Turkish LGBTIQ Activist Released, But Prosecution Continues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

7 February 2018

Media Contact:
Rashima Kwatra, rkwatra@outrightinternational.org, +1(917) 859-7555
Yildiz Tar, yildiz.tar@kaosgl.org, yildiztar7@gmail.com

Turkish LGBTIQ Activist Released, But Prosecution Continues

Ali Erol, leading LGBTIQ human rights defender, and co-founder of Kaos GL Association, Turkey’s first registered LGBT organization, was released from detention yesterday. Erol was arrested in the home he shares with his partner early Friday morning, February 2nd, in Ankara.

While Erol has been released, his case is still under judicial review and the prosecution continues. Erol will be required to appear before the police periodically and is banned from leaving the country. The exact reasons surrounding his arrest and the prosecution has been kept confidential by authorities, though Kaos GL reports that the police had a warrant for his social media posts.

Yildiz Tar, Media and Communications Coordinator at Kaos GL, commented on the judicial process, and said,

“Secrecy is a very common strategy in Turkey. First they detain, ask questions about something, then they prepare the charges and we can only learn it in trial or just before the trial.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director at OutRight Action International, comments on the situation, saying,

“The ambiguity of the case and seemingly arbitrary reasons for Ali Erol’s arrest speaks to the deteriorating situation faced by LGBTIQ, and all, human rights defenders in Turkey. The blanket ban on LGBTIQ events already trampled on the rights to assembly, now even the rights to express oneself freely is being punished. The Turkish government needs to stop violating the human rights of its citizens immediately.”

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. Since the ban, LGBTIQ organizations have been on alert and face increasing pressure.

Under the current authoritarian regime, it has been reported that over 50,000 dissenters, opposition leaders, human rights activists, and journalists have been heavily persecuted and arrested.

In a press release issued by Kaos GL, the organization states,

“Each year, thousands of human rights defenders are trying to be silence through fabricated or ridiculous reasons that turn into lengthy, costly and mostly unjust judicial processes...Trying to suppress the courage of human rights defenders is a common tactic by those violating rights. Because of this, protecting human rights defenders is a fundamental area of work for human rights organizations across the World today. Because fear is as contagious as courage and fear can only be beaten by standing with courage.”

For previous coverage refer to:
Metro Weekly: http://www.metroweekly.com/2018/02/prominent-lgbtq-activist-turkey-arres...