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Turkey: Gays to be discharged under new draft army rules

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – A  new Turkish Armed Forces penalty regulation draft says gays will be discharged from the army as punishment for their "lifestyle choices," the Hürriyet Daily News reports.

The report says it will be the first time in the country's history that homosexuality is clearly listed as an unnatural occurrence in army regulations. Queer advocacy groups have criticized the move, calling it a violation of human rights, as "an individual’s personal life choice has nothing to do with their ability to perform military duties."

Murder, bribery, fraud and imprisonment for more than one year are some of the other criteria that could lead to the discharge of a conscript from the service.

Defence Minister İsmet Yılmaz was expected to introduce the draft regulation to the Cabinet today. 

Hürriyet notes that 2009 and 2010 European Commission reports state in part that army conscripts who declare their homosexuality have to provide photographic proof of their sexual orientation to avoid service. The Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, however, denied that it asked for photos or video footage from gays to prove their sexual orientation in response to a 2010 story in Germany's Der Spiegel newspaper.

Landing image: Lonely Planet

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