The Rumours of Opening an LGBTI Prison in March and Our Requests from The Ministry of Justice

TCPS Press Release 23                                                                                                            

21 March 2018

In response to applications based on Right to Information Code and parliamentary questions, it has been expressed many times by the Ministry of Justice that an LGBTI prison is going to be opened soon. The clearest statement was cited in a response to an application on the right to information by a trans prisoner on the date of 02.12.2014:

“The project of Open and Closed Penal Institutions has been initiated by the Ministry of Justice. It is foreseen that the mentioned construction will start in 2015, after the tender that will be held in Izmir. Having completed the tender and construction site delivery plan, the prison will be completed in approximately 2 years.”

Despite the Ministry of Justice’s persistent policy of opening an LGBTI prison, our institution along with other CSOs issued either separated or common press releases and announced our opposition to an LGBTI prison with our justifications.1

According to recent rumours, the Ministry of Justice is preparing to open an LGBTI prison. We are informed by LGBTI prisoners through letters and interviews that a new prison is constructed in the “penal institution campus” of Izmir, “the planned opening was postponed to March due to technical problems”, “the number of the prison is 5 as written on the signboard”, “the total capacity is 160 - 80 of it will be in open and the rest of it will be in a closed prison”.

We are concerned with the initiatives of the Ministry of Justice regarding to establishing an LGBTI prison, in spite of the clear and insistent reasons of opposition declared by civil society organizations which are one of the essential elements of democracies. Even though opening an LGBTI prison might seem to be a solution for the management crisis and the problems of LGBTI prisoners all across Turkey, it is a temporary and delusive solution which will lead to deepen problems in the medium term. It is essential for the ministry to find a formula within every prison instead of building a separated one in which the discrimination and stigmatization will be institutionalized by the government itself and will obstruct the social relations and legal proceedings.

 

We expect and demand from the Ministry of Justice to inform the public clearly, to take  CSOs’ concerns and recommendations into account  and to explain the process as well as the  management structure of this  prison2 which will result with institutionalized discrimination and stigmatization.

[1] The press release signed by 18 CSOs specifies the reasons of their opposition for an LGBTI prison. https://lgbthapiste.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/544/

(2)For instance; Are LGBTI prisoners detained in open prisons going to be transferred? Are LGBTI prisoners who are not open with their families also going to be transferred, how will be the architecture of the prison? Are  lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans and intersex prisoners going to be kept seperately?if yes is it going to be statement based? Will the staff get specialized training? If yes what kind of training will it be etc?

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