Friday, 26 November 2010

Want to avoid Turkey's military draft? Gay? You'll need video or photographic proof

Adnan Öztürk*: asked by military to submit photos showing him having sex
Source: Hurriyet Daily

Turkey’s military is asking for “photographic” proof that people seeking an exemption from compulsory military service on the grounds of their homosexuality are actually gay, the daily Milliyet reported last week, citing recent EU progress reports.

Many homosexual citizens have reported being asked for photographs or video footage during the process of obtaining a report proving their ineligibility for military service, according to Fırat Söyle, a lawyer for LAMBDA Istanbul, a gay, lesbian and transsexual rights association, daily Taraf reported last week.

Although such a practice is not listed in the regulations, people are still being asked, Söyle said.

In both the 2009 and 2010 of the European Union’s progress reports for Turkey, gays were allegedly asked to provide “photographic proof” of their sexual orientation to avoid service.

The Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, however, has denied that it asks for photos or video footage from gays to prove their sexual orientation in response to a recent report from German weekly Der Spiegel on the matter.

Der Spiegel claimed in its report that the TSK had “the world’s greatest porno archive” because of its policy of asking for proof of sexual orientation from people who seek military service exemption, daily Milliyet reported Nov. 14.

Asked by Turkish website Gazeteport whether the claims were true, the TSK said it had filed a complaint against the weekly with the German Press Council because of the false claims and demanded a correction.

“The TSK absolutely does not ask for photo or video footage from those who say they are gay. Even if a person brings photos or video footage, they are not considered during the process. The claim that TSK archives those kinds of photos is absolutely false,” the military said.

The Der Spiegel article also said people with disabilities were required to fulfill military service as well, a claim that was also denied by the military.

“People with disabilities who can prove their situation with a report from a board of doctors are kept exempt from compulsory military service,” the TSK said.

The TSK, in its complaint letter to the German Press Council, said the headline of Der Spiegel’s article was “Porno for the General,” which intentionally connected high-ranking officials with pornography and was an deliberate attempt to create a false perception among readers.

Porn for the General

Source: Der Spiegel

By Maximilian Popp

[Google translation]

In Turkey, homosexuality is considered a disease that military service is incompatible with. But before the withdrawal, the army demanded evidence.

A day after his 25th birthday Adnan Öztürk* confessed that he was crazy and a threat to the Turkish Republic. He had shaved his beard, had his chest and legs, as his lawyer advised him there. He was wearing lipstick, powder on the cheeks and was wearing a skirt. He was nervous when he said the sentence: "I sleep with men." The officer in the military headquarters took him by the arm: "You belong in the loony bin, fag."

Today Öztürk 28 years old and works as an engineer in Ankara. He says he did not take long to talk about the humiliation by the military. Meanwhile, he knows that he is not alone. It is a story so absurd that it sounds invented. A story that is not the 21st Century and is no a country aspiring to the European Union. A story that the conservative Islamic government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan again confronted with the tricky question of how she keeps up with the gays.

State and military in Turkey so closely intertwined than in any other NATO country. Every Turk has to make 6 to 18 months military service, alternative service does not provide for the law. The army absorbs all: pop stars who live abroad, heads of families, the disabled. One of the few exceptions: gay men. The military assessed homosexuality as a serious mental disorder. In Turkish military hospitals, therefore, play every week from bizarre scenes, when gays are desperately trying to prove his homosexuality.

"Well, Homo, as you have the most?"

Öztürk had prepared well for his survey. He bought women's clothes, and practiced, to laugh over the top. Only someone who works as a fag, he says, will be retired. "Well, Homo, as you have the most?", Asked the military psychologist. Since Öztürk knew not that the worst would come.

His parents had never talked to him about love and sex. They considered homosexuality as many Turks for morbid. When Adnan had 16 for the first time sex with a man, he scratched himself afterwards on the wrists. For three years he hesitated, then told it to his mother. "Say, just not with your father about it," she said. He ran away from home, went to Ankara Anatolia. He fell in love with a ten-year old man, he completed his studies, he was happy. Then called the military.

Before the screening he had long struggled with: should he admit to his homosexuality? Employers ask for proof of having completed military service. Who because of "sexual dysfunction" was released from service, find almost any job. But Öztürk knew the stories of homosexuals who have been raped in the army and beaten. He decided to come out.

The psychiatrist who examined him, accused him of being a malingerer. Two weeks he held the military in psychiatry. A doctor examined him and rectum was then that he could be a gay man. Then they sent him home, he should submit photos that show him having sex. "We bring it behind us," he told his friend. They met in his apartment, turned on the light and had sex. A friend shot a dozen photos.

The largest gay porn collection in Turkey

The psychiatrist Osman Bekir* has for years worked for the Turkish military, autism examined, epileptics - and gay men. Bekir himself is gay. The strict rules of military service would have meant that even straight men try to pass themselves off as gay. phase out a malingerer, who married a year later, it was the psychiatrist for every worst-case scenario, says Bekir. The checks would therefore increasingly sharp.

The Turkish military denies that gay people have to present video and photographic evidence. Speaking against a survey by the Gay Association Lambda Istanbul: Almost a third of the respondents indicated that was called for in the pattern pictures.

Even Mehmet Tarhan, 31, Kurd and gay, could have tried to make sort out themselves. But he decided to refuse military service on conscientious grounds. The Turkish government opened a case against him and wanted him sent to prison for four years. Thousands of people took to the streets then. After a year Tarhan was released from prison. Today he is the most famous conscientious objectors in Turkey. Defend him, the lawyer Senem Doganoglu, 27, also advises the homosexuals before the survey; including Adnan Öztürk.  When the military refused his request, she filed suit. She wrote: "My client is quite gay." In the end he was retired.

The evidence requirements of the Army considers the attorney for false and misleading. In Ankara would have become male prostitutes specialize in offering himself as a partner for the sex videos of conscientious objectors. As a consequence, the lawyer was so absurd as the whole process: the military had become "the largest gay porn collection in Turkey."

* Names changed by the editors

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