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Gay referee wins court battle against Turkish Football Federation

A soccer referee who had his license revoked for being gay was awarded thousands of dollars by a Turkish court in a landmark verdict. But his lawyer said the compensation was too small given the damages he suffered.

A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled in favor of a referee who had his refereeing license revoked in 2009 after publicly declaring his sexual orientation.

The court ordered the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) to pay 23,000 Turkish lira (7,250 euros, $7,900) in compensation to Halil Ibrahim Dincdag, the Dogan news agency reported.

"This lawsuit was a case in favor of all people who suffered injustice and discrimination," Dincdag told the Turkish online news site Diken.

"Winning this case was really something very important. The court has now confirmed that my fight was right," he added.

The sum was significantly lower than the 110,000 lira that Dincdag's lawyers demanded, after his client lost a series of jobs due to the federation's decision, including a gig as a radio presenter on a sports show at a local station.

"We are happy that justice has been done, but we are going to appeal regarding the figure to be paid," the lawyer said, according to Turkish media. "Given the moral and material damages suffered, it is a small figure."

The TFF maintains that Dincdag was relieved of his duties due to "shortcomings" in his performance, including that he fell into the army's classification of "unfit," suggesting he was unable to do his job as a referee.

The Turkish military's approach to gays has been controversial, with many of them being subject to nude examinations to prove they qualified for an exemption from military service, although Turkish media alleged last month that the practice had been scrapped in exchange for a verbal statement.

Despite gays being subject to abuse and harrassment, homosexuality has been legal throughout the existence of the modern republic of Turkey, unlike other Muslim-majority countries in the region.

Watch video 05:03

Turkey: The dream of being a referee | DW

ls/bk (AP, AFP)

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