Homosexual Honour Killing (Turkey)

The partner of murdered gay student Ahmet Yildiz has been forced to flee Turkey in fear of his life.

Yildiz, a 26-year-old physics student, was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

He was believed to be fleeing the attack when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

He had no rights over his partner’s body, which has been left lying in the city morgue.

The murder is believed by Mr Yildiz’s friends to be an “honour killing” carried out by members of his own family.

“From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents,” a close friend told The Independent.

“They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing.”

Mr Yildiz’s friends fear that because of his family’s rejection of his sexuality they will not claim the body. His friends have no power to collect the body for burial.

Standing outside the morgue that held Mr Yildiz’s body, a friend of his told The Independent: “We’ve been trying to contact Ahmet’s family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral. There’s no answer and I don’t think they are going to come.”

It is common for families of “honour killings” not to collect the body of the victim.

In the months leading up to his murder, Mr Yildiz had been to a prosecutor to report death threats he had received. The case was dropped.

Ahmet Yildiz represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco in 2007.

Sedef Cakmak, a friend and member of gay rights group Lambda said: “He fell victim to a war between old mentalities and growing civil liberties.”

Turkey has tried to project a more liberal attitude towards the LGBT community since it began lobbying the European Union for membership status.

This year’s gay Pride in Istanbul was the largest ever recorded in the city.

The ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the first in Turkey’s history to send a deputy to a conference on Gay rights.

The AKP has struggled to balance the demands of Turkey’s more liberal population with the conservatives.

In May an Istanbul court placed a ban on the country’s largest LGBT civil rights group, Lambda.

Woman are usually the victims of “honour killings” and Ahmet Yildiz’s case is considered unique.

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The body of Ahmet Yildiz, Turkey’s first suspected victim of a gay “honour killing,” has been removed from the city morgue.

The remains of the 26-year-old physics student had been left there by his family, a move common in “honour killings” cases.

In Turkey only family members of the deceased have rights over the body.

While reports say Mr Yildiz’s corpse has been collected, no one knows which family member has claimed it. He was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk he said:

“Ahmet had been receiving threats for as long as I knew him. He told me this has been going on since his coming out a year ago.

“When he came out to his parents, who had always suspected, they made him feel guilty about it.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner, who asked not to be named as he is in fear of his life, said had he joined his partner for an ice cream on last week, he would have been shot dead himself.

“Ahmet had asked me if I wanted to go out for an ice cream. as I had just settled down for the night at Ahmet’s flat, I declined.

“A couple of minutes later there were burst of loud gunfire outside the flat. I knew immediately that involved Ahmet and rushed out of the flat,” he said.

“I arrived at the scene to see Ahmet’s car reversing out of his parking space, trying to escape.

“I fought through some onlookers just in time to see him with his eyes open and asked him please don’t die, then he shut his eyes.”

Turkish police have yet to launch an investigation into the shooting.

Many of Mr. Yildiz’s friends, including his partner, believe his family are involved and murdered him because he was openly gay.

“Even before Ahmet came out there was trouble with his family,” Mr Yildiz’s bereaved partner said. “When he came out it only got worse.”

Homophobia in Turkey has always been rife, but according to Mr Yildiz’s partner, it has gotten worse over the last four years.

He describes homophobia in Turkey to be “unbelievably bad.”

“I can only speak for the Istanbul area but in the countryside it is much worse. In the country honour plays too strong a role for the family,” he said.

Mr Yildiz’s partner is not optimistic about his chances to bring Ahmet’s murderers to justice.

“I know the Turkish system. I know I haven’t got a leg to stand on. Human rights are known and accepted in the West but are not freely available in Turkey.

“I have no claim to his estate and body and cannot even collect my personal belongings from his flat. I cannot even bury my loved one.

“Apart from giving my statement to the press, I as an individual have absolutely no chance to bring his parents to justice for this murder of their son and my partner.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner has given statements to the police at the site of Ahmet’s murder, as well as handing in a signed statement to the local police station.

He fled Turkey the night of Mr Yildiz’s murder and has been living in fear of his life since.

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Sudan On The Brink

By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, June 16, 2008

It just shows what is wrong with our media.

The front pages of most newspapers last week carried a story about a horrific plane crash in the Sudan that cost 100 lives. While this tragedy was certainly newsworthy, hardly a single media outlet has been covering the real story in Africa’s largest country that could turn into a human catastrophe for millions of its non-Muslim citizens.

A twenty-year civil war between the Sudan’s Arab and Islamic North and Christian and animist African South that ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 is set to explode again. Fighting broke out last month between the North’s Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the armed forces of southern Sudan, in the oil-rich Abyei region, resulting in dozens of deaths.

The Abyei region, located between North and South, is technically part of northern Sudan, having been transferred there by the British colonial power in 1905. According to the CPA’s Abyei Protocol, which was put into the accord at America’s insistence, the Abyei area, which is inhabited mainly by Africans of the Dinka tribe, is supposed to hold a vote to decide whether it wants to join the South. In 2011, the entire South Sudan will have its own referendum on independence.

Disgracefully, the world hardly noticed that the town of Abeyei was destroyed in May by aggressive federal forces, which are controlled by the ruling National Congress Party in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, located in the North. As usual, it was the civilians who suffered the most. More than 100,000 Dinka, according to one report, were driven from their homes. Many Dinka arrived in refugee camps with little or no belongings with some grieving for their children who were lost in the flight.

Roger Winter, a highly respected expert on the Sudan who was once appointed Special Representative of the Deputy Secretary of State for Sudan by the Bush administration, visited the area a few days after the attack by the government’s army, which now occupies the ruined and looted town.

“The town of Abyei has ceased to exist,” stated Winter in his report. “Brigade 31 of the Sudanese Armed Forces, or SAF, has displaced the entire civilian population and burned Abyei’s market and housing to the ground.”

Such Arab atrocities are nothing new to southern Sudan’s black African population. This large area of about 227,000 square miles and 11 million people was once one of the main sources of slaves for the Islamic world until British colonization put a stop to the inhuman practice. But when the British left and the Sudan was granted its independence in 1956, the Arab North’s oppression of the non-Muslim, African South quickly picked up where it left off.

As a result, African Sudanese almost immediately formed a resistance movement that fought a civil war against the Arab North that ravaged the South and ended with a peace treaty in 1972. During that time, the odious custom of slave raiding also returned, supported by the Arab world’s new oil wealth. In 1962, a Swiss journalist recorded that hundreds of black African Sudanese were enslaved and sent to northern Sudan, and some even further on to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other oil sheikdoms.

An Italian journalist, who was in the Sudan in 1966, wrote “…the Arabs continue in the Sudan what could be called their national sport, hunting slaves, and the bondage of Negro Sudanese who are guilty of not only of having a black skin but also of not being Muslim.” Arab slavers even had the audacity to seize a Sudanese African member of the pre-independence legislature and put him up for sale for $1,600; but he managed to escape.

All in all, it is estimated that between 500,000 and one million people died in Sudan’s first civil war.

The second civil war, which ended with the 2005 CPA, began in 1983 when the Khartoum government threw out the 1972 peace accord, squashed the South’s constitutional guarantees, declared Arabic the country’s only official language and made sharia the law of the land. In other words, everyone, both North and South, had to become Muslim and Arabic. This was reinforced when the northern government declared jihad against the South in 1989.

In this second round of civil strife, the racial and religious hatred of the Sudanese Arab for the Sudanese African was in full evidence. More than two million southern Sudanese perished and another two million were displaced, becoming exiles in their own country, as the Islamic government embarked on a policy of genocide.

Evidence of this genocide was on display last January in the United States when dozens of young, southern Sudanese men gathered at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago to celebrate their common “birthday” (since they fled the war as children, many do not know their real birthdays). They form part of the 20,000 “Lost Boys” who had fled to Ethiopia, walking hundreds of miles across harsh and dangerous terrain to avoid almost certain death. The last eight years, the United States has taken in about 4,000 of these refugees, many of whom have gone to college themselves in their new country.

Again, like in the first Sudanese civil war, the slave trade made its loathsome reappearance. Francis Bok, whose story was told in Front Page Magazine, became its most visible representative in the United States. Captured in a slave raid at age seven, the southern Sudanese Dinka boy spent ten cruel years as an Arab slave before he escaped and eventually made his way to America where he has testified across the country and before Congress about his barbarous experience.

With such a record of savage brutality, one wonders why the media, the Bush administration and the rest of the world for that matter, remain silent as the Sudan appears to be sliding into a horrific and unthinkable third civil war. It is all the more puzzling when one considers the justifiable media attention given to, and the international condemnations made, concerning the Darfur conflict.

President Bush himself enjoys great prestige among the people of South Sudan for having helped bring about the 2005 CPA treaty; so much so that the African inhabitants there want to see the Republicans stay in the White House under John McCain. They well remember President Clinton’s bombing of Serbia to force the end of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, while he undertook no action on their behalf against a Khartoum government that was much more inhumanly ferocious and merciless.

‘The Democrats did nothing for us,” said a southern Sudanese journalist. “They were not interested.”

Winter believes the reason the Bush administration’s inaction is that it will soon be out of power and is in “meltdown mode”, which Sudan’s Islamic government well recognises. Moreover, President Bush is currently attempting to “normalize” relations with the Khartoum regime, probably as part of his overall strategy in the War on Terror, holding talks to this end in Rome in April and May. As a result, Bush does not wish to endanger these efforts by vigorously responding to the Abyei attack.

This is disappointing. Appeasement and inaction never work and will only encourage the predatory Arab Khartoum government to commit more depredations against a people that would make natural allies of America, especially if and when they get their own country. Already, the northern leaders are refusing to accept the Abyei’s boundaries that were set by an international committee, a term of the Protocol.

To their credit, during the recent primaries the three main candidates, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, issued a joint declaration saying they will “…continue to keep a close watch on events in the Sudan and speak out for the marginalized peoples.” They also condemned the Sudanese government for breaking the CPA. Hopefully, their actions will match their words after January’s inauguration.

Abyei has been called the cornerstone to peace for the Sudan. What happens there will determine whether the Arab North sincerely desires peaceful co-existence with the South. But a southern Sudan army spokesman ominously says the population displacement in Abyei indicates the Khartoum government is actually preparing “a final solution.”

If this is the case, western media outlets should be calling politicians in their countries to account for their inaction regarding the developing human catastrophe in South Sudan. They should also be putting the Khartoum government under the microscope of international criticism and be calling for sanctions. In the long term, the world press’ duty will be to monitor closely the previously agreed referenda in Abyei and the South Sudan to ensure the will of these long-suffering peoples is respected.

Twice in the past half century the African people of the southern Sudan have called for help against a murderous racial and religious hatred that has left their country littered with killing fields; but the West and its media scarcely heard them. So to ignore any aggression by Khartoum’s Arab regime that may cause such heart-rending appeals to be made a third time is both unpardonable and unconscionable.