Letter from Council of Europe: Stop the degrading treatment to gays by Turkish Army

10/05/2012
Submitted by Kaos GL

On April 26, 22 Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have expressed concern about the degrading treatment applied to gays and trans women by excluding them from service in the Turkish Armed Forces. By the letter they have endorsed, the parliamentarians have pointed out that the treatment is contrary to international human rights law, such as the “Smith & Grady v. the United Kingdom” case law of the European Court of Human Rights given in the letter.

The letter emphasizes the importance of stopping this human rights violation: “We call upon the Turkish authorities to cease this degrading treatment of gay men, and to enable them to serve in the armed forces once the training and disciplinary measures have been taken to ensure that they can serve without danger of violence and discrimination.”

The initiating letter was put forward by Anette Trettebergstuen, a member of the Norwegian Labor Party. The CoE members who have endorsed the letter are given below in the official release.


26 April 2012

Degrading treatment applied to gay men by excluding them from service in the Turkish Armed Forces

Doc. 12918
Written declaration 519

This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it

According to the US State Department 2010 Human Rights Report on Turkey,
“Openly gay men were not allowed to perform military service for “health reasons” due to their sexual orientation; those requesting military exemption for reasons of sexual orientation had to undergo an invasive burden of proof (...). LGBT groups complained that gay men were required to show photos of themselves in overtly sexual positions and to undergo thorough medical evaluations to prove their homosexuality to military officials.”

A report by Amnesty International (June 2011), and a BBC World Service documentary, (March 2012), have raised similar concerns.

In 1999 the European Court of Human Rights ruled in Smith & Grady v. the United Kingdom that exclusion of lesbians and gay men from service in the armed forces was a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We call upon the Turkish authorities to cease this degrading treatment of gay men, and to enable them to serve in the armed forces once the training and disciplinary measures have been taken to ensure that they can serve without danger of violence and discrimination.

Signed (see overleaf)
Signed 1:
CHRISTOFFERSEN Lise Norway SOC
ANDERSEN Karin Norway UEL
AXELSSON Lennart Sweden SOC
BARNETT Doris Germany SOC
BONET PEROT Sílvia Eloïsa Andorra SOC
BREMER Tor Norway SOC
CONNARTY Michael United Kingdom SOC
FLEGO Gvozden Srećko Croatia SOC
GARDETTO Jean-Charles Monaco EPP/CD
GUNNARSSON Jonas Sweden SOC
HÄGG Carina Sweden SOC
HUOVINEN Susanna Finland SOC
MAURY PASQUIER Liliane Switzerland SOC
OHLSSON Carina Sweden SOC
RAČAN Ivan Croatia SOC
REISSMANN Mette Denmark SOC
ROSEIRA Maria de Belém Portugal SOC
RUPPRECHT Marlene Germany SOC
SANNEN Ludo Belgium SOC
SCHOU Ingjerd Norway EPP/CD
SHERIDAN Jim United Kingdom SOC
WOLDSETH Karin S. Norway EDG
Total = 22

1. EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party SOC: Socialist Group ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe EDG: European Democrat Group UEL: Group of the Unified European Left NR: Representatives not belonging to a Political Group

Source: http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/Doc/X...TML.asp?FileID=18330&Language=EN

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