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Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Alcee L. Hastings, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
March 9, 2010


WASHINGTON--U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) today expressed their disapproval with recent anti-gay statements made by Selma Aliey Kavaf, Turkey’s Minister of State responsible for Women and Families. Kavaf called homosexuality a “disease” that “needs to be treated” in a newspaper interview.

“The wrongheaded remarks of the state minister for women and families in Turkey are shameful to say the least. In the wake of these harmful comments, elected leaders in Turkey need to stand up for the rights of all people and condemn such blatant hatred,” Cardin said. “I welcome the news that the Turkish minister of health voiced his disagreement with Kavaf’s comments and underscored the need for a more tolerant society.”

“This type of hate speech and ignorance is never acceptable and should never be tolerated, let alone uttered, by any political leaders ,” Hastings said. “The minister should apologize for her comments. As a government leader she should know that her remarks wrongly signal that it is acceptable to discriminate against any group. Hate is never acceptable.”

Chairman Cardin and Co-Chairman Hastings have been frequent advocates for rights of all minorities and have worked to combat forms of intolerance that continue to spread throughout the 56-countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, including the United States. 

Media Contact: Neil Simon
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