A new organization, the first in Turkey to ensure LGBTI websites, groups and organizations has been established to fight homophobia and transphobia in the Islamic country that straddles Europe and Asia.
In existence since less than two months, the organization was created in order to ensure unity and solidarity among LGBTI groups, LGBTIwebsites and LGBTI organizations, BurÃžin BordanacÄ▒ of the Turkey LGBTI Union told GayAsiaNews.com by email.
"Because Turkey is a Islamic country although not in the same league as Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq in its vehemently anti-LGBTI stance, there is still need for togetherness and solidarity among LGBTI groups to counter homophobia and transphobia that exists in Turkey, BordanacÄ▒ said.
At the moment the organization registered within the past two months has three LGBT organizations and three LGBTI websites which are already members of the LGBTI Union in Turkey, BordanacÄ▒ said.
The new umbrella organization is based in the Turkish capital of Ankara and has its own website ( lgbti.org/ ). It is founded by a gay activist Nikopol who was also instrumental in forming an LGBTI community cum club in Turkey in 2006, BordanacÄ▒ said.
Nikopol who founded the Turk Gay Club earlier used the internet to bring together Turkish lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex individuals. It was dedicated to safeguard the rights of the LGBTI community and help individual come together and meet within a safe environment The club has since 2012 been a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association ( ILGA ).
The latest endeavor is to replicate the success of that bringing together of LGBTI individuals to that of groups and organizations to concertedly help fight and safeguard LGBTI rights, push for equality laws and counter homophobia and transphobia that exists in Turkish society.
Same-sex relations have been legal in Turkey since 1858, but the law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity within its legal or civil rights structure. Current Turkish laws also do not recognize same-sex couples.
In recent years some conservative Islamic sections of Turkish society which is predominantly Muslim has become vociferous in its opposition to the LGBT community and equality rights and often openly advocate homophobic discrimination in Turkey.
This has often led to hate-crimes so much so that authorities are proposing an introduction of legislation against anti-LGBT hate crimes and discrimination, as well as to constitutionally allow the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The Constitution Reconciliation Commission that drafts the new constitution has agreed in 2013 to provide constitutional protection against discrimination for the LGBTI community. However, that draft proposal was later cancelled on the pretext that it conflicted with other parts of the new constitution.