Turkey’s Workers’ Party nominates three trans women for the Parliament

The Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) has nominated three trans women to run for parliamentary seats, announced independent English Daily Gazete Duvar. Zeynep Esmeray Özadakti and Talya Aydın are running in Istanbul’s second electoral district against the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu who is known for his anti-LGBTI+ stance. Niler Albayrak is running in Istanbul’s third electoral district.


Eren Topuz  of  Gazete Duvar writes that the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) has nominated trans-woman activist and actress Zeynep Esmeray Özadikti as the MP candidate from Istanbul’s second electoral district in the third place.


Trans woman activist Talya Aydın was nominated as a candidate at the 18th place in the city’s second district, while trans woman activist Niler Albayrak was nominated as a candidate at the 11th place in the third district.


Özadikti and Aydın are running against the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. Soylu used his position to bash the LGBTI+ community in Turkey, and many pride marches have been attacked during his term.


Gazete Duvar interviewed Aydın about her candidacy process and the work she will carry out if elected to the Parliament. She stated that they will do their best to end the hate climate in the country against the LGBTI+s, and added, “We will send a trans woman to the Parliament this election.”


Aydın stated that the LGBTI+ community is currently one of the most disadvantaged groups in the country and they will adopt policies to improve their access to employment, housing and health.


“Today, we are in such a situation that you cannot legally marry your lover, your life partner, whom you have loved all your life, with whom you have built a life together. If they need to be hospitalized in the emergency room, you cannot go and visit them. One of the biggest shames of this country is the ordeal and struggle of LGBTI+s to take their loved ones and friends from the morgues. These will be my red lines as an LGBTI+,” she added.


She said that the visibility of LGBTI+ candidates is very crucial for the improvement of the community’s rights in the country. TİP has also other queer candidates from İzmir, Edirne, and Eskişehir provinces.


“The May 14 elections are a historic election for Turkey, an election in which we will determine what kind of a country we dream for our future. Therefore, I find it strange that parties which aspire to govern the country ignore LGBTI+ representation while the community is being publicly targeted with anti-LGBTI+ hate marches in the streets,” she said.


TIP is part of a broader pro-Kurdish Rights and left wing parties, led by the Green Left Party, formerly HDP.  According to recent polls, the alliance draws 13.5%  of the national vote. TIP, alas, is projected to win only a couple of seats because of Turkey’s top party – skewed electoral system, though pollsters note that voter attention to its agenda is rising.


This is not the first election in which trans candidates have run for office. In 2007, Demet Demir was the Freedom and Democracy Party’s (ÖDP) MP candidate as the first openly trans person to run for the Parliament.


(English version by Can Bodrumlu)


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.