Video of the first same-sex wedding in Turkey and interview with the happy couple

07.09.2014 - Istanbul, Turkey - Redacción Madrid

Video of the first same-sex wedding in Turkey and interview with the happy couple
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Silo’s Message is a spiritual current developing on the basis of the book of the same name written by the Argentinean spiritual guide, Silo.  Adherents form themselves into Communities and generally meet weekly to interchange about their experiences with Silo’s teachings and to hold ceremonies that serve to strengthen the members and increase their feelings of wellbeing in a turbulent, violent and highly-changeable world.  A marriage ceremony is available for those members who wish to commit themselves to their partner in front of their extended community of family and friends.  The ceremony in Silo’s Message is for any two people, regardless of gender of the spouses and can be used in any country of the world because, for Siloists, recognition of a marriage comes from the community of friends that one belongs to, not the State or religious institutions.

In the words of the ceremony, “We do not marry them; they marry one another before our community.”

A community of Silo’s Message has been developing for 5 years in Turkey in both Ankara and Instanbul and the community in Istanbul has just witnessed its first wedding which is, coincidentally, a same-sex wedding.  To the knowledge of those taking part it is the first time a same-sex ceremony has ever taken place in the country.  In Turkey, same-sex relationships have not been illegal since 1858, but the law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity in its civil rights laws and there is no legal recognition for same-sex couples currently (source: wikipedia).

Interview with Ekin Keser and Emrullah Tüzün

Video by Álvaro Orus, Interview by Julia Riczu for Pressenza

I decided to make an interview with the couple after their wedding, because I wanted to know their point of view and their feelings about everything that’s happened.  Here I publish now what we spoke about with Ekin Keser and Emrullah Tüzün, the two Turkish men who took part in the first same-sex marriage in Turkey on the 2nd of September, on a boat on the Bosphorus with about 80 witnesses. I had this chat with them two days after their wedding day.

Before going further, I’d like to give you a little context. I got to know Ekin at the beginning of May, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. From the first moment he was very open about his sexual orientation (which surprised me in this socio-cultural environment) of course it was not just this but something more which called my attention and I invited him to our meetings of Silo’s Message in our “salita” [small hall]. From the first time (and ever since) he brought his friends to our meetings every week. The first one whom he brought was his couple, Emrullah. From the very beginning it was clear that they wanted to get married, but it seemed impossible in Turkey, so they wanted to leave the country. Than Nacho Martinez mentioned to Ekin that it is not impossible to get married in Turkey and showed him the marriage ceremony in Silo’s Message. I have never seen such happiness and relief as on Ekin’s face about this news and soon they decided to get married with this ceremony here in Turkey, in Istanbul. Over many months, we did several ceremonies with Ekin and Emrullah and their friends in the salita and their intention became stronger. It was always present in every meeting, in every chat of ours. We talked about it, we had lot of fun with it. They decided the date and the place and circumstances. Eduardo Gozalo accompanied them step by step and helped them to clarify the image and all the necessary things. When they had the invitation in their hands the process started. They stepped out into the public with this invitation and started to invite friends and family members. I had the opportunity to go with them to invite some of their friends. All of them were surprised but happy for this news. I thought to share this process that will make our conversation more understandable.  Lastly I would like to mention, but probably you know about the fact that in Turkey gay marriage is not legalised.

Pressenza.- How did you feel in this marriage?
Ekin: I felt lot of emotions. I saw that people were happy and I felt their love for us.

P.- What was the difference for you in this marriage and a traditional marriage here in Turkey?
Ekin: There was no bride. (laughing) Our friends really wished us to be happy. This was not done by the state it was done by the feelings and emotions of two human beings. It was based on true feelings and emotions. Some of our friends told us that they saw two people who fit together. Also after the Well Being ceremony one of my friends told me it was the first time in his life that he really felt relaxed.

P.- And you, Emrullah how did you feel there?
Emrullah.-  It was very nice. I felt it was very good to start with the Well Being ceremony and to read it before the Marriage ceremony. I felt that the people could calm down inside and outside after this ceremony. They sent us energy, but they didn’t know about that. And after the two ceremonies everyone was so happy and enjoyed the night with us.
Ekin.- Ever since we have received messages of congratulations and they are also  interested in how we did it. So we wrote to them about Silo’s Message and the meaning of the ceremony. We are very happy and we are very grateful for Silo’s Message and for its community. I feel that after this event we can talk easier about the Message with many people. We hope that more people will come to the meetings of the Message. We would like to spread out this widely, to many people. At this moment we are waiting for the video that was made on the wedding and we would like to make a massive dissemination of this in the LGBT area.

P.– Were you afraid of anything?
Ekin.– No I was only very excited, that’s why my legs were permanently shaking.
Emrullah.- No, I wasn’t.

P.- What did your friends tell you when you invited them?
Ekin.- They said that it is dangerous and they thought it would be very difficult for us. But I think maybe the next gay marriage will be easier.

P.- What was the most important for you in this marriage?
Emrullah.- That we could do it with Silo’s Message. And we could do it with true feelings, we could make a marriage with emotions, otherwise it would be only a party.
Ekin.- We would like to say thank you for Silo’s Message that it was possible and we want more people to know about Silo’s Message. And maybe later all these people will be non-violent.

P.- Would you like to say something for those who would like to do the same as you did?
Ekin.– Don’t be afraid! Never. If you want to do something, do it! What ever you do, do it with true feelings.
Emrullah.- It is not difficult at all! If you want to do it, just do it! We had trust in Silo’s Message community and we did it. You don’t need the state or an office, just your feelings.

Categories: Human Rights, Humanism and Spirituality, International, Interviews, Nondiscrimination
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