Hate Killings

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The report was prepared by the Human Rights Observation and Law Commission on LGBTT (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transvestites and Transsexuals) Individuals and published on 27 October 2007. It covers "hate killings" in 2007.

DTFDemocratic Turkey Forum has made a summarized translation.


What are hate killings?

Hate crimes can be defined as "Crimes of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, criminal homicide, motor vehicle theft, robbery, sex offenses, and/or crime involving bodily injury in which the victim was intentionally selected because of the victim's actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability. Hate crimes differ from conventional crime because they are not directed simply at an individual, but are meant to cause fear and intimidation in an entire group or class of people." (see English Wikipedia)

Hate killings of homosexuals in Turkey

In Turkey the law does not protect LGBTT individuals. There is no provision in law that provides for penalties in case of discrimination or human rights violations directed at LGBTT. In case of hate murders against homosexuals courts apply the condition of "heavy provocation" and lower the sentences. This is an offence against the principle of equality.

The journalist Baki Kosar was killed on 22 February 2006. The suspected killer was sentenced to 16 years', 5 months' and 15 days' imprisonment because the court accepted that he had been heavily provoked. The verdict found that the murderer had willingly accepted the invitation to the flat of Baki Kosar in order to have sexual intercourse, but also called the "offer of sexual intercourse" a heavy provocation.

If the offer of having sex is seen as a provocation the "provoked" person could easily have said "no" and in case that pressure was applied one or two stabs with a knife would have been enough. But the aggressor stabbed the victim 32 times and 7 stabs had a lethal effect. The court, however, never asked for the motives behind the killing. It only put the sexual identity of the victim into question. This shows how homophobic the judiciary in Turkey is.

As long as the judicial system continues to characterize LGBTT individuals as immoral it is obvious that justice is not equal for them. Law against homophobia is needed to secure the right to life, a basic human right, for homosexuals. The discrimination of LGBTT individuals in Turkey is conducted in contravention of Article 2 of the UN Convention on Economic and Social Rights and in contravention of Article 2 (discrimination), Article 6 (right to life) and Article 9 (right to freedom and security) of the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights and in contravention of Article 2 (right to life), Article 5 (right to freedom and security) and Article 14 (discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Demands of the Human Rights Observation and Law Commission on LGBTT

Turkey has to fulfill its obligation under the international treaties to which it is a State party and has to implement the necessary human rights provision in law.

The provision in the Constitution on equality has to include a passage on discrimination according to sexual orientation and identity.

The provision in the Turkish Penal Code on discrimination has to include discrimination because of sexual orientation and identity. Hate crimes have to be defined and must require heavy penalties.

Terms such as "general moral", "obscene", "exhibitionism", "unnatural sexual contact" have to be defined and the punishment for being a LGBTT individual must end.

Members of the judiciary have to be educated on subjects such as homophobia and discrimination. To this end women's organizations, human rights organizations and LGBTT organizations have to be involved.

Restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and association for LGBTT individuals must end. Organizing of LGBTT individuals must be supported.

Hate Killings in the Media

Compared to the last years hate crimes covered a broader space in the media in 2007. Between 1 January and 10 October 2007 we discovered 15 cases.[1] It is known that there are many more such cases. We are once against confronted with the problem that homosexuals in Turkey are not visible. There is no name for the cases in which people are killed only because of their sexual orientation or identity.

While the killings of male homosexuals are presented as stories about the killing of transvestites/transsexuals the killing of lesbians might be covered as internal violence in families. Rather than reporting on the kind of murder the stories concentrate on the way the victim was dressed and behaving creating the impression that the killing was justified.

Looking at the stories during the last year we found that because the individuals are forced to hide their sexual orientation or identity they had to enter relationships that carried violence.

The International Principles of Professional Ethics in Journalism (UNESCO) are spelled out more precisely in the Principles for the Press Profession of the Press Council in Turkey. We find that most of the stories do not meet these standards that state inter alias that nobody can be condemned because of race, sex, social status or beliefs, that private life has to be protected and that stories should not be published without research.

Therefore we ask the press to take the views of organizations of civil society before publishing the stories.

- Violence shall not be presented as being justified

- The identity of the victim has to be protected

- Statements shall only be published with consent

- Photographs that show the victim in an awkward position shall not be published

The Stories in the Turkish Press

  1. On 27 January Hürriyet reported that MA stabbed 23-year old IC, known as "Sertap" to death in Beyoglu-Istanbul after a discussion.
  2. On 5 February Takvim reported that two juveniles ("living on the street") went to the house of a 40-year old man in Kocaeli. He and his visitor reportedly asked the juveniles to have sex with them and one of the juveniles attacked the men, killing one of them with 9 stabs and seriously injuring the other one.
  3. On 28 February Sabah carried a story on a murder in Izmir. The corpse had been cut to pieces with a saw and it was suspected that it might be a transvestite who had gone missing 20 days ago and who was suspected of having stolen money from his friends, who now were suspected to have committed the murder.
  4. On 20 March Aksam reported on the testimony of FÖ suspected of having killed TA in Izmir. Reportedly he said that he had cut the throat of TA in his flat when he had appeared in female underwear.
  5. On an unspecified date Birgün reported on the verdict against OBC suspected of 4 killings in Istanbul. For the murder of the transvestite MT he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentence was reduced to 18 years' imprisonment since it had been committed under provocation (the victim allegedly said 'take your money back and sleep with your mother').

Further background to this case can be found in Hürriyet of 27 December 2005. According to this report all four killings concerned prostitutes, two of them being transvestites. MT was found dead in her car on 29 November 2005. During a first testimony the suspect stated that MT had asked for 450 YTL and OBC had offered 150 YTL. He had killed MT when he said "for that money you can sleep with your mother".

6. A local paper in Antalya reported on an unspecified date that the naked corpse found in a forest belonged to the transvestite A. She had been identified by her family. According to Özgür Gündem of 7 July the initials of the victim were AS (27) who had come to Antalya from Eskisehir.

7. On 19 August Milliyet reported on the killing of the student AK (20) in Konya. Two juveniles from the district town Karaman had been detained and confessed to have killed AK because he refused to give them money. It was also reported that AK and one of the juveniles had chatted for two months over MSN and AK had invited him to Konya.

On the Internet page www.kaosgl.org/node/1329 a person named Tolga K. presented his memories about AK comparing his death to that of Baki Kosar. The difference between Baki Kosar and AK was that the first one was openly gay while the other one tried to hide his homosexuality.

8. On 21 August Sabah reported on a protest of transvestites in headscarves at the killing of their friend AU (22) in Bursa. 59-year old MI was suspected to have killed her because of a disagreement on the money for sex.

9. Milliyet of 18 September carried a story on the trial of US citizen JPC who allegedly killed his lover DU (30) when he said that he would get married (to a wife). JPC rejected the allegation. DU had been employed by JPC in his house in Adana where he enjoyed his retirement. DU had been shot on 14 March 2006 by someone who opened a door in the house and saw him making love to his fiancé H.

10. On 13 September Hürriyet reported that COConscientious objector (25) confessed to have killed ÖZ (40) in Gaiziantep on 22 August. ÖZ had been drinking in a park with two other men and they had asked him and his friend to have sex with them. Therefore he had stabbed them, killing one and injuring the other two men.

11. On 4 October Aksam carried a story on the killing of MUM (39) in Nisantasi-Istanbul. The throat of MUM, known to be homosexual, had been cut. The police was looking for his 20-year old lover.

12. Ihlas.net of 5 October reported on an attack on two transvestites in their flat in Feriköy-Istanbul. BD (24) lost her life and EE was wounded.

13. On 19 October Sabah reported on the killing of NC in Ankara. His colleague FK reportedly confessed to the killing after a dispute during which NC had called him "fag".

The complete report in English can be found at: www.kaosgl.org/node/1429

  1. The list at the end of the report actually covers 13 cases, two of them related to killings in the years before 2007. The authors of the report may have counted additional cases, but it could also mean that the number of (reported) hate killings in 10 months is 11 instead of 15.
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