In July, Selahattin Ekremoğlu, the Deputy Governor of Ankara, filed suit to shut the organization on the grounds that it supposedly violates a provision in the Turkish Civil Law forbidding the founding of "an association contrary to law and morality."
HRW: "Morality" provisions do not justify discrimination
HRW made it clear that the Turkish authorities' attempt to close an organization that defends the rights of gays, lesbians, and transgender people is a violation of basic rights and freedoms, of the freedom to organize and freedom of expression. HRW's director of LGBT rights, Scott Long, said, "This dangerous new move shows that old habits die hard, and calls into question recent advances in rights protections.
"Sweeping references to 'morality' in the Turkish Civil Code still offer a pretext for discrimination and abuse of basic rights. Equal protection doesn't include exclusion for sexual orientation or gender identity."
Long recalled that Turkey has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that in 1994 the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that "sexual orientation" was one of the statuses protected against discrimination under the treaty. Human Rights Watch also stressed that in a series of cases, the European Court of Human Rights has consistently condemned such discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
European Commission: A human rights issue
According to an NTV report, the European Commission and the EU General Secretariat are of the opinion that the issue of homosexual rights is "an important part of human rights.
"The approach of the Governorate is unacceptable" one EU official said. "The governorate's decision is an infringement of respect for sexual preference and the right to organize. The decision to close the association would be discrimination."
He indicated that this issue will be included in the progress report on Turkey that will come out in November.
TCK Women's Platform: A clear case of discrimination
The Women's Platform on the Turkish Penal Code issued a statement calling the governorate's actions "a clear case of discrimination against gays and lesbians." The press release stated that the case is "discrimination because it charges that the existence per se of gays and lesbians is contrary to 'law' and 'morality.'"
It added that the women's platform views opposition to discrimination concerning sexual orientation as part of its struggle to "end all forms of discrimination against women." (TK/AD/EA)