23 detained during Pride Month events in Turkey, says TİHV

A member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community (LGBTQI+) holds a rainbow flag during a rally against Turkey's withdrawal from Istanbul Convention in Istanbul, on June 19, 2021. - Turkish President sparked outrage in March by pulling out from the world's first binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, known as the Istanbul Convention. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) has released a report detailing human rights violations during Pride Month events, noting that a total of 23 people were detained during the events.

Police intervention resulted in the detention of 10 people at an event in Eskişehir and 13 at two separate events in İstanbul, bringing the total to 23. All those detained were released the same day, with five under judicial supervision.

According to the report, the Antalya Governor’s Office imposed a 15-day ban on all outdoor gatherings and events. In İstanbul two events were banned by district governors in Şişli and Kadıköy.

The İstanbul Governor’s Office announced on June 30, 2024 that a large area between the historic Taksim Square and the Karaköy Square would be closed to vehicular traffic and that pedestrian traffic would be restricted.

June is celebrated as Pride Month in Turkey and around the world, when LGBTI people hold marches, protests and other activities to demand greater rights and an end to discriminatory practices.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. After a spectacular Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government responded by banning future events in the city, citing security concerns.

LGBTI groups in the past have gone ahead with their plans to hold their marches despite the bans, which sometimes leads to confrontations with the police and detention of the participants.

There have also been instances when the attendees faced criminal charges for “participating in an unlawful assembly” or “failing to disperse despite warnings” and up to three years in prison for taking part in Pride marches.

Amnesty International warned in a statement on May 17, on the occasion of the  International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), that there must be no repeat of the discrimination and violence meted out to Pride participants in Turkey last year.

There was widespread use of unnecessary and arbitrary force against peaceful protesters resulting in at least 224 people being detained across the country in 2023. The detainees included lawyers and journalists as well as people who were not participating in the Pride events.

It is common for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other politicians from the AKP to attack LGBTI individuals and accuse them of perversion and ruining family values.

Turkey was ranked 48th among 49 countries as regards the human rights of LGBTI people, according to the 2023 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!