Prison Sentence for Porn Containing “Unnatural Sexual Acts” in Turkey

An Ottoman miniature depicting gay men

Turkey continues to target sexuality of the citizens with laws and new directives. Previously upon –by then Prime Minister- Erdoğan’s remarks about co-ed housing, several citizens had received visits from police for not complying with general social norms. In the past few days, a new decision has just been declared by the Constitutional Court regarding porn material. Just as the heads of state had named their worries regarding extramarital sexual acts, now the heads of justice have approved of imprisonment of a citizen for having “unnatural porn videos” according to the law number 226/4 of the Turkish Criminal Code. The explanation of the penalty states that the criminal has been caught with content showing unnatural acts of sexual behaviour, specifically porn that shows oral, anal and homo/bisexual acts, thus can be imprisoned for 1-4 years.

Law number 226/4 of the Turkish Criminal Code states “those who possess, import, stock, transport, sell, allow others to use, archive textual/audio/video material which includes sexual acts showing violence, animals, dead human bodies, or unnatural ways of intercourse, can be imprisoned for 1 or up to 4 years sentence, or be fined for the value of 5.000 days of sentence.”

According to a report by Kemal Göktaş, reporter for Daily Milliyet, police has raided a work place in the city of Aydın for “screening of immoral content” and caught the owner with a USB-stick that contains porn material. The owner of the disk stated that he downloaded the material online and only watched himself, not screening for an audience. However, the suspect has been sued for possession of content which shows intercourse that includes unnatural acts of sexual behaviour.

The court that handled the case applied to the Constitutional Court of Republic of Turkey to request a cancellation of the sentence. The detailed plea suggested that every citizen of the Republic of Turkey has right to life, protection of physical and mental health, and personal development according to the article 17; right to privacy according to article 20; and right to education according to article 42 of the constitution; thus the issued sentence violates these constitutional rights. The plea also emphasized that statement of “unnatural acts of sexual behaviour” was not definitive, and there is no official prohibition of sexual acts involving oral or anal intercourse in any written law in Turkey. A further statement emphasized any two consenting individuals can legally want and have oral or anal intercourse, it is a contradiction to criminalize the watching of it.

Constitutional Court has rejected the plea –with 4 aye and 12 nay votes- stating that the law which has been requested to be cancelled is aimed at targeting the spreading of textual/audio/video content that contains the sexual acts, while not prohibiting the acts themselves. Constitutional Court’s detailed explanation suggested that the court aims to protect the general morality of the society en masse by applying a general law; and it is impossible to cite every single unnatural sexual act which may come up in various ways. Constitutional Court’s decision also cited the constitutional rights and emphasized that the acts in question have nothing to do with mental development or education of citizens.

The AK Party government of Turkey has an Islamist agenda which more than often reverts to prohibition of divergence from general morality and puritan measures against individualism and personal life styles. Porn has been used as an excuse for excessive censorship measures in Turkey over the past decades and continues to play a major role in targeting free speech. From time to time it is possible to hear high level politicians referring to critiques of these decisions as “Porn Lobby”. The latest decision of the Constitutional Court can be used to prohibit possession, purchasing, selling of even Kama Sutra. All these acts of prohibition and pressure on individual life styles has drawn reaction from the society and brought back the satirical comments calling for establishment of a Ministry of Bedroom Affairs.

 

This entry was posted in AKP, Censorship, Digital, Individual, Turkey and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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