Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Turkey: prosecutor considers lesbian love to be obscene


The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office initiated an investigation on the book "The 'L' State of Love" by Burcu Ersoy which was part of the "From Women to Women Story Contest" carried out by the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL).

The prosecutor's office reasoned the investigation by claiming that lesbianism is "an unnatural sexual relation" and "obscene".

Zeliş Deniz, member of LambdaIstanbul, a Turkish LGBT organization advocating for LGBT people's human rights, objected to the given reason for the investigation: "In is unacceptable to consider and perceive lesbianism as "abnormal" in world that does not regard homosexuality as a disease".

"Erotic and pornographic publications for heterosexuals can be printed, but at the same time an investigation is initiated on a book telling love stories between women. This is nothing else but homophobia", Deniz added.

Publisher reacts to investigation
İrfan Sancı, owner of Sel Publishing where the book was published, announced on, "The attempt of prosecuting our book for this reason is like ridiculing the the people's current state of mind".

The "From Women to Women Story Contest" was initiated by Kaos GL in the scope of the Meeting Against Homophobia organized for the 4th year. "The 'L' State of Love" was contributed by Burcu Ersoy and has been published at Sel Publishing in October this year.

In the investigation launched 10 weeks after the publication of the book, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office referred to a statement of publisher Sancı.

Sancı pointed out that the book was part of the story contest. He indicated, "There are no expressions in the book that remind of obscenity as defined by the law. On the contrary, it consists of naive stories of love between women with a literary concern". Sancı added that he does not agree with the prosecutor's findings.

The never-ending story of "public morality"
LamdaIstanbul member Deniz said that once more the "public morality" is put forward in the context of LGBT people in Turkey: "Discrimination against people who are not heterosexual arises again. We will experience this sort of investigations, the closure of associations and the confiscation of magazines if article 10 of the constitution on equality is not amended by including sexual orientation and gender identity".

Publisher Sancı is tried at the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance under the allegation of "spreading obscenity" regarding his publishing of the books "The Fairy's Pendulum" by Ben Mila, "The Amorous Exploits of a Young Rakehell" by Guillaume Apollinaire and "Letters of a Well-Mannered and Knowledgeable Bourgeois Women" by French writer P.V.

The Prime Ministry Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications banned the novel "Third Class Women" by Anıl Alacaoğlu published by Minima Publishing. Saying that the book "harms children under the age of 18" the board decided for the sale and banned any advertisements regarding the book.

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