LGBTI votes netted by HDP a worry for Turkish Deputy PM
HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş says LGBTI people want to live in a country where there is no discrimination based on gender, race or sect. AA PhotoIn a bitter ongoing debate between Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, Arınç has referred to the perceived tendency of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people to support the HDP.
Arınç cited votes by LGBTI people first when he criticized the HDP on Jan. 9 over its decision to enter the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2015 as political party, in defiance of the infamous 10 percent election threshold for a party to be represented at Parliament.
Speaking at a press conference in Bursa, Arınç referred to the 9.76 percent vote Demirtaş received in the first-ever direct presidential election on Aug. 10, 2014, which was widely interpreted as pushing the “psychological threshold” of 10 percent.
Arınç said the HDP received the votes of “party representation groups,” including LGBTI people who say they cannot find representation in any party in Turkey.
Demirtaş’s response came at one his party’s provincial congress on Jan. 10, saying LGBTI people want to live in a country where there is no discrimination based on gender, race or sect.
“Look at the spokesperson for the government; I mean ‘the minister responsible for crying.’ He is attacking the HDP day and night,” Demirtaş said, referring to multiple incidents in which Arınç has cried in front of news cameras.
He added that Arınç's remarks show that he is worried about the HDP’s decision to run as a party in the upcoming elections.
“They have lost their respect for the people’s will to the extent of insulting people who vote for us. They sank to such depths to the extent of mocking the sexual orientation of the people who voted for us. He says ‘trans individuals and lesbians,’ voted for us. Each and every vote is precious and honorable," Demirtaş said.
"You should never use discriminative hate speech against anybody,” he added.
LGBTI people, particularly transgender individuals, are frequently the target of hate crimes in Turkey.
Late last year, the European Union explicitly warned Turkey over the dangers posed to minorities and vulnerable groups in the country, including LGBTI people.