The Guardian reports that on Sunday, November 19, Ankara’s governor’s office released a statement saying that it was imposing a ban on all LGBT+ events for fear of “provoking reactions within certain segments of society.”
The ban, which applies to all LGBT+ cultural events – such as a recently cancelled German-language film festival – is set to last for an “indefinite” period.
Critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development (AK) party say the ban is the party’s latest attempt to curtail the freedoms of LGBT citizens. Last week, Erdogan dismissed a plan, introduced opposition party CHP, to introduce minimum “gay quota” amongst municipal employees.
Turkish LGBT organisations say there are “no legitimate or legal grounds for such a wholesale ban that touches the core of rights.” Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since 1923.
“We are facing a situation that is vague, open to interpretation and rights violations, criminalising LGBTI existence,” said Ankara-based LGBT organisations’ Pink Life and Kaos GL in a statement.
“This ban, which goes beyond limiting the areas of activity of these institutions and making them inoperable, cannot be accepted in a democratic society.
“This decision and the illegal and vague grounds for it violate the very fundamental freedom of expression and association as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms. With this ban, fundamental rights have been interfered with in their essence.”
The groups say they will begin legal proceedings against the governement’s ban.
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