Europe » Turkey
Gay Guide Turkey
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey as words like "homosexual, transgender, and bisexual" do not exist in Turkish law. The revisions of criminal codes in 2005 retained provisions barring "indecency", "exhibitionism", and "offenses against public morality", historically often used to restrict LGBT people's rights. Furthermore, recent amendments to a 1934 law on the powers and duties of the police have given the police almost unlimited power to patrol and control public spaces (cruising areas). Violence has gained visibility: Gangs go to cruising areas and visit internet websites where gay men meet - looking for chances to inflict violence or robbery. Police rarely respond adequately; sometimes even blaming or harassing the victims of violence. In 2012, a gay teenager was murdered by his father and uncle, but many crimes still go undetected, even today, because gays are afraid of the police forces' reactions. TransPride Istanbul 2012 witnessed attacks by Islamic nationalists belonging to the youth organization Alperen Ocaklan, who threw stones and bottles at Pride visitors. But the attacks remained relatively minor as the police were able to quickly drive back the aggressors. In Turkey, the Penal Code criminalizes encouraging or facilitating sex work; however, prostitution in licensed brothels is legal for women only. Identity cards in Turkey are colour coded: pink for women and blue for men. Sex change operations can only be undertaken with a court decision - thereafter the ID card is changed. Transgender who do not have an operation have a problem. There are also no laws regarding the sex workers working on the streets. The policemen decide arbitrarily which sex workers should be working in which area. In Turkey, military service is mandatory for every man older than 20 years old. Turkey does not recognise conscientious objection to military service. Objectors must identify themselves as "sick" and are forced to undergo humiliating and degrading examinations to "prove" their homosexuality, sometimes even with photos of them having anal sex with the same sex. Even though LGBTs living in Turkey face various oppression from the state, the number of individuals and politicians supporting LGBT rights is increasing each year. Republican People's Party (CHP), the main opposition party, together with Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) defended that the rights of the LGBTs should be included in the new civil constitution which is being discussed by the Constitution Reconciliation Commission since 2012. The number of LGBT associations and student clubs are increasing each year. At the moment, there are 8 registered associations and approximately 20 student clubs and initiatives advocating for LGBT rights. Since 2003, LGBT associations are organizing and participating in the LGBT Pride Parade that takes place on Istiklal Street, the most crowded street of Istanbul. In the last 10 years, the participants in the Parade increased from 30 to 30000. Turkey is a very interesting country, rich in culture, friendly people and fantastic cuisine. A visit to Istanbul is a must!
Cities in Turkey
Name: Türkiye · Türkei · Turquie · Turquía · Turchia
Location: Southeastern Europe
International country code: 90 (omit 0 from area code)
International access code: 00
Area: 779,452 km² / 300,946 sq mi.
Currency: 1 Turkish Pound/ Lira (TL) = 100 Kurus
Religions: 99% Moslems
Climate: The Black Sea coast is best between Apr-Sep. With the exception of Istanbul, Turkey doesn't have a winter tourism season. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit.
Important gay cities: Istanbul
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