Authorities in the Turkish city of Istanbul have banned an annual gay pride march planned for later this month, citing security fears.
Organisers of the march have denounced the ban as a “flagrant violation of the constitution and the law”.
They said the city authorities were failing in their duty to protect the rights of citizens to exercise their rights, and that they would launch legal action.
The Istanbul governor’s office said in a statement on Friday that the June 26 march had been banned out of concern for public order. Security in the city is already tight after bombings in recent months blamed on Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish militants.
Ultra-nationalist youth group, the Alperen Hearths, called those planning to participate in the gay pride event immoral and said it would “stop the march” if it went ahead.
The Alperen Hearths’ Istanbul chief, Kursat Mican, said: “Degenerates will not be allowed to carry out their fantasies on this land. We’re not responsible for what will happen after this point.”
The pride march has been held 12 times – up until 2015 – largely without incident, growing into the largest such event in a Muslim country with thousands taking part in a celebration of diversity.
Last year police shocked participants by firing tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to prevent the march before it had even begun.
On 7 June, a bomb attack on a police bus killed 11 people in the fourth major attack in Istanbul this year.
The US consulate in Istanbul displayed the rainbow flag last week in celebration of gay pride, but also to honour the victims of a deadly attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 people dead.
Turkey’s pride parade organisers said they wanted to gather “after the tragedy in Orlando, to show once again we are united, strong and organised”.
Unlike in many Arab countries, homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but analysts say homophobia remains widespread.