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Erdoğan targets LGBT community, says Turkey needs much larger population

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted the LGBT community and emphasized the need for a larger population in Turkey in a recent speech at a family council held at his presidential palace in Ankara on Thursday, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.

Erdoğan said there’s no room for LGBT ideology within the People’s Alliance, an election alliance that included Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and far-right and radical Islamic parties. He criticized what he termed “deviant currents” that are “targeting the institution of the family” and declared that Turkey will not allow global gender-neutral policies to take root in the country.

Erdoğan also touched on the subject of Turkey’s population, stating that the current figure of 85 million is insufficient.

“We need a much larger population,” he said, although he did not elaborate on why this is necessary.

The president expressed concerns about the fact that age of marriage is rising, divorce rates are increasing and the average number of children per family is decreasing in Turkey.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout modern Turkey’s history, gay people regularly face harassment and abuse.

In recent years LGBT events have been prohibited, including Istanbul Pride, which was banned in 2014 after taking place every year since 2003.

Authorities suspended the scholarships of students who attended an LGBT parade two years ago.

Turkey was ranked 48th among 49 countries as regards the human rights of LGBT people, according to the 2022 Rainbow Europe Map published by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe in May.

In a controversial sermon in April 2020 Ali Erbaş, the head of Turkey’s top religious authority, the Diyanet, which runs mosques and appoints imams, claimed that homosexuality caused HIV and that all the evil and pandemics in the world are caused by homosexuality.

President Erdoğan stood behind Erbaş’s remarks targeting the LGBT community at the time. Government officials also engaged in hateful rhetoric against the community in the run-up to this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.

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