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in TURKEY, 24/05/2006

Another Turkish gay rights group risks closure in the city of Bursa

The governor of Bursa has asked the courts to order the closure of a newly
formed gay rights group in the city of Bursa.



On March 3, 2006 Rainbow Solidarity and Cultural Association for Transgenders, Gays and Lesbians was established in the city of Bursa, becoming the second legally registered LGBT organization in Turkey. The Ministry took the application and forwarded it to the related branch which functions under the Mayor of Bursa.

However on May 24, 2006, Cafer Odabas, the deputy governor of Bursa, came out with a statement referring to the Articles 56 and 60 of the Turkish Civil Code prohibiting establishment of an organization “that is against
the laws and morality rules". He also referred to the articles 40 and 45 of the Constitution “providing clauses to protect the family” and authorized a court procedure at the Principal Registry to close down the Rainbow Solidarity and Cultural Association for Transgenders, Gays and Lesbians.


The deputy even referred to the article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights claiming that that article allows a government to dissolve an association that are in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the
protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.



A similar series of events happened to Kaos GL, an LGBT organization in Ankara last year. The group, which was founded 12 years ago, had applied for non-government organization (NGO) status with the Ministry of the Interior in July 2005. However on 15 September 2005, the deputy governor of Ankara said that official registration of an LGBT organization in
existence since 1994 is against the laws and morality rules and therefore it should be closed down.

Finally on October 12, 2005, the prosecutor, Kursat Kayral, allowed the KAOS Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association to
continue to operate. In his ruling the prosecutor even gave a reference to the American Psychiatric Association indicating they do not consider homosexuality as a disorder and said that the words "gay" and "lesbian" were widely used in daily life and scientific research.

Homosexuality has never been illegal in Turkey, but the government has refused to grant specific rights to gays. An attempt was made in 2005 to introduce an anti-discrimination bill in the Parliament, but it was later dropped by the government. Turkey has been under increasing pressure from the EU to offer protections for its LGBT citizens if it wants membership in Europe.

The members of the Rainbow Solidarity and Cultural Association for Transgenders, Gays and Lesbians will issue a press statement on May 25,
2006 at 12:30 at the center with the support from some local women rights association and Human Rights Association’s Bursa chapter.



Kaos GL is a LGBT organization and a legally registered non-governmental organization that publishes a bi-monthly magazine to completely cover Turkey.

Please refer any questions to:
news@kaosgl.com
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