Authorities in Turkey are continuing to stamp down on the country’s LGBTQ+ community with a ban on all Istanbul pride week activities in order to “maintain peace and security, and prevent criminal activities”.
The decision comes amid a series of bans and LGBTQ+ across Turkey, which recently ranked 48th out of 49 European countries in the 2022 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) Europe. Several Istanbul venues which had been scheduled to host Pride events have been raided by police in the past few weeks under the pretext of “general inspections”.
The Kadıköy district governor’s office announced the ban in a short statement on its website, saying: “All activities planned for the 30th Pride Week between June 21-27 have been banned in order to maintain peace and security.”
LGBTQ+ groups* in Turkey have issued a joint statement in response to the ban, saying: “We know that these bans target our existence that we are proud of, our struggle that we have brought to this point, and our progress in ensuring constitutional and social equality.
“We are expected to be ashamed of our existence that we honourably embrace, lose the solidarity we have built, leave the spaces we have won and step back from our righteous struggle.
“As the LGBTI+ associations, we openly declare: We refuse to be ashamed, forgotten, to abandon, lose, and take a step back. We do not consent to our history, present and future being taken away from us with hate speech, targeting, bans and threats.”
Although homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, the country is riven by homophobia with frequent public attacks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, often characterised by accusations of perversion and undermining family values.
*The statement was signed by: 17 Mayıs Association, 18 Haziran LGBTİ+ Solidarity Association, Gökkuşağı Aileleri Association (GALADER), Genç LGBTİ+ Association, HEVİ LGBTİ+ Association, Kaos GL Association, Kırmızı Şemsiye Association, Lambdaistanbul LGBTİ+ Solidarity Association, LGBTİ+ Families and Loved Ones Association (LİSTAG), Muamma LGBTİ+ Association, Özgür Renkler Association, Pembe Hayat LGBTİ+ Solidarity Association, Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD), ÜniKuir Association. (MD/TY/VK)