The United States has expressed concern about Turkey’s prevention of a Pride march in Istanbul on Saturday, calling on the country to respect freedom for all, including LGBT persons.
“We are concerned by the recent prevention of the exercise of freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly in Istanbul,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a tweet on Monday.
Price’s statement came after the Turkish police detained more than 30 people during İstanbul’s Pride Week activities over the weekend.
Local authorities banned a Gay Pride rally and all Pride Week events, but hundreds flocked to the streets to march nevertheless. Crowds came together in İstanbul’s famous İstiklal Street, but the police dispersed the crowds and detained people carrying rainbow flags and symbols. Police used tear gas and fired rubber bullets to disperse the protestors.
“We remain committed to promoting human rights and call on Turkish authorities to respect fundamental freedoms for all, including LGBTQI+ persons,” Price added.
Turkey was ranked 48th among 49 countries as regards the human rights of LGBT people, according to the 2021 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread.
After a Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, the government responded by banning future events in the city, citing security concerns.