Urgent: Pride celebrations must go ahead in Turkey
A huge colorful parade on a busy street to celebrate pride – this is what LGBTI people in Turkey in several cities, including Istanbul, Izmir and Mersin want to enjoy this year.
However, these peaceful celebrations are at risk once again. On 14 June the governorate of Izmir banned all Pride events, followed by the governorate of Antalya the next day. Pride events in other cities have been prevented or are also at risk of being banned, including in Istanbul, where Pride is at risk for the fifth year in a row.
These unlawful bans are not the first ones of their kind in Turkey. 2014 was the last year Istanbul Pride went ahead when over 90,000 people attended a vibrant, inclusive and peaceful march. The blanket ban on all LGBTI events in Ankara was only lifted by a court decision more than a year after Ankara governorate issued it. Pride march organized by students at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara on 10 May 2019 was violently broken up by police. Organizers of the Antalya Pride march had to cancel the event planned for 16 July following the governorate’s ban the day before.
Unfortunately, time and again, authorities in Turkey are arbitrarily trampling over rights guaranteed under Turkey’s own laws as well as international conventions that the country has signed up to.
The planned Pride marches in all cities in Turkey must be allowed to go ahead and be protected. It is time for LGBTI people in Turkey and their allies to start celebrating Pride again. And they need our support now more than ever.
The Minister of Interior must ensure that Pride marches in all cities in Turkey take place safely and protect the right to peaceful assembly without discrimination.