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Turkey, during its last century as part of the Ottoman Empire, was, in 1858, one of the first predominately-Muslim states to decriminalize homosexuality, this occurring during the Tanzimat, a period of reformation within the empire that accompanied its overall decline in influence. The decriminalization officially remains in force in the modern Republican regime, but the treatment of LGBT people in the country varies wildly in quality.

The country does not legally recognize any sort of same-sex relationship or union, and LGBT people are barred from serving in the military. Article 428 of the Turkish Penal Code also bars "public exhibitionism” and “offenses against public morality", stipulations which have been used within the legal and criminal justice system to harass LGBT people.

Otherwise, several pro-LGBT organizations, including as KAOS GL, Lambda Istanbul and Club Gökkuşağı exist openly in the country.

The Associated Press and Washington Post both reported in April 2010 that LGBT Iranians were fleeing from Iran in the wake of the domestic post-election unrest in Iran.[1]



  1. Anthony Faiola (Friday, April 2, 2010). Gay Iranians increasingly fleeing their country after June's crackdown. Washington Post.