Why Is Prostitution Legal in Turkey

Brothels (Genelev) are legal and licensed under health laws that deal with sexually transmitted infections. [8] Women must be registered and provided with an identity card indicating the dates of their health examinations. Registered prostitutes are required to undergo regular health check-ups for sexually transmitted diseases, and the use of condoms is mandatory. [9] Police are authorized to verify the authenticity of registered prostitutes to determine if they have been properly vetted and to ensure that health authorities see them if they fail to do so. However, men cannot register under this regulation. However, most prostitutes are not registered, as it is the policy of local governments not to issue new registrations. [10] [11] Another factor that draws attention to the real-world experience in this scenario is cases where escort site managers are not sex workers. In cases where advertising from social media accounts is not enough, spreading the account via a hashtag is a common way to increase awareness on social media. To talk about it a bit, hashtags can be monopolized by one person. If the sex worker wants her name on a hashtag, she has to pay. Similarly, money must be paid for advertising for escort sites. However, if we look at the practice, it becomes clear that the investigations are not directed against “third parties who profit from advertising to facilitate prostitution.” He is still considered a sex worker who makes prostitution a crime here. In practice, when the sex worker, who is constantly subjected to police violence while working on the street, uses social media, which she considers safer, to find clients, the criminal becomes a sex worker again.

The perpetrator of this crime is regulated as the person who promotes prostitution, facilitates prostitution, mediates and provides a place for prostitution. In other words, the existence of a third party other than the sex worker and the client relationship is sought. However, it should be said that in practice, the title of the victim or perpetrator and the impact of these titles on sex workers, their participation in the proceedings, although they are victims, do not comply with the regulations of the legislation. In addition to the usual problems faced by sex workers on the street, transgender people in the industry face an additional challenge as they do not have the opportunity to become legal sex workers. The state does not legally recognize non-binary genders and only issues pink ID cards for women and blue cards for men, preventing transgender people from applying for legal status. In addition to the Turkish Penal Code, another regulation that is regularly applied to sex workers in practice is the Law on Administrative Offences. Although prostitution is not listed as one of the offences listed in the Misdemeanours Act, sex workers who wait to find clients on the street are fined for reasons such as “disturbance, violation of orders, failure to declare identity, noise”. Although it is sometimes said that action is taken in response to a complaint, we can conclude from experience in the field that the application of administrative sanctions is generally not. We can illustrate this situation as follows: first of all, it is necessary to include the police (and sometimes the gendarmerie) among the topics in the field of sex work, since the police and the sex worker in this area constantly meet, and therefore the sex worker must constantly contact the police.

These encounters make it easier for sex workers to be known and recognized by the police. Even if there are no complaints, these administrative sanctions can easily be applied to sex workers who know where they live and work. Turkey is considered one of the top 10 destination countries for foreigners due to its lenient visa policy. And due to its geographical location, many citizens of neighboring countries can travel to Turkey. [17] They can stay for thirty to ninety days, which brings economic benefits to the country. [17] According to the World Tourism Organization, Turkey ranked 7th as an international tourist destination in 2009. [17] However, Turkey`s passport law “prohibits individuals from entering the country solely for the purpose of prostitution” and it is illegal for unregistered workers and foreigners to engage in any type of sex work. [17] In addition to the article on prostitution in the Turkish Penal Code, obscenity and immoral acts under the same article are part of the regulations presented to us in the field of sex work.

Definitions of obscenity and indecent acts remained vague. Indecent acts are regulated as are public sex and exhibitionism. Here too, exhibitionism carries the same uncertainty. This includes every step taken to make sex work a reality, every movement necessary for the practice of the profession, in words that have ambiguous meanings and can be interpreted differently depending on culture, geography, space and time. This uncertainty can be illustrated as follows: Although any image or gesture of a person who is not a sex worker is not considered obscene, that act or image may be considered obscene if the person is a sex worker. Any action taken to do the work may arbitrarily be considered a crime or an indication of a crime. Again, we can see the same example in practice of indecent acts against sex workers from time to time. `(3) (repealed: 6.12.2006 – 5560/45 art.; Rearrangement: 24/11/2016-6763/18 Art.) Anyone who gives, distributes or distributes products containing images, texts and words intended to facilitate or mediate prostitution shall be punished by imprisonment from one year to three years and a fine of two hundred days to two thousand days. Sex workers, whose actions are hindered as if it were a crime and whom we look at in their images in the media as if they were the perpetrators, are not the real perpetrators.

Although sex work is not a crime in Turkey, it is a sector of activity that is regulated and legalized within a certain framework, it is still known as a “crime” in society and efforts are made to make it known as a crime in practice. This facilitates the systematic criminalization of sex work through legal regulations or illegal practices. Legislation, police, media and moral arguments feed each other and constantly criminalize sex work. Fear of “criminal incidents” and “criminal persons” in society also leads to ignoring the profession and professional workers, assigning the adjective dangerous, and making sex workers lonely. Sex workers trying to make a living may see themselves as abusers and criminals because they are constantly involved in prosecutions, in contact with law enforcement and investigating every action they take to practice their profession. It requires the industry to adopt unique ways of working, to support people doing the same work, to submit to violence and exploitation to protect their lives, to work with bosses who promise safety, and all these unfair practices are a powerless part of this business. The city`s only legal brothel is a short walk from Galata Tower, a tourist hotspot on Istanbul`s European side. The gate is guarded by a security guard, and only women with a permit from the city`s governor`s office are allowed in.