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'Homosexuality is a disease' says Turkish minister

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 3/7/2010 12:00:00 AM |

State Minister Aliye Kavaf continues to make controversial comments on morals and values that raise reactions. Following her criticisms on the love scenes in Turkish soap operas, she shared her opinions on homosexuality and gay marriage. The state minister said she believes homosexuality is a biological disorder that requires treatment

The state minister responsible for the affairs of women and families has declared that she believes people who are gay are sick.

“I believe homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease,” said S. Aliye Kavaf in an interview with the daily Hürriyet’s Sunday supplement. “I believe [homosexuality] is something that needs to be treated. Therefore I do not have a positive opinion of gay marriage.”

Kavaf said her ministry does not have an agenda for gay marriage and there is no demand for such a thing anyway. “We are not saying that there are no homosexuals in Turkey, these cases do exist” she said.

The comments come shortly after Kavaf was criticized last week for saying she is disturbed by love scenes in Turkish soap operas and that she believes they are inappropriate for Turkish family values.

“When reporters asked me about kissing scenes in ‘Aşkı Memnu’ (Forbidden Love) soap opera, I said: ‘In Europe [and] America that type of program is broadcast under control. They are encrypted, people who want to watch them buy them.’ But they crucified me by saying ‘Censor Minister seeks encryption,” Kavaf told Hürriyet.

During a speech at a foundation meeting last week, Kavaf said: “Every day, scenes of an erotic nature are being broadcast freely on television, compromising family values.”

Kavaf said in the Hürriyet interview that she does not approve of broadcasting that is solely focused on ratings. “That scene may not be important for 45- to 50-year-old people in terms of degeneration, but it might have a different effect on children aged 4-10.”

After her attack on soap opera love scenes last week, many criticized the minister for trying to drawn strict borders around Turkish family values. Mehmet Güler, TV critic for the daily Habertürk, said if the definition of the appropriate Turkish person or family is “people who have built their whole lives on dignity, morals and justice and never think about betraying their spouses,” then he would have to ask if such people really exist and who would want to watch series that is boring.

Other criticisms against the minister included her seeming tolerance for violence. Kavaf provided fire for the canon in her Hürriyet interview. “I only watch ‘Kurtlar Vadisi’ (The Valley of Wolves). I do not know if it is wrong or right, but the messages offered in the show attract my attention,” she said. “Kurtlar Vadisi” is a popular soap opera about mafia and “deep state” affairs in which scenes of murder and torture are common.

Also in the same interview, Kavaf said she is the first female deputy and minister ever from the province of Denizli, which has its good and bad sides. Kavaf said she was raised in a home where politics was discussed a lot. “I was in university when I started to be interested in politics,” Kavaf said. “Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of Britain. I liked Thatcher, the Iron Lady.”

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