Prominent Turkish LGBTIQ Activist Arrested in His Home in Ankara
February 2, 2018 - On Friday morning, Ali Erol, a prominent Turkish human rights activist and a founder of Kaos GL Association, Turkey's first registered LGBT organization, was arrested and detained in a home he shares with his partner.
Clear indications of the purpose of his arrest are yet unknown, though Kaos GL has reported that Erol's social media posts were included in the authorities' detention warrant.
Turkey does not criminalize homosexuality, however discrimination against LGBTIQ people, including arbitrary arrests and targeting by authorities, is rampant and on the rise.
Jessica Stern, OutRight Action International Executive Director, commented on the arrest, saying,
"OutRight calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Turkish LGBTIQ human rights activist Ali Erol. He is an unjust casualty of an increasingly authoritarian government attacking democracy and curtailing the rights of Turkish citizens exercising their rights to expression and assembly. The persecution of LGBTIQ, and all, Turkish human rights defenders needs to stop now.'
In November 2017, the governor of Ankara banned all LGBTI related events in the Turkish capital, citing that such events could spur public animosity from other groups and the need to maintain safety and security. While Kaos GL as well as another Ankara based LGBTI group has challenged the ban citing unconstitutionality, it remains in place indefinitely.
Istanbul Pride events have been banned by the city's governor for the past three years, with Pride marchers, who went forth with the celebrations despite the ban, being met with arrests and rubber bullets.
Since a failed military coup attempt in July 2016, dissenters, opposition leaders, human rights activists, and journalists have been heavily persecuted and arrested. With reports of the arrests of over 50,000 people.
Current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's authoritarian rule is one that also seeks to impose a more conservative interpretation of Islam onto the population.
Yildiz Tar, Media and Communications Coordinator for Kaos GL, commented,
"Us having such little information about the detention of a prominent figure of the LGBTI movement and founder of Kaos GL is unlawful and worrying.
If you recall, Ankara Governorship banned LGBTI events for an indefinite period in November. This detention is an intervention in both freedom of expression and LGBTI rights. We hope this mistake will be corrected."
Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people's human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown-or willfully ignored-by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.