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Turkey’s first openly ‘homosexual’ parliamentary candidate seeks seat

Baris Sulu, 37, is running as part of the left-wing People's Democratic Party

Published: Updated:

A man contending in Turkey's general election is reportedly thought to be the first openly homosexual candidate to run for the Middle Eastern country’s parliament, The Independent reported Tuesday.

Baris Sulu, 37, is running as part of the left-wing People's Democratic Party (HDP) candidate in the north-western Eskisehir electoral district in the June 7 Grand National Assembly elections.

Having campaigned for LGBT rights for 17 years, Sulu is running in a country where homosexuality is not illegal but where it is frowned upon by many, the newspaper reported.

Speaking to the Anadolu news agency, Sulu said he was standing against such discrimination.

He said: “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.

“My interest in politics started when I decided to fight,” he added.

“The elections in four years will be utterly different. In the next elections, not just gay candidates will run but also lesbian or transgender candidates.”

Sulu’s party currently holds 29 of the 550 seats in the Turkish Parliament.

Two transgender women will also be standing in the election, for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Istanbul.

In 2011, Amnesty International called for laws to protect LGBT Turks from “the discrimination such people face from officials in health services, education, housing and the workplace.”