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Turkish President slams gay representation as ‘at odds with our values’

November 10, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum on September 20, 2017 in New York City. Heads of state and international business leaders met to discuss global issues and challenges to economic growth. The inaugural year of the forum was held concurrently with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, has lashed out at a scheme to give gay people more representation in the country.

The politician, who took up office in 2014, was thought to be referring to a scheme by a County Council in the Nilufer district of the western city of Bursa.

As well as having a quota for LGBT candidates in elections, the council also has similar requirements for women and disabled people.

In a televised speech Erdogan said the move was against the nation’s values, in what was thought to be a political attack.

He added the committee was in a city run by opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP), which has frequently called him a “dictator”.

“Their ties with the values of our nation have become so severed,” he continued to officials.

“In a district run by the CHP of a major city, a one-in-five gay quota is put forward for the local committee elections.”

“When there is no moderation left in a party, no-one knows where it can lead them. Let them continue like this.”

It is one of the first times the President has explicitly mentioned homosexuality in a speech, though he has a long history of promoting ‘traditional values’.

Homosexuality is technically legal in Turkey, but many people report discrimination and arrests are not uncommon.

An LGBT activist is kicked by a plain-clothed police officer at banned Istanbul Pride 2017
An LGBT activist is kicked by a plain-clothed police officer at banned Istanbul Pride 2017 (Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

As recently as 2015, gay men in the Army were forced to disclose sexual pictures and undergo anal examinations.

Istanbul Pride has also been disrupted for the last three years, with rubber bullets and dogs used to break up those who refused to obey a ban on the event.

It was believed a number of lawyers who were working with the organisers were also detained.

The UN also issued a statement in 2015 saying it was “deeply concerned” about anti-LGBT violence in the country.

A spate of recent attacks, as well as the disruptions to the Pride parade, led officials to call for more to be done at a Governmental level.

Speaking at the time, Rupert Colville from The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights added: “We call on the Turkish authorities to take active measures to combat homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, to uphold the rights of LGBT people to peacefully assemble and express themselves and to ensure that LGBT victims of crimes are treated with respect and dignity and have access to protection mechanisms and effective remedy,”

 

More: Europe, Turkey

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