Attempt to Close LGBT Organization in Turkey Stalls

Turkish LGBT organizations are under fire from the government.

An effort by officials in Turkey to close one of the country’s leading LGBT organizations has been placed on hold until Jan 31, according to Citing the need for the prosecution to compile a report, a judge adjourned the trial in which the Istanbul Governor’s office is charging that the group, Lambda Istanbul, violates Turkish laws on morality.

Since 1993, according to Human Rights Watch, Lambda Istanbul has lobbied for legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It operates a counseling hotline, and raises awareness about LGBT individuals through cultural, educational and political activities.

The Governor asked earlier this year that Lambda Istanbul be closed, and after the complaint was rejected, the case reached a higher court in July. A second hearing began on Oct. 18 before it was placed on hold.

Although homosexual sex is legal for adults over 18 in Turkey, the LGBT community often is harassed through unclear laws about public morality. Vaguely worded legal provisions on public morals are often used to harass LGBT people. The country, which is a candidate for EU membership, is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The treaties protect freedom of expression and association, and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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