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Transnational Construction of LGBTIQ Refugeeness in Turkey: UNHCR as the Agent ‘Legalizing’ Sexuality and Gender Identity

Dates:
  • Mon 10 Feb 2020 15.00 - 17.00
  Add to Calendar 2020-02-10 15:00 2020-02-10 17:00 Europe/Paris Transnational Construction of LGBTIQ Refugeeness in Turkey: UNHCR as the Agent ‘Legalizing’ Sexuality and Gender Identity

After the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Turkey became the country hosting the world’s largest refugee population which also includes a considerable number of LGBTIQ refugees. However, their legal presence in Turkey causes a contradiction; while they are registered with Turkish migration authorities, there are no national laws or social policies that recognize sexuality and gender identity as a ground for asylum-seeking. The presentation will focus on a simple but crucial question: How can LGBTIQ refugees ‘legally’ register with migration authorities within a legal framework that does not recognize their very reason for seeking asylum?

In order to answer this question, the presentation will scrutinize two historical conjunctures. The first is Turkey’s history of the geographical limitation on the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention for short), which has allowed UNHCR considerable authority over registering refugees in Turkey. The second is the emergence of an international framework for LGBTIQ refugeeness, which has been mediated by UNHCR, especially in the Global North countries. In other words, UNHCR’s authority over registering refugees in Turkey has allowed UNHCR to apply a Global North-oriented conceptualization of LGBTIQ refugeeness within the national borders of Turkey. In return, Turkey has never had the ‘need’ to develop a national legal framework for the recognition and protection of LGBTIQ refugees.

Seminar Room 4 - Badia Fiesolana DD/MM/YYYY
  Seminar Room 4 - Badia Fiesolana

After the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Turkey became the country hosting the world’s largest refugee population which also includes a considerable number of LGBTIQ refugees. However, their legal presence in Turkey causes a contradiction; while they are registered with Turkish migration authorities, there are no national laws or social policies that recognize sexuality and gender identity as a ground for asylum-seeking. The presentation will focus on a simple but crucial question: How can LGBTIQ refugees ‘legally’ register with migration authorities within a legal framework that does not recognize their very reason for seeking asylum?

In order to answer this question, the presentation will scrutinize two historical conjunctures. The first is Turkey’s history of the geographical limitation on the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (the Refugee Convention for short), which has allowed UNHCR considerable authority over registering refugees in Turkey. The second is the emergence of an international framework for LGBTIQ refugeeness, which has been mediated by UNHCR, especially in the Global North countries. In other words, UNHCR’s authority over registering refugees in Turkey has allowed UNHCR to apply a Global North-oriented conceptualization of LGBTIQ refugeeness within the national borders of Turkey. In return, Turkey has never had the ‘need’ to develop a national legal framework for the recognition and protection of LGBTIQ refugees.


Location:
Seminar Room 4 - Badia Fiesolana

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization
Department of Law

Type:
Working group

Contact:
Enise Seyda Kapusuz - Send a mail

Speaker:
Mert Koçak (New Europe College, Bucharest)

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