Turkish military to expel gays

Turkish military to expel gays

Turkish military to expel gays

The military is set to classify homosexuality as ‘a breach of discipline.’ DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A new discipline regulation draft for the Turkish Armed Forces reveals a new guise for an old practice against gays in military posts.

According to media reports, homosexuality has been included as a major offense in the new discipline regulation draft of the Turkish Armed Forces. The punishment for offenders of the “crime,” which was defined as “unnatural intimacy” in the draft, will be expulsion from the military.

However, gay rights activists say the termination of contract practice has long been in place, although this is the first time it is clearly referred to in the discipline regulation.

LGBT associations have harshly criticized the new change, labeling it discriminatory and a violation of human rights.

Ali Erol from KaosGL, an Ankara-based LGBT association, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday the practice was not new apart from its wording. Noting a fundamental contradiction in the military attitude against homosexuality as a whole, Erol said the army practiced a dual policy.

“When it is the case of mandatory military service, a gay person is considered sick and held exempt from military service. The military defines homosexuality as a psychosexual disorder. But when a member of the military staff is homosexual, he is considered guilty of a disciplinary crime. This is discrimination on a double scale.”

Erol also said the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had decided against Turkey’s discriminatory practices many times and if this new regulation was enacted to prevent further lawsuits, it would fail. “The ECHR ruling is clear. A person’s sexual orientation cannot be considered nor treated as a crime, and any practice that suggests this would be labeled as sexual orientation discrimination. This term is not referred to in our legal framework, unfortunately; it is acknowledged by the EHCR and any future lawsuit about the practice will be treated as before.”