LGBT Activism in the Context of Political Islam: Sociopolitical Opportunities and Constraints Facing the LGBT Activism in Turkey

Civil society in Turkey has been shaped by multiple historical changes in the economic and political spheres, and forces such as globalization and modernization. Turkey’s particular economic, political, social and cultural history impacted the contemporary LGBT activism as well. Based on the history of civil society and the state since late 1970s, I analyze LGBTI activism in Turkey from the election of the current neoliberal political Islamist government in 2003 till now. In this study, I ask what are the social and political opportunities and constraints facing LGBTI activism in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country ruled by a political Islamist government, who the opponents of LGBTI-rights activism in Turkey are, what are particular core issues of LGBTI activism in Turkey, and how the LGBTI activism in the context of political Islam in Turkey differ from the hegemonic Western framework of LGBT rights activism. This study is based on interviews with LGBTI activists in Turkey and participant observation in the LGBTI activist community in Turkey since 2009.


Part of panel Confronting the State: Power, Activism, and the Self
October 1, 2016, 11:15–13:00