İstanbul Governor’s Office bans LGBTI pride parade

The İstanbul Governor’s Office has banned an LGBTI pride parade scheduled to take place in Taksim on June 25, citing security and public order concerns, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Saturday.

“It has been understood that a call for a march called “Pride March” is being made by LGBTI members on some media organizations, internet sites and social media for 17:00 Sunday, 25 June 2017 in our province’s Beyoglu district’s Taksim Square,” said the statement issued by the İstanbul governor’s office and continued as follow:

“Taksim Square and its vicinity where the march is being called for is not listed among meeting and demonstration areas as declared by our governorship. Furthermore, an application that’s methodologically appropriate based on the articles of Law No: 2911 has not been submitted to our governorship. Additionally, it’s also seen that there are very serious reactions against this call by different segments of society on social media platforms.”

“According to the conclusion of our governorship’s evaluation, the march that is being organized will not be allowed for the safety of our citizens, first and foremost the participants, and tourists who are in the area on tour, and in regards to public order, a meeting and demonstration march will not be allowed on the mentioned day, before or after. It is important that our valuable İstanbul residents do not heed to such calls and help our security forces by observing their calls and warnings,” concluded the statement.

The organizing committee for LGBTI pride week reacted to the decision of the Istanbul Governor’s Office, saying banning the march contravenes international conventions, Turkish law and the constitution.

Rejecting the statement that they did not submit an appropriate application for the march, the committee said: “We would like to once again underline that we are not in one place but everywhere in the city. We want to speak out, not one day but every day. We say once again: ‘Get used to it, we are here and are not going anywhere’.”

Last Monday, the Alperen Ocakları, an offshoot of Turkish nationalist movement the Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları), announced that they would not allow LGBTI members to hold a pride parade on June 25.

“Even if the government permits it, we will not let them walk,” said Kürşat Mican, Istanbul head of Alperen Ocakları during a program on KRT TV.

“Wherever they walk, we will go there and block the street. They can come there,” added Mican, who stood trial for threats against LGBTI members ahead of the pride parade last year.

A group of NGOs announced on Wednesday that they planned to file a criminal complaint against the head of the nationalist Alperen Ocakları’s İstanbul branch over his statement.

Last year, the İstanbul Governor’s Office banned a pre-scheduled LGBTI pride parade to take place in Taksim on June 19 and 26, after an attack at an Orlando gay nightclub, where a gunman killed 49 people and injured more than 50. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 24, 2017

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