Posted on 25. August 2016 in Violence & Hate Speech, Press


On August 12th, the body of Hande Kader was found in Istanbul, Turkey. [1] She had been raped and tortured and her body burnt. She was 23 years old when she died and was a well-known LGBTI activist in Turkey. She gained wide recognition for her visible protest against the police violence in last year’s Istanbul Pride parade, which was suppressed by the police with rubber bullets, water cannons, and pepper spray. Kader was also a sex worker and there are reports that she was last seen getting into a car of a possible client.

“Hande is yet another victim of lethal hatred of women and anything feminine. We stand in solidarity with trans sex workers in Turkey and elsewhere, who, like Hande, face unsafe working conditions and have to fear police instead of being protected.” comments Arja Voipio, TGEU co-chair.

Turkey has the highest rate of reported murders of trans people in Europe [2] and national lawmakers and decision-makers are failing to change this. Transgender Europe last called on Turkish authorities to make demonstrable efforts to effectively protect the rights of trans people, sex workers, and other marginalised groups in the country on June 29th after this year’s banning of Trans and LGBTI Pride in Istanbul. [3]

TGEU’s Executive Director Julia Ehrt said “We are deeply concerned over the repeated failure of the Turkish state to protect the safety of trans people living in the country. We demand that the murder of Hande Kader be thoroughly investigated and that the authorities start to work on legal and social reforms to stop future murders from happening.”

In the 2015 publication [4] from the Transrespect versus Transphobia project, the chapter on Turkey contained a number of demands on Turkish lawmakers and decision makers. The demands included anti-discrimination and hate-crimes legislation recognising gender identity and gender expression as grounds for special protection, official data collection on transphobic hate violence, and training of police, prosecutors, and judges on trans people’s human rights.

Additionally, the existing laws on violence against women and domestic violence must be revised and gender identity and gender expression should be included as grounds for protection. All arbitrary action, ill-treatment, and torture by the police against trans sex workers must be prosecuted and relevant redress mechanisms should be established.

While urging the Turkish authorities to protect the rights of trans people, TGEU also once again calls on the Council of Europe to closely monitor the situation in the country.



Notes & More Information:


[1] LGBTI News Turkey “Trans Woman Burned and Murdered in Turkey“, 21st August 2016 „Hande Kader: Outcry in Turkey over transgender woman’s murder”:

[2] Transgender Europe, Transrespect versus Transphobia Project, 12th May 2016, “International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia (IDAHOT) Press Release“

[3] Transgender Europe, 29 June 2016, “Istanbul Trans Pride: TGEU calls on Turkey to protect basic human rights”

[4] Transgender Europe, November 2015, „Volume 13: Transfobiye Karşı Trans-Saygı: Türkiye’de yaşayan trans bireylerin toplumsal Deneyimleri“ (Turkish)


Turkey chapter in “Volume 9: Transrespect versus Transphobia: The Experiences of Trans and Gender-diverse People in Colombia, India, the Philippines, Serbia, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey and Venezuela“, September 2015: (English)


TGEU’s work on Violence and Hate Speech:


Transgender Europe is a European human rights NGO working for the human rights and equality of all trans people. More Information:

Transgender or Trans is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.


picture source: Dayanisma