Last minute ban on Pride in the Turkish city of Izmir has prompted concerns that the event may also be halted in Istanbul
The Izmir Governorate in Turkey issued a ban on last weekend’s Pride parade mere hours before the event was scheduled to begin. The Governorate cited the threat of terrorism as the ostensible motivation for the ban. They reported that they had received “partially confirmed” intelligence information that the parade could be used to spread propaganda and that the security forces and general public could be attacked.
Believing the report to be politically motivated the LGBT community in Izmir went ahead with an anti-homophobia march. No terrorism incidents were reported.
The ban has been seen by LGBT activists in Turkey as a case of using the spectre of terrorism to veil anti-LGBT sentiment in the repressive country. While homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, homophobia remains widespread.
The Izmir ban has cast a dark cloud over the proposed June 26 event in Istanbul. Last year’s march saw violent clashes with the police, water cannoning, and the participants were partially dispersed for no stated reason.
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