Turkey’s LGBT Community Lives in Fear Following Election Rhetoric
The recent election in Turkey witnessed a surge in campaign speeches that specifically targeted the country’s LGBT community. The election’s winner, President Tayyip Erdogan, constantly denounced “perverse” LGBT organisations and vowed to uphold traditional family values. Many LGBT people are now living in constant fear of police raids as a result of such language, and others are even considering fleeing the country. In-depth discussion of the LGBT community’s growing anxieties, the potential for a legal crackdown, and the mounting pressure they experience in Turkey is provided in this article.
The opposition coalition was characterized as “pro-LGBT” in the president Erdogan’s AK Party’s election campaign messaging. Although Erdogan’s supporters claim that the constitution protects LGBTQ people, the reality for many in the community is far different. Since the Istanbul Pride march was outlawed in 2015, LGBT activists and human rights advocates claim that hostility and prejudice against Turkey’s LGBT community have been progressively rising. As a result, more people are thinking about fleeing the country due to their sense of insecurity and potential danger to their lives.
LGBT activists and community members claim that discrimination has never been this blatant and pervasive. A recent incident was the cancellation of a showing of the movie “Pride,” which shows support for striking miners in 1980s Britain between LGBT activists. The police roped off the street where the screening was taking place, causing it to be interrupted, and several people were detained as a result. The district governor defended the decision, asserting that the movie violated “national and moral values” and might cause public disturbances.
Rights activists contend that the campaign’s tone is hate speech because it targets the LGBT population. They raise worries about upcoming legal changes that might make LGBT activity illegal as well as the potential for more physical violence against the community. Erdogan’s victory did not result in revisions to the law, although officials have previously stopped Istanbul Pride events and jailed attendees. The recent rejection of a picnic planned by an LGBT student organization in Izmir serves as further evidence of the community’s expanding restrictions.
The British director of the movie “Pride,” Matthew Warchus, expressed his support for Turkey’s LGBT community and said that the movie epitomises bravery, empathy, and tolerance. Turkish LGBT activists are tenacious and motivated to carry on with their activism without ceasing. European officials have expressed worry that the closure or restriction of LGBT organisations poses a serious threat to Turkey’s civil society.
As a result of the Turkish police’s detention of more than 50 people following Istanbul’s annual Pride march, tensions between President Tayyip Erdogan’s administration and the LGBTQ+ community in the country have increased. Following his election victory, Erdogan and the AK Party, which has Islamist roots, have taken a harder stance on LGBTQ+ liberties, accusing opposition parties of being “pro-LGBT.” Police in riot gear blocked entry to Taksim Square in the city centre as well as the usual location, Istiklal Avenue, on the day of the Pride march. Streets close by were blocked up, and local public transport was stopped.
Regardless, a large crowd assembled in Mistik Park in the Sisli area, flying rainbow and transgender flags and chanting proclamations. In honour of Pride Week, organisers made a statement, and a big rainbow flag was flown over a nearby multi-story parking garage. According to the organizers, police detained around 50 people when the demonstrators went to the Sisli district streets. At least one person suffered a brain injury during the police detentions, according to the Turkey office of Amnesty International.
The recent election statements in Turkey have exacerbated the prejudice and hatred experienced by the LGBT community. Some LGBT people have begun to think about fleeing the nation due to their dread of police raids, the potential for legal repercussions, and the increasing pressure they are facing. Although the government claims that it doesn’t influence people’s personal decisions, the reality on the ground says otherwise.
Reassessing Turkey’s commitment to human rights and inclusivity is necessary in light of the increased discrimination against the LGBT community and the dangers to their safety.