Though homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, campaigners say that discrimination against LGBT people is still common in place. People in Turkey are demanding justice and an urgent end to hate crimes against LGBT people after the murder of Hande Kader, a 22-year-old Turkish trans woman who was raped and set on fire. This incident took place last week and is very shameful.
She was a brave LGBT campaigner in Turkey. Her death has sparked widespread calls for greater protection of Turkey’s LGBT population. Hande was working as a sex worker and was last seen getting into the car of a client.
Kader was a well-known LGBT activist, and she had been photographed and filmed participating in a number of protests. These protests include Gay Pride Istanbul in June 2015, during which she was escorted by police after security forces fired water cannons and rubber pellets to disperse the parade.
Body found burned.
Kader’s body was found burned and multilated in an Istanbul neighbourhood of Zekeriyaky. She was identified by prosthetics at the city morgue.
She had become a symbolic figure in Turkey after facing down a police water cannon during last year’s Gay Pride march in Istanbul.
Kande’s murder comes less than a fortnight after the death of gay Syrian refugee Muhammed Wisam Sankari, who was found decapitated after being raped.
Do not let the world ignore this.
Emirhan Deniz Çelebi, the director of LGBT organization SPoD, based in Istanbul, said after the killing: ‘We are being murdered and they do not hear our voice because the rules in Turkey don’t protect us.’
A joint statement by local LGBT organizations demanded justice, stating: ‘We feel great anger: our beloved friend Hande Kader was burned to death… Hande was a person who raised her voice against hate crimes and encouraged everyone to raise their voices too.’
Lawyer Levent Pişkin said a crackdown after the recent attempted coup in Turkey have made LGBT people feel more vulnerable.
‘Actually, LGBT people in Turkey have never had legal rights,’ he said.
‘But we knew there were judicial mechanisms to support us. Nowadays, most people feel more vulnerable’.