This blog post is on general information on LGBT in Turkey. This is a general post on the overall situation regarding the LGBT community. Please be aware that discourse around this topic is still very controversial in Turkey. We would also like to let our readers know that different people have different experiences in Turkey on LGBT issues depending on their expectations and norms.
In Turkey, sexual intercourse between two people who has the same sex is not a criminal activity. Turkey belongs to one of the 98 countries in the world with tolerance regarding the LGBT community in this sense. Actually, you will be surprised to hear that Ottoman Empire was one of the first countries in the world that mentioned and decriminalized homosexuality in 1858 as it was inspired by the French penal code. Today Turkey is the only Muslim majority country in the world that does not punish people for taking part in homosexuality.
We strongly discourse members of the LGBT community from showing public affection in order to avoid the rare confrontation from the public. Although it is not legal, you might get a verbal warning from the police to leave the area and behave in a modest way in some more conservative places. However there are also places like Istanbul, Bodrum or Antalya where tolerance for this community is higher and there are specific hotels and groups for like minded people to meet and spend time together.
In order to understand the dynamics of LGBT community in Turkey, it is important to understand the fact that Turkish culture is different on all levels. Since Turkey is situated right in the connection of the Middle East and Europe, the Turkish culture has been affected by many influences over the centuries. Since Turkey is the only Muslim country in the world where LGBT is not illegal, regardless of your expectations it is inevitable to recognise the unique dynamics of LGBT community in Turkey.
Marriage Of LGBT Community In Turkey
Although Turkey is has a secular constitution and does not immediately classify marriage as a sacrament, marriage of same-sex is illegal in Turkey. Furthermore, same-sex marriages that were conducted in countries where it’s legal is also not recognised in Turkey. Overall same-sex marriage continues to be opposed by the majority of the general public with recent polls showing that only %3.6 of the general Turkish population supporting gay marriage in Turkey.
Military Service Of LGBT Community In Turkey
All Turkish men are subject to military service in Turkey. However Turkish law states that open homosexuality among man is an obstacle to military service. However, it is still required to prove this situation with psychological tests and examinations, often with visual evidence. With the amendment made in the Turkish Armed Forces’ Health Capability Regulation, military service examinations will now be made by family physicians.
The requirement that “sexual identity and/or behavioural patterns are highly prominent in all lives of individuals” brought by the regulation makes it difficult for homosexuals to obtain a certificate of exemption from military service known as the pink bill. : * The offence of “insistence on disobedience” if the person is in a military relationship while performing his military service; If he has a relationship with someone who is in a lower rank, he is considered to have committed the crime of “abuse of civil service influence”.
There are some online resources for the LGBT communities in Turkey, with information on restaurants, hotels, bars and events: