene images, printed or audio material or who acts as an intermediary for this purpose shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to three years.”
It comes after the July issue of the magazine was confiscated by Turkish authorities.
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.”
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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.
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.
The magazine is now planning to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.