Istanbul LGBTI protest on Monday
The Turkish authorities have again cracked down on the LGBTI community following their ban on Pride events this month.
On Sunday, riot police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse people taking part in Istanbul’s seventh Trans Pride rally.
The move comes after officials banned Pride events from taking place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement, the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association said this was simply an “excuse” to impinge on the rights of the LGBTI community. They argue that the state has a responsibility to ensure that people can exercise their freedoms.
“None of us are safe in a country where jihadist terrorist groups move freely, where borders are opened from one end to the other, where militants are treated in hospitals and sent back to the war zone,” they said.
“Within this reality, the situation of trans society is in an even worse state. Trans individuals who cannot camouflage themselves in social life are turned into targets and are deprived of all their fundamental rights,” said the activists.
No-one appears to have been seriously injured in the police action and those who were detained have now been released.
The annual Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade was set to take place on June 26, but is among the recently banned events. Last year, it was also disrupted by riot police.
The authorities have justified their ban because they say they are unable to guarantee public order and security following threats by ultra-nationalists and extremist religious groups.
“Of course the security of the participants, public and police attending Pride marches is vital and all confirmed intelligence must be acted upon,” commented Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, Brian Sheehan.
“But anti-terrorism laws must not be used as a veil to disguise anti-LGBTI sentiment. We call on the European institutions to act on these developments in Turkey immediately and ensure that fundamental freedoms are preserved in every part of Europe.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but there is no legal recognition of same-sex relationships and LGBT people still face widespread social and legal discrimination.