The parliamentary election in Turkey are being hailed as a turning point for LGBT rights in in the country as an unprecedented 22 outspoken advocates of the community have gained seats. These new members of Parliament are allies of the LGBTI community who have signed a pledge to support LGBTI rights.
“The fact that Turkey’s population has elected 22 acknowledged advocates for LGBTI rights is a tremendous victory,” said Hossein Alizadeh, a program coordinator for IGLHRC, which works closely with LGBTI partner organizations in Turkey. “It is particularly important in a political landscape that recently has been quite conservative and where some high-level politicians have rejected even basic rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity
While it is legal to be openly gay in Turkey many out people experience social discrimination and rights violations. The authorities in Turkey have so far ignored demands from international bodies, including the United Nations and the European Union, to recognize rights and protect LGBTI people against discrimination and abuse based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The wins come after a fiercely led campaign by LGBT organizations and activists who demanded that candidates sign a pledge to protect LGBT persons, a total of 64 candidates signed the pledge with 22 of those winning a seat.