Turkey: Gay couple face death threats after staging ‘symbolic’ wedding
A gay couple in Istanbul have lost their jobs, been evicted from their home, and are facing death threats from family members after holding a ‘symbolic’ open wedding last month.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, Ekin Keser, who is of Arab origin, and Emrullah Tüzün, who is of Kurdish origin, said they were facing severe threats from their families and those around them.
Mr Tüzün said: “My family and siblings threaten me with death. When our wedding was featured in the news, our family and friends began rejecting us.”
He added that their landlord evicted them after the wedding took place.
“I used to work as a waiter in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. When the threats increased, my boss learned about the situation and I was laid off. Ekin is not working, as he is an undergraduate student. I was the only breadwinner, but I lost my job.”
The couple held an open wedding on a ferry in late September, although the marriage itself had no legal standing.
Mr Keser said: “We have received the biggest reaction from our families. My family knew that I was homosexual, but they reacted against my marriage.”
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 last year came under pressure to do more to protect trans people in the country from murder and violence.