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Turkey rejects protection for gay rights

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party vetoed a proposal that aims to bring in constitutional protection for LGBT rights
Deputy Mustafa Şentop from the ruling Turkish AKP party says LGBT rights have no place in the country's constitution or international agreements

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has vetoed a proposal jointly introduced by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that would bring in constitutional protection for gay rights.

The (AKP) claimed that LGBT rights should have no place in the Turkish constitution, reported the Turkish paper Hürriyet Daily News.

‘It is the duty of a state to eliminate practices and legal rules which stem from cultural or societal prejudices which are based on the supremacy of a gender’ said the proposal, which was introduced on 11 Sept.

The proposal was submitted during discussion on the principle of equality as part of the drafting of the ‘Fundamental Rights and Freedoms’ chapter of the Turkish constitution by the parliamentary constitution reconciliation commission.

CHP’s İzmir deputy Rıza Türmen and the BDP’s Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan asked for constitutional protection of LGBT rights along with the inclusion of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ within the article covering protection of equality.

AKP’s Istanbul deputy Mustafa Şentop rejected the proposal stating: ‘We don’t find it right to have an expression concerning gays in any part of the constitution’.

Şentop also argued that the AKP is against the inclusion of ‘such notions’ both within the Turkish constitution and with regards to international agreements.

Following the AKP’s objection, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has proposed an alternative clause that said: ‘Nobody can be subject to discrimination no matter what the reason is,’ with its deputy Faruk Bal suggesting that such an article would ‘cover everybody.’

The proposal was eventually rejected outright and not included within the draft.

Turkey has consistently never sent a delegate to vote on any United Nations resolutions that suggested any protection or recognition of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’.

Turkey is a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference which consistently objects and instructs its members veto any international proposal that includes these concepts.

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