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4 minors among 205 detained for attending events during Pride Month in Turkey

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Two hundred five people, including four minors, were detained by police at Pride Month events recently held across Turkey, local media reported on Wednesday, citing an information note released by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV).

The TİHV document, which focused on rights violations taking place during Pride Month events held between June 2 and June 27, said police intervened in at least nine marches, detaining 205 protestors using force and ill-treatment.

Local authorities banned all Pride Month events in Kocaeli, İzmir and Eskişehir provinces, as well as in the Datça district of Muğla, the TİHV said, adding that four specific events were banned by the Şişli and Kadıköy district governors’ offices in İstanbul and the rector’s office at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in Ankara.

The İstanbul and İzmir governors released statements on social media announcing that Pride Marches, which they described as “a threat to our nation and the institution of the family” and as being “contrary to laws and societal values,” would not be permitted.

According to the TİHV information note, there were attempted attacks on two events organized by bar associations in Ankara and İzmir, and three concerts by musicians in Bursa and Denizli provinces were canceled over the homophobic reactions they faced due to their statements.

TİHV further said that the Security General Directorate (EGM) on June 17 filed a criminal complaint against Green Left Party (YSP) İstanbul MP Özgül Saki, who criticized the police intervention during the İstanbul Trans Pride March.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. After a spectacular Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government responded by banning future events in the city, citing security concerns.

It is common for Erdoğan and other politicians from the AKP to attack LGBTI+ individuals and accuse them of perversion and ruining family values.

Turkey was ranked 48th among 49 countries as regards the human rights of LGBT people, according to the 2023 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe.

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