Turkey continues to allow and encourage discrimination

The European Committee on Social Rights has released its conclusions on Turkey’s conformity with the European Social Charter, a European treaty on social rights which Turkey ratified in 2007. The Committee points to authorities’ failure to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people from discrimination.

European Social CharterThe Committee’s January 2013 conclusions on compliance with the Charter makes the case that “Turkey has failed to demonstrate that persons alleging discrimination in particular on grounds of age or sexual orientation are adequately protected”.

The Committee also quotes EU conclusions on Turkey’s accession progress, and regrets that LGBT people “continue to suffer discrimination, intimidation and violent crimes”. A future law against discrimination was amended so as not to protect LGBT people.

In other developments, MPs in the Grand National Assembly voted on 30 January to maintain homosexuality in the army’s list of psychological disorders, meaning lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemen and women will continue to be dismissed.

All male Turkish citizens are drafted in the army for a period of six to fifteen months.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup, commented: “Turkey persists in discriminating lesbian and gay people, and has a gruesome record of murders and police harrassment against transgender citizens. It’s reassuring Turkey has reassured the European Social Committee of its intention to align non-discrimination laws with EU standards, but words must now be followed by actions.”

Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup, added: “In addition to the enlargement criteria, Turkey should also take into account the EU’s draft anti-discrimination Directive. Considering Turkey a partner and a potential future Member State means we expect it will agree to European standards—whether it be the EU’s, or standards they’ve already signed up to through the Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The European Parliament is currently drafting its progress report for Turkey’s EU accession process.

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