A local court in Istanbul ordered the closure of the Turkish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender solidarity organization, Lambda Istanbul. The court ruled on 29 May in favour of a complaint by the Istanbul Governor's Office that Lambda Istanbul's objectives were against Turkish "moral values and family structure". An appeal challenging this ruling is currently pending.

In recent years provincial governorships in Turkey have similarly targeted organizations working to promote the rights of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. For example, in September 2005, the Ankara Governor’s Office accused the Ankara-based group KAOS-GL, a gay and lesbian cultural research and solidarity organization, of “establishing an organization that is against the laws and principles of morality”. 

Similarly, in August 2006, the Ankara Governor’s Office attempted to close the human rights group Pembe Hayat (Pink Life), which works with transgender people, claiming that the association opposed “laws and morality”. In both of these cases, however, prosecutors dropped the charges. 

Amnesty International considers that closure of or attempts to close organizations on the basis of advocating for the rights of persons with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities violate the right to freedom of association, and are discriminatory.

Amnesty International is calling on people to write to Beºir Atalay, the Minister of Interior:

  • reminding him of his duty to ensure the respect and protection of the rights of all persons to freedom of association, without discrimination including on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity; in particular, in the words of the Yogyakarta principle 20:  “to ensure the rights to peacefully organise, associate, assemble and advocate around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to obtain legal recognition for such associations and groups”;
  • urging him to ensure that notions of public order, public morality, public health and public security are not employed to restrict any exercise of the rights to peaceful association solely on the basis that the association affirms diverse sexual orientations or gender identities;
  • asking him to support a comprehensive non-discrimination law which includes specific protections against unequal treatment based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all areas of life;
  • asking him to remind provincial governorships and their association directorates of their obligation to respect and protect the rights of all persons to freedom of association, without discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to take measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination on grounds of  sexual orientation and gender identity.