Activists in Turkey urge action for trans hunger striker Buse

Activists in Turkey urge action for trans hunger striker Buse

Activists in Turkey urge action for trans hunger striker Buse

Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD) and human rights activists have urged Justice Ministry to take an action regarding jailed trans women Buse, who has been on hunger strike for 31 days because her demand for gender affirmation surgery was denied by prison authorities. 

“Buse, who is being held in Tekirdağ Male Prison, is on hunger strike because her demand to be transferred to a hospital for gender affirmation surgery has been denied, despite the fact that she had completed the legal procedures necessary for such an operation,” the İHD stated on July 5. 

“We call on the Justice Ministry to issue the administrative measures required for gender affirmation surgery, in the framework of the right to access health, which is a basic right. Buse has been on hunger strike for 31 days” it added.

In a press conference attended by the association’s co-chair Eren Keskin, attorney Derya Özata and LGBTI+ activists, the Justice Ministry was urged to take action to send Buse to hospital.

Özata stated that the Justice Ministry “has been making arbitrary decisions in hindering trans individuals’ right to have an operation.”

“We are holding the ministry responsible for any psychological harm that might happen to Buse because it has been making decisions that amount to blocking the right to access health, despite the direct court order,” Özata said. 

According to civil law, an individual who requests gender reassignment can appeal to courts to undergo the operation. In order to be granted a permit for an operation, the individual should be more than 18 years old, not married, and present an official health board report from a university hospital stating that the individual has psychological competence for such reassignment. 

After an operation with the court order, the individual can appeal to a civil registry for a registry change.

Buse’s lawyers say she completed the legal procedure by securing a court order and hospital report, but the prison authorities deny her demand to be sent to a hospital for an operation. 

“Despite the legal procedure, the Justice Ministry General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses decided that the report given to Buse is insufficient. This contradicts Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 122 of Turkish Civil Law,” the IHD stated. 

The association said the ministry claimed the operation is “not vital and not urgent.” 

Buse is currently serving a life sentence and has been in prison for 20 years. 

“This situation is an obstacle to her being admitted to a women’s prison and paves the way for her to be held indefinitely in solitary confinement, as is the case with other trans prisoners,” the İHD stated.