Trans activist detained at Istanbul airport ‘without reason’

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A transgender activist has been detained in Istanbul airport ‘without reason’ and threatened to be put in a cell with 20 men.

Kıvılcım Arat was passing through the international terminal of Atatürk Airport on her way to Germany for a conference on women’s rights.

Arat was stopped and arrested by authorities during passport checks.

Turkish LGBT organisation KaosGL drew light to the incident. Lawyers working for the organisation have confirmed that they are not aware of the exact reason for her detention.

The lawyers have not been in touch with Arat, but said that authorities wanted to detain her in a cell with 20 men.

“Despite the fact that my client is a trans woman, they want to put her in a room with 20 men,” Aylan Kırıkçı, who is working on Arat’s case, said.

Lawyers managed to get authorities to backtrack on this decision, and she is now in a separate cell.

The reason for her arrest is still unknown, but authorities alleged that she “failed to testify in an investigation”.

Kırıkçı said it was “unclear” which inquiry the authorities believed Arat needed to testify in.

“It is necessary to testify from an earlier investigation, so it is clear that there is a catch-up decision,” Kırıkçı said.

“It is also unclear from which inquiry she should testify.”

The case isn’t the first time an LGBT activist has been detained in the country. Another LGBT activist and lawyer/politician from a pro-LGBT group were arrested in Turkey last year after refusing to testify following the military coup that was staged.

19 people, including a German MEP, were detained for holding a Pride demonstration in Istanbul despite a Government ban.

The demonstration went ahead despite the organisers of Istanbul Pride having issued a statement calling off the demonstration citing security concerns as well as a Government ban.

Officials in Turkey earlier in the year ordered that the capital’s Pride parade be cancelled – claiming the ban was because of ‘security’ concerns following a mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando which left 49 dead.