Turkey

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: legal
  • Legal gender recognition: possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ civil society organizations: possible
  • Actions related to SOGi at UN: supported IE SOGI in 2016

 

Overview

Same-sex relations are not criminalized in Turkey, there is a strong and vibrant LGBTIQ community across the country, and prior to 2014, significant progress had been made, in part due to EU influence. Since the rise to power of current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country has shifted gear from progress to increasing authoritarianism. Thousands of academics, opposition politicians, journalists, and civil society activists have been imprisoned in recent years. Civil society organizations have been shut down and expressions of freedom of assembly violently suppressed.

LGBTIQ people have been a particular target in this increasing hostility. Large and very successful Pride marches took place in Istanbul for almost two decades. They have been banned and violently suppressed with tear-gas and rubber bullets since 2015. Pride marches in other parts of the country have also been banned and attacked with extreme force by law enforcement authorities. The Ankara governorship even issued a blanket ban on all LGBTIQ events (overturned in court in April 2019), and hate speech from authorities targeting LGBTIQ people has increased. Consequently, bias motivated violence against LGBTIQ people has also soared. Additional hostility towards LGBTIQ people is perpetuated by the dominance of Muslim faith in the country.