"It's not me."  What lies behind convenient marriages in Turkey

Homosexuality is not even banned in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread and members of the LGBTQ community are underprotected. Not at all surprising, given that the religious authorities consider homosexuality immoral. Hence, the convenient marriages of gay men with women, to hide the truth. In a new film, Mustafa talks about the pain of having a partner who is married to someone else. The name of the film is relevant: “It’s not me.” Watch a “Focus Europa” report, a Digi24 project and Deutsche Welle. The show airs on Friday at 11:30 p.m., and resumes on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Mustafa lives in Tarlabasi, a slum in Istanbul. He moved here from Antalya years ago. He was also drawn to anonymity and the fact that many minorities live here, including homosexuals and transgender people.

Mustafa says his family knows he’s gay, but he ignores it. He says he can live freely in Tarlabasi and owes no explanation to anyone. His neighbor accepts him as he is.

“His wife has no idea”

Mustafa moved to Istanbul to be with his partner, Mehmet. But for both of them, the relationship involved a life of lies and frustration.

“Mehmet grew up in a very authoritarian family. He was forced to marry a woman he did not love. This is to ensure that he will have descendants “, says Mustafa about his partner, Mehmet.

And Mehmet’s wife?

“His wife has no idea, so he doesn’t have a special attitude. Like Mehmet, he is an introvert. It cannot be opened in front of those around it “, explains Mustafa.

A heated debate on a taboo subject

A film about Mustafa and Mehmet premiered at the Istanbul Festival. Directed by Gülsen and Kaçak, it sparked a heated debate on a taboo subject in Turkey. These are gay men who marry women just for the sake of appearances. From the outside, they seem to be leading what society considers a normal life. In the film, Mustafa and Mehmet are very open about their relationship.

“I met Mustafa 15 years ago. Wow, it’s been a long time. No one close to you knows the truth. Only Mustafa. Mustafa is my real family “, confesses Mehmet.

Although Istanbul remains a liberal city by Turkish standards, society is becoming more conservative and religious. Mustafa knows many homosexuals who do not dare to leave their wives. They fear that they will be renounced by their families and even by acts of violence.

“Family and society are forcing men to live a secret life and keep their homosexuality a secret. They are afraid of reactions, of serious consequences “, explains Mustafa.

Istanbul, however, is a provider for the LGBTQ community and has many clubs. Mustafa often comes here with his friends. It is a place where he feels safe from the hostility of society.

Children are unhappy, and so are wives

It took years for director Kader Gülsen to gain the trust of men to make the film. She believes that their hidden lives can cause trauma and psychological problems.

“Children are unhappy, and so are wives. They know nothing about the parallel lives of their husbands. They may think they are cheating, but not with other men. Their marriages are in crisis, but the wives do not know that they are also victims “, says the director Kader Gülsen.

Mustafa felt liberated after the film premiered. Mehmet also made progress.

“It simply came to our notice then. Until now, he has always hesitated because of the children “, says Mustafa about his partner, Mehmet.

Mustafa hopes that soon there will be no more barriers to living together.

#lies #convenient #marriages #Turkey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.