Political Participation

SPoD has been organizing meetings, focus group studies, workshops, ateliers and trainings in order to enhance the capacity of LGBTI+ people to access local and central decision-making mechanisms, to create safe spaces where they can talk about current politics, to make their expectations visible for the political institutions, decision-making individuals and institutions, to bring LGBTI+ rights to the agenda of active politics, and to ensure the developing of LGBTI+ rights through politics. Conducting monitoring and reporting activities and organizing national campaigns are also carried out by SPoD.

Political Participation Team

In coordination with other units of the association, we ensure that the activities and publications carried out under the SPoD association are put on the parliamentary agenda and parliamentary questions are submitted. We have been holding meetings with MPs, political party representatives, council members and mayors to create LGBTI+ agendas in central and local governments, especially in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, SPoD takes part as active participant in structures such as City Councils established to make decision-making processes transparent and participatory.

We carry out studies and meetings with political parties to bring the constitutional demands of LGBTI+ people to the agenda at the national level and to realize legal regulations regarding these demands. Since the day SPoD was founded, we have been supporting openly LGBTI+ candidates in all local and general elections and organizing national campaigns by making both mayor and parliamentary candidates sign the LGBTI+ Friendly Municipalism Protocol and the LGBTI+ Rights Agreement.

The Process of Constitution Making

In 2012, within the scope of the campaign we launched during the new constitutional process, we met with CHP, BDP and the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission and conveyed the constitutional demands of LGBTI+ people. We submitted opinions to the commission on draft laws on discrimination, training of local government employees and hate crimes. This campaign also received support from the European Parliament. Hélène Flautre, Head of the Delegation of the European Parliament to Turkey, sent a call letter signed by the Co-Chairs of the LGBTI+ Rights Intergroup and Intergroup members to Cemil Çiçek, the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and the members of the Constitutional Reconciliation Commission. The relevant article was among the articles on which no consensus could be reached during the constitutional negotiations and did not pass the commission.

We organized various events (panels and forums) and a survey for LGBTI+ people with the support of KONDA Research in order to broaden the interest of LGBTI+ people in the new constitution-making process and its content, and to share their demands and suggestions with the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and with the public. On 16 December 2011, we shared a 14-article text we prepared with the TBMM Constitutional Reconciliation Commission and with the public; on 16 January 2011, we met face-to-face with Sub-Commission No. 3 and conveyed the demands of LGBTI+ people. The activities supported by TACSO Turkey and the Rainbow Coalition Against Discrimination, which was formed by LGBTI+ organizations, continued; two panels and two forums were held in Istanbul, one each in Ankara, Izmir and Diyarbakır, and the comments of organized and independent LGBTI+ people were heard. The panels included meetings with representatives of various initiatives working on the Constitution (New Constitution Platform, Constitutional Women’s Platform, Ecological Constitution Platform), representatives of political parties (the Republicans and the Greens) and journalists.

Politics Meetings

Since 2013, SPoD has been organizing Politics Meetings at regular intervals. There have been presentations and workshops on topics such as Informing LGBTI+ people about the mechanisms of participation in politics, empowering LGBTI+ people in the political field, encouraging LGBTI+ people to participate in active politics, political communication, political theory, national and international mechanisms, political system and its functioning in Turkey, political representation experiences, democracy and freedoms, queer democracy, methods of participation in decision-making mechanisms, LGBTI+ rights in legislative processes, history of the LGBTI+ movement and political participation, political parties and rights-based policies, gender-sensitive budgeting, LGBTI+-oriented social policies, LGBTI+ rights in local politics, election campaign organization and election monitoring studies. In addition, we have also completed the planning of future political representation and participation activities.

LGBTI+ Friendly Municipality Protocol

The LGBTI+ Friendly Municipality Protocol recommends that policies should be put in place to ensure that LGBTI+ people have access to public services in local governance and can equally benefit from fundamental rights, especially the rights to health, housing, social works, employment, and transportation. It demands that municipalities develop LGBTI+ inclusive policies in their strategic and budget plans and take concrete steps to protect and improve the rights and freedoms of LGBTI+ people.

During the 2014 local elections, we launched a campaign and put the “LGBTI+ Friendly Municipality Protocol” up for signature. The protocol was signed by 40 mayoral candidates from 4 political parties and 7 different provinces. Within the same campaign, we also supported the election campaigns of openly LGBTI+ candidates. The importance of political parties nominating LGBTI+ candidates from preferable positions was also emphasized during the campaign. 5 of the participants of the Politics Meeting we organized that year became candidates for municipal council members with their out identities. Among these candidates, rights defender Sedef Çakmak, who is also one of the founders of SPoD, became the first openly LGBTI+ politician to be elected as a Beşiktaş City Council Member in Turkey.

In the 2019 local elections, the same campaign was carried out together with the Young LGBTI+ and Mersin Muamma LGBTI+ associations. In total, 26 mayoral candidates signed the protocol and 5 of these candidates won the elections and took office. Since 2019, 2 more elected mayors have signed the protocol, bringing the number of mayors to 7 in total.

LGBTI+ Rights Treaty

LGBTI+ Rights Treaty consists of articles that declare that parliamentary candidates, political parties and party leaders will work together in determining the politics in the field of LGBTI+ rights; that they will formulate the policies necessary for LGBTI+ people to access basic public services and enjoy constitutional rights equally; that they will not take a political stance that LGBTI+ rights and freedoms will be guaranteed; and that they will work to protect, improve and bring LGBTI+ rights to the parliamentary agenda during the legislative period.

LGBTI+ in Parliament

In 2015, before the national elections, we launched a campaign titled “At campus, at work and at the parliament; LGBTI+ people are everywhere”. Within the scope of the campaign launched for LGBTI+ people to take an active part in decision-making and policy-making processes, the first “Politics Meeting” was held with the participation of LGBTI+ rights defenders from 12 cities. LGBTI+ people who announced their candidacy also attended the meeting. With this campaign, 61 candidates from different political parties signed the LGBTI+ Rights Treaty, which we launched for the signature of parliamentary candidates participating in the elections. In the June 7 elections, 29 of these candidates; and in the early elections of November 1, 16 MPs who promised to bring LGBTI+ rights to parliament were elected to parliament.

Within the scope of the campaign, there are demands from parliamentary candidates, political parties and party leaders to include policies to improve the rights and freedoms of LGBTI+ people in their election campaigns, to implement rights-based social policies and to cooperate with the LGBTI+ movement in this regard; there are also demands such as declaring to the public in election programs that education, health, housing, employment, old age, retirement, income support and all other social policy areas will be organized to ensure that LGBTI+ people benefit equally, and to remove all obstacles to LGBTI+ people’s participation in politics.

Turkey is Ready for This

During the campaign “Turkey is Ready for This”, which we prepared to talk about our demands for a constitutional process that includes LGBTI+ people and to work to strengthen the political participation processes of LGBTI+ people in the upcoming elections, we reached 2,213,299 people on social media.

We premiered our documentary “Bizler ve Benzeri” (Us and Like Us), which we prepared within the scope of the campaign and in which we talked about the details of the meetings we held during political party visits in Ankara, subtitled in Turkish, Kurdish and English.

At the 4th Politics Meeting, which took place with about 30 LGBTI+ rights defenders and educators from different cities in Turkey, we published the video series “Us and Like Us: Interview with the School of Politics” in which included the views of LGBTI+ people and educators working in various fields on political decision-making processes, parliamentary system, and constitutional demands.

For your questions, suggestions, and further information, please contact us via [email protected].