Turkey ranked among most repressive in LGBT rights index

Turkey received one of the worst scores in Europe in the 2024 edition of the Rainbow Index released by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), scoring 4.75 out of 100, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Friday.

Turkey was ranked 47th out of 49 countries, followed only by Azerbaijan and Russia.

The index examines the situation of LGBT rights in countries based on several categories such as safeguards against discrimination, marriage rights for same-sex couples, legal gender recognition, civil society space and the right to asylum.

ILGA said that throughout 2023 Turkish politicians, particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made numerous inflammatory comments aimed at encouraging anti-LGBT hatred as part of their election campaign.

The group pointed out that the parliamentary elections of May resulted in the entry of two new anti-LGBT parties into the parliament and that the opposition was hesitant to defend LGBT rights.

The report also said pro-government media as well as the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), the country’s media regulator, also played a role in promoting hatred of LGBT individuals.

ILGA accused law enforcement of failing to protect LGBT people against hate crimes, resulting in widespread impunity.

The group also highlighted the restrictions imposed on Pride marches and the violent police interventions that led to many detentions.

Turkey’s score has been on a downward trajectory since the index’s first edition in 2013, when the country scored 14.15 percent, ranking above 10 European countries.

The increase in hateful rhetoric against LGBT communities in Turkey coincided with Erdoğan’s electoral alliances in recent years with ultranationalist and ultraconservative political factions.

While Turkey does not criminalize non-heterosexual relations and gender nonconformity, it also does not grant any form of legal recognition to same-sex couples.

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