|Members of a Turkish LGBT rights organization carry placards during a demonstration in |
Istanbul to protest the inadequate laws that fail to protect transsexuals from hate crimes
Turkey - More than 20 people were killed last year due to their sexual identity
Honor killings against women regularly draw unwanted headlines in the Turkish media, but the recent murder of a 24-year-old transsexual, who was killed by her older brother due to her sexual identity, has drawn attention to another angle of honor killings in Turkey.
The murder occurred in the southeastern province of Gaziantep in a hospital where victim Ramazan Çetin was being treated for a problem in her leg. Her 27-year-old brother, Fevzi Çetin, visiting Ramazan in the hospital, allegedly killed her due to societal pressure against his sibling’s appearance.
“I have cleaned my honor,” Çetin said in his testimony to police.
The transsexual community of Turkey; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender organizations, as well as some lawyers have condemned the murder, saying that it was both an honor killing and a hate crime.
“On top of recognizing our sexual identity, which is very difficult, most of us live under such fear every day. That’s why many of us leave the city we used to live in or go underground. Some could not even reveal who they were for pure family pressure,” one transsexual who went by the pseudonym Pınar told Hürriyet Daily News.
Pınar said she has not seen her family for five years after she revealed to them that she was transsexual.
Fatih Söyle, a lawyer who specializes in hate crimes, said such crimes toward different sexual identities was not uncommon, but added that Turkish law did not mete out severe punishment for such cases.
“I was right at the court the other day and I saw that two murderers who caused a homosexual and a transsexual to die were sentenced to 13 and 25 years respectively,” Söyle said. “They were first sentenced to life in prison, but the court lowered it for their good manners in court.”
Ali Erol from KAOS GL in Turkey, an LGBT rights organization, agreed.
“In almost every city, transsexuals are under the same conditions,” Erol said. “Making honor crimes specific to eastern provinces means that we ignore the real problem. More than 20 people were killed … last year due to their sexual identity.”
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