Press release: Draft amendments to the Turkish Constitution threaten to further rollback on LGBTIQ rights and violate European Convention on Human Rights
Brussels, 25 January 2023
On 9 December 2022, the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted a constitutional amendment on the grounds of ‘constitutional guarantee for the headscarf and protection of the family’. The amendment was submitted to the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly with the signatures of 336 MPs together with their alliance partners Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Great Unity Party (BBP), with the subsequent support of the only MP of the Felicity Party (SP) belonging to the opposition bloc. The threshold needed is the support of 400 out of the 600 MPs.
Among others, the proposal seeks to redefine marriage by amending Article 41 of the Constitution on the protection of family by stipulating that “marriage shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman”. The proposal justification expresses “the protection of institution of family and marriage against all kinds of dangers, threats, and attacked and against the impositions of pervert movements”. Commenting on the proposed amendments, President Erdogan said: “We want to prevent the virus of heresy, which is against human nature, from poisoning our nation’s existence.”
Article 10 of the Turkish Constitution codifies that everyone is equal before the law.
Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP (non-attached), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, comments:
What we see in Türkiye is not new. The country struggles with sky-high inflation so the government party attempts to shift attention away from the real problems of citizens such as decreasing purchasing power. While the tactic is not surprising, the intention should warn us of the dangers to human rights that it poses. We call on all democratic parties to categorically reject such proposals and not give into demagogic moves. We urge fellow parliamentarians to vote down the restriction of the definition of marriage.
Malin Bjork MEP (Left), Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and Substitute on the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET), concludes:
What do anti-rights actors do when faced with everyday problems that their policies do not solve? They find a scapegoat and gaslight the electorate. While Turkish citizens struggle to make ends meet, more than a half of their MPs decide this is the right moment to play constitutional games. Further, the President emboldens the move by denigrating LGBTIQ persons. We urge all MPs to vote clear and resoundingly against this proposal. The international obligations Türkiye signed up to under the European Convention on Human Rights should not used for political games.
 BBC News Türkçe (9 December 2022), “AKP, başörtüsü düzenlemesini de içeren anayasa değişikliği teklifini 336 milletvekilinin imzasıyla Meclis’e sundu: Teklifte neler var?”, accessible at https://www.bbc.com/turkce/articles/cz9yrddwxd9o.
 DuvaR. English (17 January 2023), “In new hate speech, Erdoğan deems LGBTI+ ‘virus of heresy’”, accessible at https://www.duvarenglish.com/in-new-hate-speech-erdogan-deems-lgbti-virus-of-heresy-news-61704.
Office of Fabio Massimo Castaldo – Francesca Acampora (Francesca.Acampora@europarl.europa.eu)
Office of Malin Björk – Charlotta Narvehed (Charlotta.Narvehed@europarl.europa.eu)