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English Report
 Conference on Anti- Discrimination and Equality
on the Way to EU
12 – 13 March 2015 ⎢ Ankara, Turkey
Event Report
Conference on Anti- Discrimination and
Equality on the Way to EU
12 – 13 March 2015 ⎢ Ankara, Turkey
Event Report ⎢ 3
Event Report ⎢ 4
This material was published with the assistance of the European Union. The TACSO Project is fully responsible for
the content of this publication and the European Union cannot be held liable for opinions stated in the publication.
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Contents
Introduction
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Day 1: March 12, 2015
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Opening Remarks
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Panel 1: International Standards and EU Policies for Anti-Discrimination and Equality Framework
Gün Kut- European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
Isabelle Chopin, Network of Legal Experts for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination
Severine Jacomy Vite, UN Human Rights Thematic Group
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Panel 2: International Standards and EU Policies for Anti-Discrimination and Equality Framework
Istvan Haller, National Council for Combating Discrimination, Romania
Ljiljana Loncar, Deputy Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Serbia
Feray Salman, Human Rights Joint Platform, Turkey
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Panel 3: Challenges and Opportunities for CSOs working in Anti-Discrimination and Equality
Bjorn van Roozendaal, International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA Europe)
Sinan Gökçen, European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
Claire Fernandez, European Network against Racism (ENAR)
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Open Forum
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Day 2: March 13, 2015
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Session A: On Anti-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey Context
Panel 1: Policies and Mechanisms for Anti-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey: CSO perspective
Feray Salman, Human Rights Joint Platform (İHOP)
Sema Kendirci, Turkish Women’s Association, CEDAW Shadow Report Committee
Hayriye Kara, Kaos GL
Panel 2: Policies and Mechanisms for Non-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey: CSO perspective
Yücel Tutal, Roma Rights Forum of Turkey (ROMFO)
Didem Tekeli, Human Rights in Mental Health Initiative (RUSİHAK)
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Forum: Thinking of an Equal Future
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Session B: Regional Network Workshop against Homophobia and Transphobia
Session 1: Information by Regional Network Members about Recent Developments: Common Opportunities and Challenges
Session 2: State of Play in Network Member Countries on Combatting Anti-Discrimination and Equality
Session 3: Developing a Position Paper for the Network and Future Planning
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Conference Conclusions
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Annexes
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Annex 1: Agenda
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Annex 2: List of participants
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Introduction
The Conference “Anti-Discrimination and Equality on the Way to EU” was organized by TACSO-Turkey in
cooperation with Kaos GL Association and Human Rights Joint Platform.
This conference is organized within the framework of the People to People (P2P) component of the TACSO project,
which aims to support civil society in the EU enlargement region. P2P is one of the three strands of the Civil Society
Facility and provides an opportunity for CSOs in the countries of Western Balkans and Turkey to expand their
knowledge about the activities of EU counterparts, through meetings with European CSOs and the opportunity to
network internationally and regionally.
Equality and combat against discrimination constitute one of the most important elements in EU accession in the
context of political criteria. The Conference was expected to provide opportunities of information and experience
sharing by EU institutions and CSOs related to EU standards and mechanisms in equality and combatting
discrimination. The primary objective of the Conference was to enhance the awareness of CSOs in equality and
combat against discrimination and to strengthen the advocacy role and practice of CSOs in accession countries.
Representatives from 94 national and foreign civil society organizations as well as a representative of the relevant
government agency participated to the Conference held in Ankara from 12 to 13 March 2015.
Day 1: March 12, 2015
Opening Remarks
On behalf of the EU Delegation to
Turkey, Counsellor Michael A. Rupp,
Head of the Section Financial Cooperation, Institution Building and
Civil Society delivered the opening
speech. Stressing the importance of
fundamental values, Rupp pointed
out that these fundamental values
would ensure equality for all in
combatting discrimination, transphobia and homophobia. The EU
enlargement process was another
issue addressed by Rupp in his
speech. Emphasizing the role of civil
society in this process, Rupp drew
attention to the need to ensure civil
society participation and its empowerment.
Rupp also made remarks about country progress reports prepared in the context of EU enlargement. Rupp said
there is need to promote best practices observed in such areas as the media, defending the rights of minorities,
sexual orientation, women’s rights, domestic violence and justice and underlined the importance of cooperation in
these areas. Other points that Rupp drew attention included the need to give effect to legislative changes in
accession countries in the field of sexual identity and orientation and the role of the media and ombudsman in
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combatting discrimination. Rupp concluded his speech by pointing out to the importance of sharing experience by
experts from different areas, an opportunity provided by the People to People (P2P) programme, as the basis of
future partnerships and wished a successful conference.
Panel 1: International Standards and EU Policies for Anti-Discrimination
and Equality Framework
The objective of the first panel in the conference was to take a closer look at standards and policies developed at
international and regional levels by anti-discrimination and equality mechanisms and share experiences related to
the working of these mechanisms. Speakers in the panel discussion, moderated by Burcu Yeşiladalı from the Human
Rights Centre of Bilgi University were Gün Kut from ECRI, Isabelle Chopin from the European Network of Legal
Experts for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination and Severine Jacomy Vite from the UN Human Rights Thematic
Group.
Gün Kut, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)
As the first speaker in the panel, Gün Kut gave information about the role, standards and instruments of the
“European Council, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance” as a mechanism to prevent
discrimination.
Mr. Kut firstly stated that the ECRI Commission had established a mechanism on the basis of the European
Convention on Human Rights and its protocols in order to combat racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia and to
develop policies that are implementable.
Mr. Kut underlined that thematic country reports prepared by the ECRI Commission in the context of combatting
discrimination, bringing to the fore the compliance of countries with international norms and instruments and
drawing attention to gaps are quite effective. According to Kut the following are especially important in terms of
quality and reliability of these reports: Selection of Commission members from among independent experts, not
from among government representatives; exclusion of government representatives from the process of preparing
country reports; and rather long consultations and observations before finalizing reports. Country reports are of
course open to feedback from respective countries and they are made public only upon the completion of feedback
process.
While concluding, Kut mentioned some fundamental problems also referred to in commission reports. These
problems include the long duration of time that has to pass for each country to have her turn given the high
number of European Council member countries and shortness of a period of 1 week for visits when it comes to
larger countries.
Responding to questions raised by participants, Kut said the report on Turkey will be issued the next year. Kut
added that the report is of limited content given the geographical size of Turkey and divergent nature of her
problems, but it has still references to all major problems.
Isabelle Chopin, Network of Legal Experts for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination
The second speaker, Isabelle Chopin shared the experience of the European Network of Legal Experts for Gender
Equality and Non-Discrimination. In her presentation Chopin conveyed the outcomes of screening legislation in
European countries for monitoring the two fundamental directives of the EU related to discrimination, the “Racial
Equality Directive” and the “Directive on Equality in Working Life” that led to the creation of the network. Chopin
said efforts were made, under this work, to explore legislative arrangements that are either more comprehensive or
limited in comparison to the EU directives also mentioning obstacles to the adaptation of directives and gaps in
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legislation. Chopin also gave examples to obstacles and gaps including absence of sanctions, missing of equality
units, inadequate information about rights and shortness of data and supporting mechanisms.
Severine Jacomy Vite, UN Human Rights Thematic Group
Severine Jacomy Vite representing the UN Human Rights Thematic Group was the last speaker in the panel. Vite
mentioned documents that the UNICEF takes as basis in combatting discrimination and its activities in various areas.
Vite made reference to anti-discrimination conventions in the context of the UN, which are the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with
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Disabilities (CRPD).
Vite said their work covers many fields of discrimination including access to education; ethnic, religious and cultural
groups; persons with disabilities; HIV positive persons, LGBTI individuals, etc. pointing out to multiplediscrimination, Vite remarked that it is necessary to follow different grounds of discrimination at varying scales. As a
present day example, Vite pointed out to xenophobia as a ground of discrimination against refugees and asylum
seekers.
Vite said the UN has a database containing cross-cutting issues as well; however, Vite continued, information
collection is still one of the basic problems faced in combating discrimination and civil society organizations have
their critical role to play in eliminating this problem.
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https://treaties.un.org/pages/Treaties.aspx?id=4
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Panel 2: International Standards and EU Policies for Anti-Discrimination
and Equality Framework
The objective of the second panel in the conference was to take a closer look at the experience of Romania as an EU
member as IPA countries Serbia and Turkey in the field of combating discrimination and to share experience.
Speakers in the panel discussion, moderated by Neslihan Özgüneş, coordinator of TACSO’s People to People (P2P)
Programme were Istvan Haller from the Romanian National Council for Combating Discrimination, Ljiljana Loncar as
Deputy Commission for the Protection of Equality in Serbia and Feray Salman from the Human Rights Joint Platform
in Turkey.
Istvan Haller, National Council for Combating Discrimination, Romania
The first speaker, Istvan Haller took the rostrum to tell about the experience of Romania’s National Council for
Combating Discrimination. Haller started his speech by remarking that discrimination is a prevalent problem in
Romania. Haller then gave information about legislative arrangements to combat discrimination in Romania and
the experience of National Council as a body against discrimination with its functions and present problems.
Haller mentioned the following regarding the qualifications that anti-discrimination units should have:
Independence, a qualified composition, having a sufficient budget, a hierarchical structure with specific
characteristics, clarity about the relations between unit members and official authorities, existence of a supporting
mechanism and capacity to conduct studies and monitoring activities.
Haller said, in the case of Romania, the National Council and courts are subject to different pieces of legislation and
operate with different mechanisms, which create a rather complicated state of affairs. Nevertheless, there is a
domain of exchange of ideas between individual courts and the National Council. Haller added that this structure
has its functionality in solving problems.
Ljiljana Loncar, Deputy Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Serbia
The second speaker was Ljiljana Loncar to relate the experience of Serbia’s Commissioner for the Protection of
Equality. Before talking about the experience of the Commission for the Protection of Equality, Loncar started by
pointing out to the need for combat against discrimination to cover private spheres as well in the context of its
relations with other pieces of legislation. Loncar underlined the need for autonomy and independence as
fundamental requirements for a functioning model. According to Loncar, as having its preventive role in
combatting discrimination, the ombudsman’s office should be simple and not overwhelmed by detailed procedures
to work properly as a mechanism dealing with complaints. Loncar added that the mechanism in Serbia is such that
complaints containing relevant information about specific cases can be transmitted by any means including fax or
e-mail.
Loncar added that the Commissioner is also functional in making suggestions, warning, informing the public and
mainstreaming combat against discrimination.
Feray Salman, Human Rights Joint Platform, Turkey
The last speaker of the session, Feray Salman took the rostrum to give information about the legislation in Turkey,
an IPA country, related to combatting discrimination. In her speech Salman touched upon discrimination related
legislative arrangements in Turkey, the experience of draft bill on anti-discrimination, discrimination-related
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decisions concerning Turkey and mechanisms existing in Turkey to fight
discrimination.
Salman first stated that since 2008 they have been working on the law on discrimination with the participation of
civil society organizations and, in fact, the first draft by the government was prepared with the participation of civil
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society and shared with the public. In this period, targets in democratization provided space to these efforts and
they raised their demand for the establishment of a unit in charge of discrimination.
Salman said the draft bill on discrimination has reappeared as an agenda item recently and touched upon such new
mechanisms as the Ombudsman, National Human Rights Institution and the right to individual appeal to
Constitutional Court. Salman pointed out to some negative facts in the field including Government’s denial of the
right of individual appeal to international mechanisms, maintenance of reservations placed to international
conventions and unsatisfactory report card of the country vis á vis the ECHR.
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Panel 3: Challenges and Opportunities for CSOs working in AntiDiscrimination and Equality
The objective of the third panel participated by Bjorn van Roozendaal, Sinan Gökçen and Claire Fernandez and
moderated by Burcu Yeşiladalı was to focus on the experience of regional and international civil society
organizations engaged in activities against discrimination.
Bjorn van Roozendaal, International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA Europe)
The first speaker in the panel was Bjorn van Roozendaal to give information about the experience of ILGA Europe.
ILGA is an international network created to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex individuals
and combat forms of discrimination that there individuals face. The speaker gave information about the experience
of ILGA in advocacy and defence of human rights, its working areas and difficulties it faces.
According to Roozendaal, facilitating relations with official institutions, documenting crimes of hate and
implementing the directives of the European Commission against discrimination in working life are the domain in
which the organization is active. The speaker underlined the fact that discrimination against LGBTI individuals is so
common and observable in almost every field.
While stressing the importance of collective efforts and struggle, Roozendaal said they could not take part in
reporting processes, which play a critical role in combat in this field, due to some concerns of people involved.
Roozendaal also underlined the types of discrimination that are produced by very persons working in the field of
discrimination.
Sinan Gökçen, European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
The second speaker in the panel was Sinan Gökçen to give information about the activities of the Budapest-based
European Roma Rights Centre established to combat discrimination against the Roma. In his speech Sinan Gökçen
gave information about the activities of the centre and form of discrimination that the Roma face.
Gökçen said they deliver trainings to various professional groups like judges and journalists under such titles as
“Human rights for all” and “Rights of the Roma.” The centre is also engaged in launching strategic legal proceedings
as shown in examples given by Gökçen in his speech.
According to information given by Gökçen so far they launched over 500 court cases with 2 cases against Turkey in
the ECHR of which the case on Sulukule was won. Another activity of the Centre is shadow reporting. The strategic
court initiatives of the Centre cover such areas as indemnification, impunity, discrimination in education, forced
castration and denial of identity.
Claire Fernandez, European Network against Racism (ENAR)
The last speaker in the panel was Claire Fernandez to share the experience of the European Network against Racism.
Fernandez gave information about their lobbying and advocacy activities, adding that threats to combat against
discrimination exist even within the European Parliament since there are parties involved in religious discrimination
and xenophobia. Mentioning that differences are not fully reflected in the parliament Fernandez said there were
problems in mainstreaming human rights and serious gaps existed in legislation against discrimination.
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Open Forum
The open forum was the last session of the 1st day. In this session, participants expressed what they collected as
important points during discussions of the day and raised some issues. Some examples are given below:
“In some cases the problem itself is the expression of discrimination. Roma children in Turkey drop out their schools; the
reason is not their families, it is the state, discrimination they face and their poor economic circumstances. Teachers
regard school in Roma neighbourhoods as places of ‘exile’ and do not attend their classes.”
“Education is one of the areas where struggle in particularly intense. There are 135 Dom university graduates and not
even one could find a job in either public or private sector. No job. They face discrimination. You can’t expect a child
attending his/her school without having shoes to wear.”
“While working in our specific areas it appears that cooperation with other areas will open up our minds. Especially in
Turkey, we need more information to set up these networks and cooperate. We have trouble in attaining necessary
technical capacity and financial capacity needed for it. But above all sharing of experiences is critical and gatherings of
this kind are important.”
Upon comments by participants, panellist Istvan Haller drew attention to the importance of cooperation by CSOs
active in different areas: “In the 90s when we established our network there was no LGBTI or women’s organizations. We
need a network including these organizations as well in order to have the legal ground changed. This is my suggestion.”
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“Presentations tell us about the existence of serious discrimination deeply embedded in minds. I have an overall observation: In our minds there is no human rights concept and culture in Turkey. I know this from our training activities. The problem can be solved only by starting education and training in human rights from childhood. It will be good if we could state this in our declaration or report. Today, there is 1 hour of human rights course in high schools and it is elective. It is far behind other elective courses offered.” Event Report ⎢ 16
Day 2: March 13, 2015
Session A: On Anti-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey Context
On the second day of the Conference the focus was on the activities and experiences of Turkish civil society
organizations in the field of equality and combatting discrimination. Subject specialists and activities long involved
in struggle for rights shared their experiences in human rights, gender equality, LGBTI rights, rights of the Roma and
mental health.
Panel 1: Policies and Mechanisms for Anti-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey: CSO
perspective
Hakan Ataman was the moderator of the first session for sharing experiences of civil society organizations and
speakers were Feray Salman from the Human Rights Joint Platform, Sema Kendirci from the Turkish Women’s
Association and CEDAW Shadow Report Committee and Hayriye Kara from Kaos GL.
Feray Salman, Human Rights Joint Platform (İHOP)
The first speaker in the panel was İHOP coordinator Feray Salman. Stressing the interwoven nature of the struggle
for human rights and combat against discrimination, Salman remarked that failure in developing appropriate
mechanisms in eliminating discrimination turns out as causing new human rights violations instead. She said
absence of any combat against discrimination yields the result of pushing groups of people out of the system and
their further separation from rights and freedoms.
In combatting discrimination, relevant universal criteria were taken as basis and organized struggle in Turkey in this
area started with the establishment of Human Rights Association in 1986. Salman said mapping of discrimination,
violence and torture is among activities that İHOP has been engaged together with various stakeholders. Salman
also drew attention to the importance joint work with municipalities and local organizations.
Salman also informed participants about the process in which anti-discrimination draft was developed together
with civil society organizations. As stated by Salman, stages in the process were as follows: Going over ECHR
decisions, analysis of existing legislation related to discrimination, developing the first draft, sharing the draft with
CSOs, taking feedback, revisions and meeting with Beşir Atalay, then the Minister of Interior.
Pointing out that international human rights standards are the fundamental standards for Turkey, Salman went on
saying that Paris principles should be the main reference and guide on how independent bodies should be set up
and that public administration is primarily responsible for translating these principles into life.
Sema Kendirci, Turkish Women’s Association, CEDAW Shadow Report Committee
The second speaker in the panel was Sema Kendirci from the Turkish Women’s Association who shared the
experience of the Shadow Report Committee under the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Sema Kendirci shared the experience in the process of preparing CEDAW shadow reports, now seventh of which is
in progress, and the position of the government side in this process. Kendirci started her speech by saying that
combat against discrimination is critical so long as equality is set as the ultimate target. Under article 90 in
particular, international conventions are important in ensuring equality while the presence of various reservations
to these conventions reflects the problematic approach adopted by States.
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Points coming to the fore in Kendirci’s speech are as follows: “The first official CEDAW report was published in 1986.
Then, as the struggle of women against violence gained momentum women’s organizations started to prepare thematic
shadow reports. Starting from the 4th and 5th official reports, documents became more comprehensive fully including the
resolutions of the Beijing Conference. The CEDAW envisages legislative changes geared to eliminating discrimination
against women. As to shadow reporting, it reveals, upon the collective work of women’s organizations, the extent to
which the State fulfils its responsibilities in this regard while also containing suggestions for solution.” Another point
raised by Kendirci was differences between the reports of the State and shadow reporting by CSOs. According to
Kendirci, while shadow reports include both negative and positive aspects related to the issue, official reports tend
to exaggerate small things as great success and avoid being realistic when it comes to some problematic issues.
In her speech Kendirci also touched upon another important instrument that Turkey is a State Party to: İstanbul
Convention. She gave information about the process of drafting of and acceding to the convention and problems
that emerged in the establishment of the committee of independent experts envisaged by the convention. Kendirci
said women’s organizations came across with some difficulties in their relations with the Government.
While completing her speech, Kendirci spared some time for the activities of women’s organizations in relation to
legislative changes and change in perceptions stressing that the definition of “disadvantaged group” used in
legislative arrangements is insufficient and behind relevant international norms.
Hayriye Kara, Kaos GL
The last speaker in the panel was Hayriye Kara to give information about the experience of the Kaos-GL in defending
LGBTI rights. Kara started her speech by stating that ignoring discrimination is a form of reproducing it while also
pointing out to the transformative power of combat against discrimination.
Kara touched upon “stratified discrimination” as a new concept and its consequences. According to Kara, while
discussing discrimination and its consequences cross-cutting points of different types of discrimination are missed
together with areas where there is stratified discrimination.
Kara assessed legislative arrangements related to discrimination over sexual orientation and identity mentioning
that Constitutional Article 10 provides for equality before law without introducing any provision to prevent
discrimination between individuals. According to Kara, annex phrases to the legislation mentioned reading “The
State takes all relevant measures to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex and these measures cannot be taken
as discriminatory” continues by referring in specific to “war veterans, the invalid, needy groups”, which actually
exposes the fundamental approach of the State to women’s rights.
Kara stressed the problematic content of Article 122 in the Turkish Penal Code prohibiting discrimination. Kara said
the article prohibiting discrimination in access to goods and services contains vague expressions like “… and similar
situations” while the insertion of the term “prejudice” under the new arrangement made it almost impossible to
define any discriminatory act.
Another point touched upon by Kara was a novelty included in the recent discrimination draft. This new element
was about the burden of proof as an empowering provision, which Kara pointed out to the importance of reversing
it.
Kara finished by saying discrimination is a widely observed problem against which legislative change would not be
sufficient, thus making institutionalization and civil society contribution critical.
Event Report ⎢ 18
Panel 2: Policies and Mechanisms for Non-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey: CSO
perspective
Sharing of civil society experience in equality and combating discrimination continued with experiences of
organizations working for Roma rights and psychological health.
Yücel Tutal, Roma Rights Forum of Turkey (ROMFO)
The first speaker was Yücel Tutal to share the outcomes of the field survey they conducted on behalf of the Roma
Rights Forum.
Tutal focused on the outcomes of two studies they conducted. The first one was related to the investigation of
events breaking out in Selendi and follow up of related court cases. The second one was a mapping work carried
out by exploring legal difficulties faced in areas inhabited by Roma citizens.
Tutal first touched upon the historical background of discriminatory acts against the Roma and then gave details
about how court proceedings are handled in event like that occurred in Selendi.
Besides social events like the one in Selendi, the organization is also engaged in court action against discriminatory
representation of the Roma in printed and visual media. Reminding that the media usually gives images of the
Roma as persons involved in thievery and other offences, vagabonds without any faith etc., Tutal said they initiate
legal action in the face of such cases.
Tutal continued by giving examples to various types of discrimination that Roma students face in their education
including segregation in different classes and lower standard service delivery. Tutal added that the Roma initiative
by the government had its positive and negative repercussions; although there is an action plan, there are still
problems related to the lack of precise data and budget shortfall.
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Didem Tekeli, Human Rights in Mental Health Initiative (RUSİHAK)
The last speaker of the Conference was Didem Tekeli the RUSİHAK. Tekeli informed the participants about their
work related to discrimination faced by persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities under their project
supported by EU in scope of FPAs titled “ PERSON-Reform Project for Guaranteeing Support Programmes."
Tekeli first pointed out to the difference between medical approach and social inclusion approach from a rightsbased perspective, pointing out to the need that all individuals in a society must be able to share equally all
available opportunities and resources.
Tekeli noted that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which Turkey is a State Party and
its annex optional protocol are insufficient for effective realization of rights also5 pointing out that there are also
serious problems of translation relating to some statements existing in the original texts of these instruments.
According to Tekeli there may be need for support in the exercise of rights in order to ensure equality and this
support must be extended by the State. Referring to the dilemma “legal capacity v. capacity to exercise rights”,
Tekeli said the exercise of rights is constricted when legal capacity is constricted by the condition of rational
behaviour, and thus the right to make mistake is denied. Tekeli added that this state results in placing many
individuals under patronage and leads to denial of the right to have a word on matters affecting these individuals.
Tekeli continued: “While the convention says nobody should be under the tutelage of another and each person
should have the final word on his/her life, according to existing legislation persons with some diagnosed problems
are even denied the right to vote.” Tekeli finally gave information about the campaign “I Will Act” they are going to
launch for persons with mental and psychosocial disabilities to help them become the subject of their life and asked
for the support of participants.
Event Report ⎢ 20
Forum: Thinking of an Equal Future
The forum continued with participants’ comments and questions, responses given to these questions and
exchanging opinions concerning combat against discrimination.
In general, participants stated in this part that different forms of discrimination addressed throughout the
conference constituted a new experience for them. Still they stressed the need for civil society participation, its
inclusion in policy making processes and taking EU values and principles as basis in combatting discrimination and
ensuring equality.
Session B: Regional Network Workshop against Homophobia and
Transphobia
Regional Network Workshop against Homophobia and Transphobia was realized with the participation of LGBTI
activists from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Macedonia, Serbia,
Tunisia and Turkey. In sessions also participated by persons from the Balkans, Middle East, North Africa and
Southern Caucasus, the workshop group shared difficulties faced in respective regions and discussions went on
ways of eliminating these difficulties.
Topics discussed during sessions included the following: Related international standards; European Union policies
related to anti-discrimination and equality; and achievements, monitoring activities, threats faced and existing
opportunities in the field of combating discrimination on the part of civil society organizations in IPA and EU
countries.
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Session 1: Information by Regional Network Members about Recent Developments:
Common Opportunities and Challenges
The theme of the 1st session was "Common Opportunities and Challenges" with moderator Yosef Mckyton from the
“Israeli Queers for Palestine”.
During the session, the absence of any legislative arrangement related to crimes of hate and banning of
discrimination is listed among the leading problems. Participants pointed out to differences on regional base: While
homosexuality is directly or indirectly prohibited in some regions, equality in marriage is debated in some others. It
is stated that despite these differences it is important to build a common ground for combatting homophobia and
transphobia and to share relevant experiences.
One good example shared in the session by Xheni Karaj from Albania was the experience of the LGBTI shelter
launched in Tirana last year. Karaj said these shelters are of critical importance given the prevalence of homophobia,
transphobia and crimes of hate adding that they are trying to create spaces where all LGBTI individual feel free and
safe.
Session 2: State of Play in Network Member Countries on Combatting Anti-Discrimination
and Equality
In the second session, major threats to the freedom of expression and association of LGBTI individuals were
discussed. The session was led by Yıldız Tar with presentations by Ömer Akpınar from Kaos-GL Turkey, Jo Hammoud
from Lebanon and Mamikon Hovsepyan from Armenia.
Delivering the opening speech of the session, Yıldız Tar gave examples of social opposition experiences in Tunisia,
Turkey, Egypt and Greece and pointed out that discrimination and hate crimes constitute a systemic problem.
The first speaker, Ömer Akpınar talked about recent social movements in Turkey, ways that the Government resorts
to suppress these movements and the threat to the freedom of expression posed by the new security act. Akpınar
also gave information about campaigns carried out by the LGBTI during the past local elections and plans for
general elections to be held soon.
Jo Hammoud presented segments from the experience of Egypt, saying thinking in opposition might lead to loss of
life. Expressing that there can be no mention of freedom of expression in Arabian Peninsula, Jo Hammoud stated
that the case so far being different in Lebanon is now tried to be reversed by the Government.
While giving information about the case in Armenia, Mamikon Hovsepyan remarked that homophobic and
transphobic legislation processes in Russia have their impact on Southern Caucasus region as well. Hovsepyan
noted that while Georgia has its imprint in the region with her occasional positive legislation under the influence of
the EU, religion is still the major influential factor in the region. Hovsepyan also pointed out to the Church as the
leader of anti-LGBTI campaigns in Armenia. Hovsepyan finally reminded that 10% of the people of Armenia left the
country because of various pressures including those coming from the Church.
Session 3: Developing a Position Paper for the Network and Future Planning
In the last session moderated by Ezgi Koçak the future of the regional network was discussed. One of the
outstanding issues discussed in relation to future were the difficulties that the network confronted. This heading
was discussed around the axis to what extent it is possible to stay together and what new organization forms could
be.
Discussions underlined the need for more effective and productive forms of gathering of regional network with
participants from different regions and focused on the question to what extent the network could be kept alive
since the last meeting.
Event Report ⎢ 22
Another issue discussed during the session was on the possibility of transferring the line to an online platform.
Participants considered the possibility of keeping the network going on an online platform and in the form of
thematic gatherings. The 6th regional meeting concluded with participants writing “Freedom for all!” on papers in
their own language.
Conference Conclusions
The conference provided a platform for over 90 representatives from civil society and government having their
different backgrounds, endowment and experience to share these experiences. There was a unique opportunity to
share the features of local level activities and initiatives besides activities carried out at international sand regional
levels.
While it became clear that discrimination is experienced by different groups and at different levels and as such it set
a barrier to accessing rights, the importance of joint struggle and awareness in regard to different forms of
discrimination is confirmed.
The Conference was empowering for its participants in terms of awareness in forms of discrimination existing in
areas other than their respective domains and getting to know about relevant international mechanisms.
European organisations working in the field also recognised the need to pay special attention and perhaps adapt
strategies for different needs in the IPA region.
23 ⎢ Event Report
Annexes
Event Report ⎢ 24
Annex 1: Agenda
Day 1: 12 March 2015
09:00 - 09:30
Registration and coffee
09:30 - 09:45
Opening Remarks: Michael A. Rupp, Delegation of the European Union to Turkey
International Standards and EU Policies for Anti-Discrimination and Equality Framework
09:45 - 10:30
Gün Kut, Council of Europe, European Commission against Racism and Intolerance – ECRI
Isabelle Chopin, The European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field
Severine Jacomy Vite, UNICEF, UN Human Rights Thematic Group
10:30 - 11:00
Q&A
11:00 - 11:30
Coffee break
Policies and Mechanisms related to Anti-Discrimination and Equality in EU Countries and IPA Countries
11:30 - 12:30
Istvan Haller, National Council for Combating Discrimination, Romania
Ljiljana Loncar, Deputy Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Serbia
Feray Salman, Human Rights Joint Platform, Turkey
12:30 - 13:00
Q&A
13:00 - 14:30
Lunch
EU CSOs Experience on development and monitoring of Anti-Discrimination and Equality Policies and
Mechanisms
14:30 - 15:30
Björn van Roozendaal, International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association,
ILGA Europe
Sinan Gökçen, European Roma Rights Centre - ERRC
Claire Fernandez, European Network Against Racism - ENAR
15:30 - 16:00
Q&A
16:00 - 16:30
Coffee break
25 ⎢ Event Report
Day 1: 12 March 2015 – contd.
Challenges and Opportunities for CSOs working in Anti-Discrimination and Equality
16:30 - 17:30
Open forum
17:30 – 17:45
Closing session
19:30
Dinner at Akdeniz Akdeniz Restaurant
Day 2: 13 March 2015
Session A: Anti-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey Context
Session in Turkish, translation in English provided
09:00 - 09:30
Registration
09:30 – 10:15
Policies and Mechanisms for Non-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey: CSO
perspective
Feray Salman, Human Rights Joint Platform
Sema Kendirci, CEDAW Shadow Reporting Committee
Hayriye Kara, KAOS GL
10:15 – 10:45
Q&A
10:45 - 11:15
Coffee Break
11:15 - 12:10
Policies and Mechanisms for Non-Discrimination and Equality in Turkey: CSO
perspective
Yücel Tutal, ROMFO
Didem Tekeli, RUSIHAK
12:10 - 12:30
Q&A
12:30 - 14:00
Lunch
14:00 - 15:30
Workshop: Designing an Equal Future
15:30 - 16:00
Sharing workshop results
16:00 - 16:15
Closing
Event Report ⎢ 26
Day 2: 13 March 2015 – contd.
Session B: Regional Network Against Homophobia and Transphobia Workshop
(Members only session, Gordion Hotel)
09:30 - 10:00
Registration
10:00 - 12:30
Updates from Regional Network Members: Common Opportunities and Challenges
12:30 - 14:00
Lunch and Networking
14:00 - 15:30
State of Play in Network Member Countries on Combatting Anti-Discrimination and
Equality
15:30 - 18:00
Development of Position Paper for the Network and Future Planning
27 ⎢ Event Report
Annex 2: List of participants
#
Name and Surname
Organisation
Website
1
Yelda Ahmetoğlu
ÖZEV Foundation
www.ozevvakfi.org
2
İdil Seda Ak
Association of Women
Disabilities (ENKAD)
3
Mehmet Akın
Social Policies, Sexual Orientation
and Gender Identity Studies
Association (SPOD)
www.spod.org.tr
4
Neşe Akkerman
British Embassy Ankara
www.gov.uk/government/world/organisa
tions/british-embassy-ankara.tr
5
Ayşegül Akyüz
Women and Men Together, Socail
Equality Association
www.kebsed.com
6
Binnur Aloğlu
Association for Monitoring Equal
Rights
www.esithaklar.org
7
Olcay Ziya Altun
UNHCR
www.unhcr.org.tr
8
Melahat Arıker
Başak Culture and Art Association
www.basaksanatvakfi.org.tr
9
Melahat Arısoy
Başak Culture and Art Association
www.basaksanatvakfi.org.tr
10
Cemre Artan
Ministry of EU Affairs
http://www.ab.gov.tr/
11
Hicran Atatanır
Women Managers and Women
Workers Association
http://kaycad.org.tr
12
Bülent Avcılar
ÖZEV Foundation
www.ozevvakfi.org
13
Demet Özkan Baltat
Ministry of EU Affairs
http://www.ab.gov.tr/
14
Begüm Başdaş
Amnesty International Turkey
www.amnesty.org.tr
15
Janset Bay
Association for Solidarity
Freedom Deprived Juvenile
16
Aydin Bingöl
The National Human
Institution of Turkey (TİHK)
17
Marcin Brauhoff
Delegation of EU to Turkey
http://avrupa.info.tr
18
Dicle Çakmak
Human Rights Joint Platform (İHOP)
www.ihop.org.tr
19
Özge Çaman
Public Health Experts Association
www.hasuder.org
20
Selena d’Herin
Human Rights Agenda Association
(İHGD)
www.rightsagenda.org
21
Sava Diamendi
Romanian Embassy
www.roembtr.org
22
Gözde Dilektaşlı
Ministry of EU Affairs
www.ab.gov.tr
23
Julie N. Eikaas
Norwegian Embassy
www.norway.org.tr/Embassy
24
Gülcihan Ekinci
Turkish
Disability
Mersin Branch
with
with
Rights
Association,
www.engellikadin.com/enkad
www.ozgeder.org.tr
www.tihk.gov.tr
www.facebook.com/tsd.mersinsubesi
Event Report ⎢ 28
#
Name and Surname
Organisation
25
Erkan Ekinci (Accompanying)
Turkish
Disability
Mersin Branch
26
Nebilay Erdoğan
Ministry of EU Affairs
www.ab.gov.tr
27
Aysel Ergün
İHuman Rights Joint Platform(IHOP)
www.ihop.org.tr
28
Ali Erol
Kaos – GL
www.kaosgl.org
29
Sinem Ersoy
Association for Children
Cerebral Palsy (SERÇEV)
30
Amarildo Fecanji
Pink Embassy
31
Hacer Foggo
European
(ERRC)
32
Roberto Frifrini
Human Rights Agenda Association
(İHGD)
33
Biljana Ginova
LGBTI Support Centre (Macedonia)
34
Ayşe Görür
Association for Improving Social
and Cultural Life
35
Metin Özgür Gücü
Mersin Association for People with
Physical Disabilities
36
Umut Güner
Kaos-GL
www.kaosgl.org
37
Erdem Gürsu
Pink Black Triangle Associaton
www.siyahpembe.org
38
Selahattin Güvenç
Mersin Platform for Combating
Discrimination
www.akdenizgocder.org
39
Joanna Haydun
British Embassy Ankara
www.british-consulate.org
40
Ali Can Kalan
Pink Life
www.pembehayat.org
41
Hatice Kapusuz
Civil Society Development Centre
(STGM)
www.stgm.org.tr
42
Reşat Uğur Karacan
Ministry of EU Affairs
www.ab.gov.tr
43
Barış Karacasu
KAGED
www.kaged.org.tr
44
Xheni Karaj
Alliance against Discrimination of
LGBT (Albania)
www.aleancalgbt.org
45
Veysel Kavak
European Youth Society Association
https://tr-tr.facebook.com/eysayouth
46
Merve Keyvanoğlu
Association for Children
Cerebral Palsy (SERÇEV)
www.sercev.org.tr
47
Yunus Akın Kılışçı
Ministry
Policies
48
Ezgi Koçak
Kaos GL
www.kaosgldernegi.org/anasayfa.php
49
Derya Köksal
UNHCR
www.unhcr.org.tr
50
Esin Koman
Agenda Child Association
www.gundemcocuk.org
29 ⎢ Event Report
Website
with
www.facebook.com/tsd.mersinsubesi
www.sercev.org.tr
www.pinkembassy.al
Roma
of
Association,
Rights
Family
and
Centre
with
Social
www.errc.org
www.rightsagenda.org
www.sosyalkulturelyasam.org/iletisim.asp
www.aile.gov.tr
#
Name and Surname
Organisation
Website
51
Funda Küçükcan
UNFPA
www.kadindostukentler.org
52
Özgür Mehmet Kütküt
Civil Society Development Centre
(STGM)
www.stgm.org.tr
53
Hüseyin Fırat Mavigök
Human Rights Association, Mersin
Branch
http://ihd.org.tr/index.php/etimainmenu-3/12-eti/23-d-mersinbesi.html
54
Stevan Milivojevic
LGBT Forum Progress
www.lgbtprogres.me
55
Zübeyde Ozanözü
Anatolia Education, Culture and Art
Association
56
Bişeng Özdinç
Human Rights Joint Platform (İHOP)
57
Olga Özer
İştar Women’s Centre
58
Fazilet Özköse
The National Human
Institution of Turkey (TİHK)
59
Annika Palko
Swedish Embassy
www.swedenabroad.com/ankara
60
Lise Pate
EU Delegation to Turkey
http://avrupa.info.tr
61
Adam Puskar
Queeria Centre
www.queeriacentar.org
62
Sanna Raıta-Aho
Finnish Embassy
www.finland.org.tr/Embassy
63
Ayşe Sargın
Nature Association
www.dogadernegi.org
64
Ezgi Şeref
Social Policies, Sexual Orientation
and Gender Identity Studies
Association (SPOD)
www.spod.org.tr
65
Deniz Servantie
Economic Development Foundation
(İKV)
www.ikv.org.tr
66
Çiçek Tahaoğlu
Bianet
http://bianet.org
67
Ege Tekinbaş
UNFPA
www.kadindostukentler.org
68
Nurcihan Temur
Women’s Coalition
www.kadinkoalisyonu.org/yeni/
69
Dragana Todorovic
Lesbian Human Rights Organization
http://labris.org.rs/en/
70
Nazım Tural
Friedrich Naumann Foundation
www.fnst-turkey.org
71
Gülnur Türen
Manisa Autism Youth and Sports
Club Association
www.facebook.com/groups/2641265304
64840/
72
Gülsen Ülker
Association for Monitoring Gender
Equality
www.ceid.info.tr
73
Yunus Emre Ünal
Ombudsmanship
www.ombudsman.gov.tr
74
Vladana Vasic
Sarajevo Open Centre
http://soc.ba/en/
75
Fbp Wolff
Dutch Embassy
turkey-tr.nlembassy.org
Rights
www.ihop.org
www.tihk.gov.tr
Event Report ⎢ 30
#
Name and Surname
Organisation
Website
76
Ezgi Yaman
Network against Commercial Sexual
Exploitation of Children
http://ctcs-mucadele.net/
77
Seyhmus Yavuz
Batman Social Studies and Local
Development Association
78
Z. Gökçe Zengin
The National Human
Institution of Turkey (TİHK)
Rights
www.tihk.gov.tr
Speakers and Moderators
#
Name and Surname
Organisation
Website
1
Hakan Ataman
Helsinki Citizens Association
www.hyd.org.tr
2
Isabelle Chopin
European Network of Legal Experts
in Non-Discrimination
www.non-discrimination.net
3
Claire Fernandez
European Network against Racism
(ENAR)
www.enar-eu.org
4
Sinan Gökçen
European
(ERRC)
www.errc.org
5
Istvan Haller
National Council to
Discrimination, Romania
6
Severine Jacomy Vite
UN Human Rights Thematic Group
www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspx
7
Hayriye Kara
Kaos GL
www.kaosgldernegi.org/anasayfa.php
8
Sema Kendirci
Turkish Women’s Association
www.turkkadinlarbirligi.org
9
Gün Kut
European
Commission
Racism and Intolerance
10
Ljiljana Loncar
Commissioner for the Protection of
Equality, Serbia
www.ravnopravnost.gov.rs
11
Feray Salman
Human Rights Joint Platform (IHOP)
www.ihop.org.tr
12
Gerarrd Salza
EU Delegation to Turkey
http://avrupa.info.tr
13
Didem Tekeli
Human Rights in Mental Health
Initiative (RUSİHAK)
www.rusihak.org
14
Yücel Tutal
Roma Rights Forum
(ROMFO)
15
Bjorn van Roozendaal
ILGA Europe
www.ilga-europe.org
16
Burcu Yeşiladalı
Bilgi University Human Rights Law
Research Centre
http://insanhaklarimerkezi.bilgi.edu.tr/
31 ⎢ Event Report
Roma
Rights
Centre
Combat
against
www.cncd.org.ro
www.coe.intA/dghl/monitoring/ecri/defa
ult_en.asp
of Turkey
TACSO Representatives
#
Name and Surname
Organisation
e-mail
1
Ayça Bulut Bican
TACSO Turkey
[email protected]
2
Akça Şaylan
TACSO Turkey
[email protected]
3
Neslihan Özgüneş
TACSO Regional Office
[email protected]
Event Report ⎢ 32