Pride Week activities to be banned in İstanbul over concerns of ‘protecting the family’: governor

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)

İstanbul’s newly appointed governor has announced that Pride Week activities in the city will not be allowed, citing concerns about the “protection of the family,” Turkish Minute reported.

Governor Davut Gül, who was appointed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this month, tweeted on Friday that no activities threatening the family, which he described as “the guarantee of the nation and the state,” would be allowed and that the police would take action against groups that hold demonstrations without a permit.


LGBTI+ groups had planned to hold two Pride marches in İstanbul this year. One of them was to be held on June 18, while the other, the 21st Pride March, would take place on June 25.

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 being warned” and up to three years in prison for taking part in the Pride marches.

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.

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 LGBT people, according to the 2022 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe.

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