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EU: an opportunity for LGBT rights in Turkey

in TURKEY, 20/12/2004

ILGA-Europe urges the EU to include the rights of LGBT people in the human rights monitoring process and as a part of assessing Turkey's preparedness to join the Union

On 17 December 2004, leaders of the European Union agreed to start membership negotiations with Turkey in 2005. Although the negotiations might take up to 15 years and there is no guarantee that Turkey will enter the European Union, this is a significant development in relations between the EU and Turkey.

ILGA-Europe urges the EU to include the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people in the human rights monitoring process and as a part of assessing Turkey's preparedness to join the Union.

Currently the Turkish legislation does not provide protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Turkey remains the only European NATO member state that bans LGBT people from joining the army. The army still refers to homosexuality as to a psychological disorder.

Patricia Prendiville, ILGA-Europe Executive Director, said: "I hope the EU will pay serious attention to the human rights situation generally and to the human rights of LGBT people in particular when negotiating Turkey's accession to the EU. I also hope that the negotiations will stimulate the Turkish authorities to comply with the EU standards on LGBT rights and adopt necessary laws banning discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity."

A brief History of the LGBT Movement in Turkey
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