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Turkey’s media watchdog approves broadcast of anti-LGBT public ad

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Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), has approved the broadcast of an anti-LGBT public advertisement by an İstanbul-based association working to promote family values, a RTÜK member has announced.

RTÜK member Tuncay Keser announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the board with a majority of votes at its Wednesday meeting approved the broadcast of a public advertisement for an event titled “Stop LGBT propaganda,” organized by the İstanbul Family Foundation.

The public advertisement concerns this event, to be held in İstanbul’s Saraçhane neighborhood on Sept. 17, which calls for a ban on LGBT propaganda “for our children, families and humanity.”

Keser said RTÜK made the decision despite the fact that its responsibilities include making sure that broadcasts do not target gender equality.

RTÜK’s decision comes at a time when the anti-LGBT sentiment is running high in Turkey, with many making homophobic comments over the open lesbian identity of a player, Ebrar Karakurt, on the Turkish national women’s volleyball team, which recently won a European championship victory.

Some conservative and religious figures went as far as describing the championship title as “tainted by lesbianism.”

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 LGBT individuals and accuse them of perversion and ruining family values. He also made anti-LGBT propaganda a central part of his re-election campaign in May.

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