31 PACE Parliamentarians Say "Stop!" to "Undue Provocation" in Turkish Law
On April 24, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly members signed a declaration to condemn the use of “undue provacation” in Ahmet Ö.’s murder case. 31 parliamentarians from Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly signed a declaration on April 24 to speak against the use of “undue provacation” in the murder case of Ahmet Ö. back in 2011. The written declaration was supported by enough delegates, therefor it became an official document of the Parliamentary Assembly.
The declaration was presented by Swedish member of Parliament, Jonas Gunnarsson, and was signed by parliamentarians from Sweden, France, Palestine, San Marino, Andorra, Poland, United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Georgia, Italy, Serbia, Finland, Spain, Malta, Austria and Ireland. This now official letter received support from the center-right European People’s Party as well, which is the largest party in the European Parliament, Council of Europe and European Commission. The details of the declaration and the case of Ahmet Ö. can be found below:Written Declaration No. 543 | Doc. 13194 | 24 April 2013 Discriminatory application of “undue provocation” provisions by Turkish courts when sentencing in cases of homophobic hate crime In August 2010 Tolgahan Gürsoy killed Ahmet Ö., stabbing him nine times. He had met Ahmet Ö. in a gay bar, and had gone back to his house of his own free will. A local court found Gürsoy guilty of "intentional homicide", but decided to reduce his sentence from life imprisonment to 10 years on the basis of "undue provocation", since he was trying "to protect his honour following a sex offer". This reduced sentence has been upheld by Turkey’s Court of Appeal. Such cases are not uncommon. In a 2011 report on the human rights of LGBT people in Turkey, Amnesty International expressed concern that in cases of suspected homophobic hate crimes perpetrators routinely relied on the defence of "undue provocation", and in many cases were effectively awarded lower sentences on the basis of the identity of the victim.
We call upon the Turkish authorities and courts to take measures to ensure that legal provisions on "undue provocation" are not applied in a discriminatory fashion, particularly in the case of suspected homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.