December 16, 2014 – Reported by the Hurriyet Daily News – The European Union has warned Turkey over the dangers posed to minorities and vulnerable groups in the country, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.
The conclusions of a conference organized by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU on “Fundamental Rights, Non-Discrimination and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups, Including LGBTI,” which took place on in Tirana on Nov. 21, were released on Dec. 11.
“This conference has shown that: Enlargement countries have put in place key policy elements and the legal framework for fundamental rights and non-discrimination while demonstrating commitment to making progress in these areas. This progress was welcomed by all participants,” it stated.
“Yet all minorities and vulnerable groups nonetheless often remain at risk of discrimination, marginalization or even violence in the western Balkans and Turkey,” it added.
“Governments and political leaders in the region need to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that all minorities and vulnerable groups, including LGBTI people, are accepted and can participate freely in society. To that end, they need to adopt a comprehensive approach to include all minorities and vulnerable groups, including LGBTI people. It is important to ensure that inclusion is addressed in all government policy documents,” it said.
“Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity should be prohibited by law, and measures must be taken to ensure that persons belonging to minorities can equally exercise their rights. Sustained efforts are needed to implement and enforce relevant legislation and policies and to address pending reforms. A hierarchy of grounds must be avoided and multiple forms of discrimination must be addressed specifically,” it concluded.
LGBTI people, particularly transgender individuals, are frequently the target of hate crimes in Turkey.
A government-led reform package, adopted by Parliament in March 2014, prohibited discrimination and hate crimes, but not on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
A recently announced report drafted by a civil rights organization has drawn a picture of the plight of transgender individuals in Turkey, finding that half of all transgender sex workers in the country have been subjected to physical violence from the police. It also stated that the murder of transgender individuals in Turkey amounts to 40 percent of the total number of such killings in all of Europe.