Turkey and Montenegro: LGBT rights part of EU accession conditions

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Today the European Parliament adopted two resolutions on Turkey and Montenegro’s progress towards joining the European Union. The Parliament said that more steps are required to bring the two countries in line with EU standards in the field of non‑discrimination.

Parliamentarians urged Turkey “to ensure that equality, regardless of sex [...] or sexual orientation, is guaranteed by the law and effectively enforced”. The resolution initially mentioned illegal forced closures of LGBT organisations and the army’s classification of homosexuality as a psychosexual illness (sic). Progressive MEPs amended the text to also denounce ongoing murders of transgender people, and condemn the withdrawal of gender and sexual orientation from a draft anti-discrimination law.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, commented: “I welcome the progress that’s been made generally in Turkey—a modern, secular state. But I urge the Turkish government to reinsert sexual orientation and gender identity into the draft anti‑discrimination law; this will send yet another signal of Turkey’s determination to complete the accession process.”

As for Montenegro, MEPs welcomed the newly-adopted general law on prohibition of discrimination in employment or provision of public services, but regretted that “discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity widely persists, including on the part of state authorities”.

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup, reacted: “Montenegro has achieved much. The Montenegrin Constitution prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on any ground, although it still falls short of EU standards as it permits direct discrimination in some cases. Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian people, persons with disabilities as well as LGBT people still fall victims of severe discrimination, and gender equality has yet to be secured.”

She continued: “We demand that Ferhat Dinosa, Minister for Human and Minority Rights, defend LGBT people’s human rights instead of displaying intolerance and insensitivity to these issues. This is the only way forward for Montenegro’s accession process.”

The Intergroup will keep monitoring accession processes for Turkey, Montenegro, and seven other countries.

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