Turkish police prevented LGBTI+ people from holding a demonstration in İstanbul’s Taksim Square on Sunday and briefly detained 10 of the participants based on a ban from the city’s governor’s office, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.
Police took increased security measures around the Taksim neighborhood in the early hours of Sunday to prevent the protestors from reaching Taksim Square, where they planned to hold the 9th Trans Pride March following a six-year break.
On Friday İstanbul’s newly appointed governor, Davut Gül, announced that Pride Week activities in the city would not be allowed, citing concerns about the “protection of the family.” He tweeted that no activities threatening the family, which he described as “the guarantee of the nation and the state,” would be allowed and that the police would take action against groups that hold demonstrations without a permit.
The intended participants of Sunday’s march were eventually prevented by the police from reaching their destination, with roadblocks in the streets leading to the square and metro service to the square suspended.
Confrontations took place between police and the protestors who resisted calls to disperse. Ten people including a minor were detained.
The police also prevented journalists from recording the incidents.
The detained protestors were released from police custody on Sunday night.
“We took our friends back. We don’t care about your unlawful bans,” the organizers of the march announced on Twitter.
— 9. İstanbul Trans Onur Haftası (@tprideistanbul) June 18, 2023
LGBTI+ groups had planned to hold two Pride marches in İstanbul this year. One of them was to be held on Sunday, while the other, the 21st Pride March, a larger event drawing thousands of people, would take place on June 25.
Turkey’s LGBTI+ community has also faced bans and police interventions in other cities in the country. June is celebrated as Pride Month around the world during which events and demonstrations are held to demands more freedoms for LGBTI+ people and improve their visibility.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. After a spectacular Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government responded by banning future events in the city, citing security concerns.
It is common for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other politicians from the AKP to attack LGBTI+ individuals and accuse them of perversion and ruining family values.