Violence increases for Turkeys transsexuals

Belgin still vividly remembers the night, more than a quarter of a century ago, when police herded her and dozens of other transsexuals and transvestites onto a train as part of a campaign to clean up Istanbul. “We did not know where the train was taking us. The police beat us and locked us up in the wagons. They gave us no water or food,” she said, evoking scenes reminiscent of World War II.

The roundup took place just before the 1980 military coup in Turkey, which led to the suspension of democracy and the jailing of hundreds of thousands of people for their political views. Some were executed. Many people fled abroad.

Since then, Turkey has taken big strides forward in human rights, scrapping the death penalty and clamping down on torture, with an eye on future membership into the European Union. But Belgin says it still fails to protect people like her.