A trans woman journalist from Turkey who was chased out of her apartment by a knife-wielding mob and who complained to police about an 18-year campaign of terror is now facing prosecution herself – because she complained.
Trans woman Ajda Ender had been forced to leave home because her father did not accept that she wanted to live life as a woman, and her mother had given her the keys to the apartment that she used to live in before she got married.
The abuse by her new neighbours started right after Ajda moved into the property in Sisli in the city of Istanbul, in the north-west of Turkey in 2005.
Her neighbours cut her access to the internet and electricity and banged on her door, accusing her of offerings sexual services.
She told Newsflash: “They said I was a prostitute and would post pictures of me with friends saying they were my customers. They also reported me to the police, but when I tried to file a complaint against them, it was repeatedly rejected.”
But the trans woman’s lawyer, Eren Keskin, eventually managed to get the case accepted on charges of ‘wrongful acts’, ‘threats’ and ‘gender-based discrimination’, but it was then rejected last month, with the lawyer for her neighbours, Murat Bozkurt, now reporting her for insulting hím after she claimed she was a victim of transphobic hatred that violated her basic human rights and caused her distress.
Keskin told local media at the time: “Ender is subjected to discrimination, insults and even physical attacks by the defendants living in the apartment where the house owned by Ajda’s mother is located.”
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul Deputy Zuleyha Gulum submitted a parliamentary question to be answered by Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag regarding the current lawsuit against Ajda that was filed after prosecutors threw out her complaint.
The MP said: “Trans woman Ajda Ender living in Istanbul, has been threatened by her neighbours and exposed to transphobic attacks for many years. In the lawsuit filed by Ajda Ender against her neighbours against the ongoing attacks in this process, the prosecutor’s office gave a decision of no case to answer.
“Afterwards, a lawsuit was filed against her as a result of a complaint made on unfair accusations, just because she reported the transphobic attacks to the prosecutor’s office.”
The MP added that this makes Ender a “defendant” and as a result will increase the transphobic attacks against her.
The transgender woman now has to appear in court herself in a case on 11th May and said: “I was repeatedly subjected to transphobia and hatred at every step of the process as I tried to exercise my right to live in my own home. The right to housing is one the basic fundamental rights and they took it from me.
“Transphobic and heteropatriarchal family values were placed above fundamental rights. My right to life was threatened, law enforcement officers didn’t take my statement, the prosecutor entered a decision that there was no case to answer when my neighbours chased me out of my apartment and beat me up on my own doorstep.”
She added: “I was subjected to systematic hatred, and now I will be put on trial. Trans people are not treated as equals in society. I am a journalist, I want to live in my home like everyone else. However, they don’t want to see me as an equal. They wish transgenders and LGBTI+s individuals would be invisible, disappear, and to have us homeless on the streets. This hatred is too much.”
She appealed for supporters to attend the Istanbul 26th Criminal Court of First Instance in Caglayan Courthouse when she will be prosecuted on Thursday, 11th May, at 11.15am for insulting her neighbour’s lawyer Murat Bozkurt.
Ajda explained: “The police did not take my statement, the prosecution dismissed the death threats I received, and now I am on trial.”