Turkish authorities banned all Pride Week activities in Istanbul in order to “maintain peace and security, and prevent criminal activities,” amid an increasing number of bans on LGBT+ events across the country.
The Kadıköy district governor’s office announced the decision in a statement on its website yesterday. “All activities planned for the 30th Pride Week between June 21-27 have been banned in order to maintain peace and security,” said the statement.
The decision sparked outrage among the LGBT+ community, and the Pride Week Committee said on Twitter they would not give up on Pride Week.
The committee said the police had increased surveillance on Pride events in the last few weeks. Several venues where Pride events were organized were raided by the police under the pretext of “general inspections.”
According to the committee the ban imposed by the governor’s office was the final step. “The Beyoğlu and Kadıköy districts have banned our activities. We would like to thank our lawyers and venues that have allowed us to use their spaces despite the ban,” they said in a statement.
Bugün İstanbul 30. LGBTİ+ Onur Haftasının başlamasıyla beraber güvenlik şubeye bağlı polisler etkinliklerin gerçekleşeceği mekanlara "genel kontrol" adı altında denetim yapmaya çalışmıştır. pic.twitter.com/cdRETjrvav
— İstanbul LGBTİ+ Onur Haftası (@istanbulpride) June 20, 2022
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. After a spectacular Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, the 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 ruling Justice and Development Party (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 in May.