Turkish police on Friday broke up a Pride March at Boğaziçi University in İstanbul, detaining 70 of the students for participating in the event, Turkish Minute reported.
Riot police surrounded dozens of students who were waving rainbow flags and calling for tolerance LGBTI+ people on the south campus during the ninth Pride March held at the university.
Although a small group of students tried to resist, the police detained some 70 students and led them into police buses with their hands cuffed behind their back.
The detainees were taken to the İstanbul Police Department for questioning and were subsequently released, according to Turkish media reports.
In a report on its website, the University Queer Research and LGBTI+ Solidarity Association (ÜniKuir) described the police intervention in the march as “the latest example of systematic violence that has been targeting LGBTI+s in Boğaziçi for the past one and a half years.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. After a spectacular Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, the government responded by banning future events in the city, citing security concerns.
Turkey was ranked 48th among 49 countries as regards the human rights of LGBT people, according to the 2022 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe earlier in May.
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu previously had called LGBTI+ people “perverts” in a tweet regarding protests at the university, and two students were arrested on charges of inciting hatred and insulting religious values.