Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Turkish activists want minister tried for derogatory comments on gays

A political controversy has erupted in Turkey after a minister described homosexuality as a "disease" that can and should be cured. The comment provoked a strong reaction from the country's gay and lesbian movement.

Turkey's Islamic-rooted government has frequently been criticized in the past by human rights groups over its treatment of the country's gay community. But now a Turkish gay rights group has asked prosecutors to charge Family Affairs Minister, Aliye Selma Kavaf, for what they called her derogatory comments about homosexuality.

The complaint, by the LAMBDA Association, charges that Kavaf's remarks in a newspaper interview were "an insult, incitement to crime and incitement to enmity and hate" - crimes which, in Turkey, are punishable by up to five years in jail. Kavaf had said that she believed homosexuality was a "biological disorder, a disease."

"I think it should be treated," she was quoted as saying.

Kavaf "should apologize to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals in this country for her discriminatory statements that turn homosexuals into a target," said Ruzgar Gokce, a LAMBDA member, outside the Istanbul courthouse where the group filed its complaint.

"The only person who is sick, is the minister," chanted dozens of gays and lesbians in front of the courthouse.

Firat Soyle, a lawyer for LAMBDA, said the complaint was only symbolic since the minister enjoyed parliamentary immunity and would not face prosecution.

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5360859,00.html

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