Metro Weekly

Turkey has first openly gay parliamentary candidate

Two transgender women also running for seats in Grand National Assembly

I am not a secret gay. I have got the biggest support from my family and boyfriend and my friends in the party have given me their opinions.”

Openly gay Grand National Assembly candidate and LGBT rights activist Baris Sulu (Credit: HDP Eşcinsel Milletvekili Adayı Barış Sulu Facebook page).

Baris Sulu (Credit: HDP Eşcinsel Milletvekili Adayı Barış Sulu Facebook page)

— Baris Sulu, Turkey’s first-ever openly gay candidate for the Grand National Assembly elections on June 7, in an interview with The Independent. Sulu is running as a left-leaning and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party candidate in Eskisehir Province. A longtime LGBT activist, he’s campaigning on a platform that includes promoting LGBT and minority rights. “My interest in politics started when I decided to fight,” he says. 

Two other LGBT candidates, both transgender women, are also running for seats in the Assembly. Deva Ozenen is running for the left-leaning Turkish nationalist Anatolia Party in Izmir Province, and Niler Albayrak is running for the left-leaning Republican People’s Party in Istanbul.

The Turkish government is currently controlled by the right-leaning Justice and Development Party. There are currently no legal protections for LGBT people in Turkey.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at

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