Turkey bans all gay festivals, forums, exhibitions on security grounds in Ankara

The Ankara Governor’s Office has banned all gay festivals, screenings, forums and exhibitions on security grounds, according to the BBC news. The governor’s office said on Sunday that the decision was made in order to “protect public order and sensitivities.”

[“From Saturday] 18 November until further notice, all film and theatre events, screenings, panels, colloquium, exhibitions, etc… have been banned,” the city administration said on its website.

The announcement came only several days after the German LGBT Film Days which was due to run on November 16-17 in Turkish Capital Ankara, was banned by the governor’s office over “possible incitement of hatred and hostility among people.”

According to Turkish media, the festival, scheduled to be held on November 16-17 in Ankara, has been cancelled after the governor’s office received a tip regarding the scheduled films which “may be in conflict with the social values of the majority.”

The statement also said that the film festival “may openly incite sections of the population to enmity or hatred towards another group on the basis of social class, race, religion, or sectarian or regional difference, in a manner which may present a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety.”

LGBT groups in Turkey seem to be having difficult times due to ever-increasing political pressure. This is not the first time and LGBT activity was banned by the Turkish government.

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

“The application for the parade was not properly submitted to our office in accordance with Law 2911. There is also serious criticism of this parade from various segments of society on social media,” said the statement issued by the governor’s office.

“In line with our assessment, and taking into consideration the safety of residents and tourists in the area as well as public order, it will not be permitted to hold the parade or to gather and protest on that day, before that day or after that day.”

The ban came days after the Alperen Ocakları, an offshoot of Turkish nationalist movement the Grey Wolves (Ülkü Ocakları), announced that they would not allow LGBTI members to hold the pride parade.

“Even if the government permits it, we will not let them walk,” said Kürşat Mican, İstanbul 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. (turkeypurge.com)

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