Sedef Cakmak

City Council Member of Besiktas Municipality, Turkey

Sedef Cakmak is a city council member of Besiktas Municipality in Istanbul, Turkey. During the local elections of March 2014, she was the only cis-woman, homosexual candidate running for the Municipal City Council membership. While a university student, she engaged in social movements and became a human rights activist, specifically focusing on LGBTI rights. Between 2004 and 2010, she was the founder and a core member of the International Relations Commission and the Academical Research Commission of Lambdaistanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association. In 2011, she took part in the foundation of the Social Policies Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) and served as the first chairwoman of the association between 2011-2013.

When assuming her position in 2015, Sedef fulfilled her mission to raise the profile of LGBTIs in Turkish society.  As the first and only openly LGBTI politician who has been elected to a position in Turkey, she encouraged others to run for public office.

Fighting for a world that respects diversity, freedom and democracy, she established the Equality Unit in Besiktas Municipality in order to develop and implement local policies on minority rights, women’s rights and refugee rights. Sedef further founded the Women Solidarity Center to help the victims of domestic violence. She also participated in the establishment of the International Relations Directorate at Besiktas Municipality and has been representing the Municipality on various national and international platforms.

She holds a bachelor of arts in sociology from Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turkey.