Turkey

I. Constitution

a. Article 28 Freedom of the Press

  1. The press is free, and shall not be censored. The establishment of a printing house shall not be subject to prior permission or the deposit of a financial guarantee.
  2. The state shall take the necessary measures to ensure freedom of the press and freedom of information.
  3. In the limitation of freedom of the press, Articles 26 and 27 of the Constitution are applicable.
  4. Anyone who writes or prints any news or articles which threaten the internal or external security of the state or the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, which tend to incite offense, riot or insurrection, or which refer to classified state secrets and anyone who prints or transmits such news or articles to others for the above purposes, shall be held responsible under the law relevant to these offenses. Distribution may be suspended as a preventive measure by the decision of a judge, or in the event delay is deemed prejudicial, by the competent authority designated by law. The authority suspending distribution shall notify a competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours at the latest. The order suspending distribution shall become null and void unless upheld by a competent judge within forty-eight hours at the latest.
  5. No ban shall be placed on the reporting of events, except by the decision of judge issued to ensure proper functioning of the judiciary, within the limits specified by law.
  6. Periodical and non-periodical publications may be seized by a decision of a judge in cases of ongoing investigation or prosecution of offenses prescribed by law, and, in situations where delay could endanger the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, national security, public order or public morals and for the prevention of offense by order of the competent authority designated by law. The authority issuing the order to confiscate shall notify a competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours at the latest. The order to confiscate shall become null and void unless upheld by the competent court within forty-eight hours at the latest.
  7. The general common provisions shall apply when seizure and confiscation of periodicals and non-periodicals for reasons of criminal investigation and prosecution takes place.
  8. Periodicals published in Turkey may be temporarily suspended by court sentence if found to contain material which contravenes the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, the fundamental principles of the Republic, national security and public morals. Any publication which clearly bears the characteristics of being a continuation of a suspended periodical is prohibited; and shall be seized following a decision by a competent judge.

b. 1. Protection of the Family ARTICLE 41. (As amended on October 17, 2001) The family is the foundation of the Turkish society and based on the equality between the spouses.

The state shall take the necessary measures and establish the necessary organization to ensure the peace and welfare of the family, especially where the protection of the mother and children is involved, and recognizing the need for education in the practical application of family planning. (Turkey Constitution via Office of the Prime Minister of Turkey http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/tu00000_.html)

II. Penal Code

a. ARTICLE 29

  1. A person committing an offense with affect of anger or asperity caused by the unjust act is sentenced to imprisonment from eighteen years to twenty-four years instead of heavy life imprisonment, and to imprisonment from twelve years to eighteen years instead of life imprisonment. In other cases, the punishment is abated from one-fourth up to three thirds.

b. Provoking people to be rancorous and hostile ARTICLE 216

  1. Any person who openly provokes a group of people belonging to different social class, religion, race, sect, or coming from another origin, to be rancorous or hostile against another group, is punished with imprisonment from one year to three years in case of such act causes risk from the aspect of public safety.
  2. Any person who openly humiliates another person just because he belongs to different social class, religion, race, sect, or comes from another origin, is punished with imprisonment from six months to one year.
  3. Any person who openly disrespects the religious belief of group is punished with imprisonment from six months to one year if such act causes potential risk for public peace.

Context: LGBT persons are not named as a protected class under this article. Furthermore, Article 216 gives the judiciary broad discretion of interpretation for implementation of the law, which has proven to result in discriminatory implementation of the law by choosing not to punish those who incite violence and harass members of the LGBT community. (Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in Turkey: A Shadow Report, IGLHRC 2012)

c. (4) Any person who produces products containing audio-visual or written material demonstrating abnormal sexual intercourse by using sex, or with animals, or body of a death person , and engages in import sale, transportation storage of the same and presents such material to other’s use, is punished with imprisonment from one year to four years. (Criminal Code, Law No. 5237, Article No. 216 (Turk.), available at http://www.justice.gov.tr/basiclaws/Criminal_Code.pdf)

III. Civil Code

a. A. Incorporation 1-Definitions ARTICLE 56 - An association is defined as a society formed by unity of at least seven real persons or legal entities* for realization of a common object other than sharing of profit by collecting information and performing studies for such purpose. */ Modified by Law No. 4963

No association may be formed for an object contrary to the laws and ethics. (Civil Code via Legislation Turkey – Lexadin: http://www.lexadin.nl/wlg/legis/nofr/eur/lxwetur.htm)

Additional Resources

Human Rights Violations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) People in Turkey: A Shadow Report IGLHRC, 2012