Updated: Sun, 01/30/2022 - 03:00

Hikmet Hazer is a 20 year old LGBTI+ activist. They have been a part of the LGBTI+ movement for 6 years and is one of the leading activists in the city of Aydın where they live. They were initially involved in founding the Kuşadası Renkli Güvercin LGBTI+ Collective in 2019. Later, on 6th of March 2020, they became one of the five founding members of the Aydın LGBTI+ Solidarity. Hazer is currently the term spokesperson for the Solidarity. They are also a member of Students’ Union (Öğrenci-Sen).

Aydın LGBTI+ Solidarity operates on a voluntary basis. They provide legal and psychological support for LGBTI+ individuals in the city and organise readings, protests, activities, meetings, and panels. 

Having stronger and wider support than the collective in Kuşadası, the Solidarity has been under an increasing attack of oppression and intimidation since its founding date. Many of their protests and activities have been prohibited by the governorate, claiming to be due to the pandemic. 

Their first protest was to be a press statement under the heading ‘There is a place for everyone under the rainbow”, announced to be held on the 12th of July, 2020. Shortly after their announcement, a city-wide ban was issued on all planned activities. Law enforcement officers prohibited them from gathering at the Aydın City Square. The press briefing instead took place in front of the Aydın branch of the Human Rights Association. 

During that period, protests demanding Turkey to stay in the Istanbul Convention had increased in number. LGBTI+ activist İsmail Temel from Izmir was taken under custody after such a protest at Alsancak on the 5th of August 2020. Aydın LGBTI+ Solidarity announced that they would be making a press statement in support of Temel on August 16th 2020 at 19:00. An Islamic establishment named “Köklü Değişim” (Rooted Change) announced that they would also be organising a protest at the same place on the same day at 18:00, with the slogan “We will not allow the deviance of LGBT”. Once more, the Aydın Governorate issued a ban on all demonstrations to be held in the city during August 14-16. The Solidarity had to make their press statement in the Human Rights Association offices.

In July of 2021, although all Pride Week activities were held online due to the pandemic, the Pride Parade was supposed to take place as a march as usual. The petition for the parade filed at the governorate was met with another city-wide activity ban. During this process, the exhibitions planned by the Solidarity were also banned due to ‘public morality’ reasons. The Solidarity repeated their call to have the Pride Parade regardless of the ban. They gathered in front of the Human Rights Association on the planned day but law enforcement officers blocked their perimeter and didn’t allow them to march. They were threatened to be taken under custody. They called off the march and held a press statement inside the Human Rights Association building instead. After the statement, ten people from the gathering were followed by the police. They were told that they could not “walk together like this on the street.” Those recording the incident on their phones were verbally assaulted and kept from filming.

The Solidarity was present during the protests for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, Barınamıyoruz (We Can’t Find Shelter), and the Istanbul Convention. The pressure they are under by the police has mounted as their visibility has increased. Law enforcement officers are always present at their meetings and they follow the members around. 

Five members from the Solidarity including Hikmet Hazer were recorded and followed by the police while putting up posters on September 10th 2021. The police wanted to take Hazer to the station just before they were about to attend a meeting on that same day. They were told that they would be fined under the Misdemeanour Law. They were taken against their will to the Efeler Police Station even though they demanded that they be fined on the spot, and regardless of the protests of the women that were there for the meeting. They was kept at the station for five hours. They were not allowed to see their friends and were verbally assaulted during this de facto detention. Hazer was also fined 450 Turkish Lira.

Students’ Union announced that they would be staging a demonstration following the suicide of university student Enes Kara, at Adnan Menderes University on January 12th 2022. The demonstration couldn’t take place because two buses full of riot police had entered the campus. Three people including two members of Aydın LGBTİ+ Solidarity were taken under custody due to writings on the classroom boards. Hikmet Hazer was one of them. They were kept in detention for six hours. Their statements were taken under allegations of defaming the President of the Republic. During the interrogation, Hazer was asked if they had any role in the Students’ Union as their presence at Barınamıyoruz demonstrations on 20-25 September 2021 were emphasised.

The following night, Hazer was once more taken under custody from their home by the counter terrorism unit. They were interrogated for spreading PKK-YPG propaganda because of a Kurdish song that they’d shared on Instagram. They was let go after being held in detention for a day. President Erdoğan was visiting Aydın on the same day that Hikmet Hazer was under custody.

Hazer has been staying with their friends ever since, as they're afraid of staying alone at their own home.