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RIGHTS > Protection for gay rights vetoed

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Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party vetoes a proposal that aims to bring in constitutional protection for gay rights. ‘We don’t find it right to have an expression concerning gays,’ an AKP deputy says

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This file photo shows a recent protest for gay rights held in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. Activists from Turkey’s LGBT had earlier made an appearance in Parliament demanding for charter protection. Hürriyet photo

This file photo shows a recent protest for gay rights held in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. Activists from Turkey’s LGBT had earlier made an appearance in Parliament demanding for charter protection. Hürriyet photo

Göksel Bozkurt Göksel Bozkurt goksel.bozkurt@hurriyet.com.tr

The ruling 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, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has proposed an alternative clause upon the AKP’s refusal.

“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,” the proposal introduced by the CHP and the BDP on Sept. 11 said.

Principle of equality

The proposal was introduced during debates on the principle of equality as part of the ongoing meetings on drafting of the “Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” chapter of the Constitution by the Parliament Constitution Reconciliation Commission.

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

“We don’t find it right to have an expression concerning gays in any part of the constitution,” the AKP’s Istanbul deputy Mustafa Şentop was quoted as saying in response to the proposal.

Şentop also argued that the AKP is against the inclusion of such notions both within the Constitution and within the international agreements. The MHP then proposed having an article that said “Nobody can be subject to discrimination no matter what the reason is,” with the same party’s Konya deputy Faruk Bal suggested that such an article would “cover everybody.”

While the articles covering “equality and children rights” were being debated, the BDP proposed a notion that guaranteed “every child’s use of his or her own tongue.”

The BDP also asked for the inclusion of this notion as “every child has the right to use his or her own culture and to use his or her own tongue,” within the draft.

However, deputies from the three other parties represented at the commission have objected to the BDP’s proposal.

The proposal was eventually rejected outright and not included within the draft. The only matter on which deputies from all four parties represented in the commission agreed upon during the Sept. 10 meeting was “constitutional protection for atheists.”

September/14/2012

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