Turkish LGBT Activists Arrested for Defying Ban on Pride Marches P-admin Atheist Republic

Read More Atheist Republic On June 26, despite banning Pride parades and other similar events, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, to demonstrate the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer communities. The Turkish authorities attacked and arrested many before the rally began.
Pride marches have been banned in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, since 2015. Still, hundreds of protesters gathered with rainbow flags in the streets around Taksim Square, a location specifically known for being the epicenter of protests against the regime. The location was closed to the public, and the transport was shut down hours ahead of the march. They defied the police barricades and marched through the streets of the Cihangir neighborhood for about an hour. The crowd raised the slogans, “The future is queer,” and “We are here. We are queer. We are not going anywhere.” Residents banged pots and pans from their windows and balconies to show their support.
According to the parade organizers, the Turkish police arrested 373 participants on Sunday at the Pride march in Istanbul. According to several eye-witnesses, the police tried to prevent the press from filming the conflict. A veteran award-winning AFP photojournalist, Bulent Kilic, was arrested at the scene. As authorities pushed him into a police van with other journalists and participants, Kilic’s shirt was ripped off in the altercation. He was also arrested for similar circumstances during the Pride march last year.

Onur Yürüyüşü’nü takip eden AFP foto muhabiri, müvekkilimiz Bülent Kılıç ters kelepçe ile gözaltına alındı.Our client AFP photojournalist Bülent Kılıç has been taken into police custody while covering the #İstanbulPride. His hands were cuffed behind his back. https://t.co/hOWre0MooR pic.twitter.com/ur2T9Evu1h
— MLSA (@mlsaturkey) June 26, 2022
On June 24, Friday, The European Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, called for an end to the stigma of the LGBT community and had urged the “authorities to repeal Istanbul Pride’s latest ban and to ensure the safety and the right to peaceful assembly of marchers,”
Amnesty International Turkey campaigner Milena Buyum said, “All those detained solely for their participation in Pride must be released immediately and unconditionally,”
Kaos GL Association, a pro-human rights organization that advocates for the LGBTQ community, released a statement on Twitter that all 373 people that the police arrested were released on Sunday, most of them after spending “a night in custody.”
Istanbul Pride has taken place every year since 2003. After the spectacular Pride parade in Istanbul in 2014 with more than 100,000 participants, the Turkish authorities have repeatedly banned the event, officially stating “security reasons.” Nonetheless, vast crowds of LGBTQ supporters gather yearly at the end of Pride Month.
Homosexuality has been decriminalized in Turkey since 1858 and is legally not an offense nor prohibited, but it remains a subject of social stigma. The LGBTQ communities have faced the hostility of the fundamentalists in the country since the Islamic-conservative government led by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came into power. In 2021, Erdogan criticized the LGBTQ movements and activists in the country, stating that the community was undermining Turkey’s national and spiritual values and were “poisoning” the youth. Last year, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called LGBT people “degenerates” on Twitter.

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