Turkey bans all LGBT events in capital city Ankara due to “public sensitivity”

via Flickr

“Starting from Nov. 18, 2017, concerning our community’s public sensitivity, any events such as LGBT cinema, theatre, panels, interviews, exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province to provide peace and security.” 

Earlier this week, Turkish officials banned a festival of gay German-language films to be held in capital city Ankara.

Pink Life QueerFest had scheduled four movies in cinemas across the Turkish city of Ankara on 16 and 17 November, with all of the movies by German directors.

Ankara’s governor’s office said: “Considering that the content could incite grudges and enmity toward a part of society… and the intelligence reports that terror organizations are seeking to attack dissentient groups or individuals, it is evaluated that this film screening could be provocative and draw reactions.”

Now, just days after, Ankara has placed a ban on all LGBT events, for an “indefinite” period.

A statement read: “Starting from Nov. 18, 2017, concerning our community’s public sensitivity, any events such as LGBT cinema, theatre, panels, interviews, exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province to provide peace and security.”

Ankara’s ban on LGBT events is likely to cause protests, and deepen citizen’s concerns over “civil liberties” under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

karendesuyo via Flickr

Earlier this week, President Erdogan slammed a County Council in the Nulifer district of the city Bursa, which aims to get LGBT+ people more representation in politics.

Unlike many other Muslim countries, homosexuality is not banned in Turkey, and despite the country being home to numerous LGBTI associations, homophobia is widespread.

Turkey’s annual Pride parade in Istanbul has been banned for the past three years, with the last successful event taking place in 2014, with a turnout of over 100,000 people – making it one of the biggest LGBT celebrations held in a Muslim country.

LGBT supporters who showed up this year, out of protest, were charged with participating in an “unauthorised demonstration”.

“Our security cannot be provided by imprisoning us behind walls, asking us to hide,” organisers said. “Our security will be provided by recognising us in the constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom.”

Last year, a march to honour the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting was disrupted when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at activists.

Related: Gay Syrian man found beheaded in Turkey. 

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