22/07/2020 | Writer: Aslı Alpar

Att. Kerem Dikmen commented on homophobic hate speech and threats after a photo studio in Kocaeli shared the photos of a gay couple they photographed on the studio's social media account.

Homophobic threats to a photo studio in Kocaeli! Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

A photo studio in Kocaeli/Turkey has been subjected to homophobic hate speech and threats in the city after sharing its "LGBT+ themed" work on its social media account, which they photographed as a social responsibility project.

"We wanted to explain that no one should be discriminated against because of their language, religion, race, gender, thought and that everyone has an equal place in society," the photo studio stated.

Newspapers spread hate!

"Saadet Party Karamürsel District Chairperson Mehmet Özalay, revealed an infamous incident on the controversial subject of these days, the LGBT. Özalay said 'A photo studio that works in our Karamürsel, which is the home of many wrestlers and courageous men and the first naval commander of the Ottoman Empire, of which the religious climate is the very foundation, is funneling its LGBT shootings to our homes, streets and even to the whole city like a poison'."

The newspapers presented Özalay's hate speech with the headline "Our concern is great": "Those who opened the way for whom deprived of morality and signed the treacherous Istanbul Convention are as responsible as these wretches."

"Public authorities need to act as soon as possible to protect the photo studio".

Kaos GL Association Legal Coordinator Att. Kerem Dikmen reminds that authorities should take action against the smear campaign targeting the photo studio.

Att. Dikmen underlined the increased hate speech and censorship against LGBTI+'s during the pandemic: "Especially during the pandemic period, censorship increased alongside the hate speech against LGBTI+'s. The National Education Directorates' demanded to prevent children from painting rainbow figures via sending SMS to teachers. Similarly, we know about the instructions are given by chain stores such as LCW or BIM not to sell their rainbow-containing products despite being in the catalog."

Att Dikmen said "In this case reflected in the local press, we see that a photo studio is subjected to hate speech because of its social responsibility project, which shares the message of human rights, non-discrimination among individuals and the equality of everyone" and underlined that this is a prevention of the freedom of speech.

"The discrimination here is homophobia, and also censorship. The photography studio exercised its right to free speech through artistic expression, and this right was censored by hate speech and threats. Freedom of expression and freedom of art are protected rights in the Constitution. But it's being attacked by third parties. This is illegitimate, and this attack cannot be seen within the limits of freedom of expression, it is both an attack on the right of reputation and hate speech," Att. Dikmen said, underlining the need to protect the photo studio exposed to hate speech and threats:

"Public authorities need to act as soon as possible to protect this photo studio from physical or rhetorical attacks."

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz

Tags: human rights