Ankara governor bans LGBT-themed festival

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 Ankara Governor’s Office has banned an LGBT event and notified organizers the day before its scheduled beginning, the Bianet news website reported.

The 12th “Kuirfest” sponsored by the Pembe Hayat Association was planned to take place between February 23 and 25, the report said. The NGO was notified on Thursday by law enforcement.

The authorities cited “protection of public order, general morality and the rights and freedoms of others” to justify the ban.

“By now we have memorized the copy-paste ban orders being handed to us,” the NGO said, announcing that it will challenge the order in an administrative court and reschedule to bypass the ban.

In the past the Ankara Governor’s Office had imposed two indefinite bans on all LGBT-themed events, both of which were subsequently overturned by administrative courts.

Turkish authorities routinely prohibit LGBT events organized during Pride weeks, and law enforcement forcefully disperses any gatherings held despite the bans.

Platforms such as YouTube and Netflix have on multiple occasions been ordered to remove content accused of “spreading pro-LGBT propaganda” under the pretext of protecting family values.

Anti-LGBT hate speech is also a persistent problem, with politicians intensifying their demonizing rhetoric during election campaigns.

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