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Mustafa Boga

Sending Prayers to Mars by Mustafa Boga

While there are no specific laws against homosexuality in Turkey, openly gay men are not welcome in the army. At the same time, they have to "prove" their homosexuality in order to avoid military service. Every gay men needs a "pink certificate", which will declare him homosexual and therefore exempt from military service. It is not uncommon for employers in Turkey to question job applicants about their military service - and a pink certificate can mean a job rejection because the status reads: ''psychosexual disorder''.

To be able to get a pink certificate a gay man should provide a picture of himself dressed as a woman, or other explicit photographs of himself having sex with another man. The face must be visible and the photos must show you as the passive partner. The precise nature of the evidence demanded depends on the whim of the military doctor or commander. Sometimes, instead of photographs, doctors rely on a "personality test". They ask if they have had anal intercourse, oral sex, and what sort of toys they played with as a child. Also if they like football, whether they wear woman's clothes or use woman's perfume.

The process of applying for a pink certificate in Turkey is hidden and censored and the discrimination behind the process is not based on logic and the process is therefore nonsensical. During 2014/16 Mustafa Boga applied to get the certificate and since He has been working on a body of work which shows his personal experiences.

Collage: Guarding Plates

Collage: House, Tree, Person Test

About the Artist

Mustafa Boğa is an artist based in the UK and Turkey. He completed his masters degree in 2016 from Central Saint Martins in London after studying for an MA in Fine Art. He also obtained another masters degree from Greenwich University in London after studying an MA in Cinematography and Post Production. Before that, he achieved a bachelors degree from Istanbul University after studying at the Faculty of Communication and Journalism. Mustafa has won several awards including The Red Mansion Art Prize and Ashurt Emerging Artist Prize.

He recieved a fellowship at RAW Material Company in Dakar, Senegal. Mustafa has recently worked with international artists such as Otobong Nkanga and Irena Haiduk, and has performed in Documenta14 in Kassel, Germany and selected to perform at The Royal Academy in conjunction with the Ai Weiwei exhibition in 2015.

You can view more of his work at or via


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