According to a CNN article, in 2008, Ahmet Yildiz was gunned down in Istanbul. Yildiz was a 26-year old physics student who reportedly received several death threats from his family for his lifestyle. His father, Yahya, is the primary suspect in his death, according to court papers. More than three years after his sons death, Yahya remains a fugitive and is wanted by the Turkish police.
His death has been widely referred to as Turkey’s first gay honor killing.
But there is a sign of hope, in all this sadness. Three years later, two of his friends- Caner Alper and Mehmet Binay, who have been dating for 14 years- have created a movie, Zenne, based off of Yildiz’s tragic story. In Zenne, the main character endures a degrading process at the military recruitment center. In the film, military doctors perform examinations and demand photos of the characters having sex with other men.
This is something Gay Rights activists say the military has long practiced. According to activists, “the military has long demanded graphic photo and/or video evidence from men asking to be released from military duty. However, a spokesperson for the Turkish bureaucracy says he has no information stating that such a thing has happened. According to the spokesperson, a person has to prove they are gay by providing a doctor’s report, according to the CNN article.
In an interview to CNN, the filmmakers made the movie in the hopes of inspiring Turkey, which still performs honor killings, to “debate hate crimes that target victims based on gender, religion, ethnicity or sexual identity.”
Today’s society is largely one of tolerance; however, there are still countries that have a hard time accepting that difference is OK. Unfortunately, Turkey is one of those places.
But their is a light at the end of the tunnel. Minority groups, like the LGBT community, in Turkey are demanding equal rights. They are fighting for what should be an inalienable right as a Turkish citizen. And hopefully Zenne will be able to shed light and show that being different is OK.