Filed Under 'Deeply Troubling Rumors': Turkish Army's Gay Porn Archive

In a country like Turkey, with its long history of military secrecy and governmental scrutiny and control of the press, it's tough to separate fact from rumor. It is widely known that the current and ironically named Justice and Development Party administration has jailed countless journalists, holding them indefinitely on various charges. This is typical of government/press relations throughout Turkey's history. 


In the climate of paranoia that a tightly controlled press fosters, all plausible rumors need to be taken seriously until proven false. Thus it is that I've chosen to share with you a horrifying rumor which, if true, represents a new low for Turkey in terms of the violation of individual privacy and human rights. 

According to Michael Dickenson, an Istanbul-based reporter, the Turkish army is sitting on an enormous archive of amateur gay pornography, collected as evidence from young men seeking an exemption from mandatory military service on the basis of homosexuality. And you thought "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was bad . . .

Every male Turkish citizen is mandated to perform up to 15 months of military service between ages 20 and 41.  Being gay is an officially accepted reason to be excused from this service . . . if you can prove it. According to Dickenson's admittedly less-than-conclusive sources* (former soldiers he talked to and a feature film) this means submitting video of yourself performing homosexual acts, and possibly being subjected to a rectal examination. 

According to this article, some archive in Ankara is home to hundreds of such videos. If there's any truth to this rumor, some of the many questions it raises include: Why aren’t these videos destroyed after – ugh – verification? How long do they remain in the archives? And who has access to them, and under what circumstances?

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*I emailed Dickenson about his sources. He wrote: Somebody told me about it a while ago but I thought it was just an urban myth. Then I saw the film "Zenne" last week which seemed to confirm the story. I did a bit of a search on the internet and talked to some Turkish students. All seemed to verify it further. Disgusted and angered, I sat down and wrote the article.

Follow Jason Gots (@jgots) on Twitter


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