International human rights groups are putting pressure on Turkish authorities to end shocking transphobic killings in the country.

The call comes after the murders of two transgender women in the last two weeks.

Turkish LGBT group Pembe Hayat, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the European

Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) have written an open letter to the Turkish Government, calling for stronger protection for trans citizens.

“Without meaningful government action to affirm their rights and ensure their safety, transgender people in Turkey will continue to live in fear,” Human Rights Watch researcher Juliana Cano Nieto said.

The letter details the most recent killing of a transgender woman on February 16 in Istanbul.

Turkish media reported Aycan Yener was stabbed 17 times and her throat slit while her housemate was also repeatedly stabbed in the attack, but survived.

On February 8, 35-year-old Derya Y was stabbed to death in her home in the Alt?nda? district of Antalya. Her throat was cut and she was found with multiple stab wounds.

Since November 2008, it’s thought at least eight transgender women have been murdered in Ankara, Istanbul and Antalya.

Putting a spotlight on the issue in its 2009 Progress Report on Turkey, the European Commission said transgender people were still subject to continued violence in Turkey and provisions in the country’s Criminal Code on “public exhibitionism” and “offences against public morality” allowed police to actively discriminate against LGBT people.

The coalition said it hopes the Turkish government will help protect transgender people from violence by establishing anti-discrimination laws and fostering better cooperation with police and the wider community.

info: To read the letter, visit www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/02/19/turkey-stop-violence-against-transgender-people

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