Istanbul pride rally in doubt
Istanbul’s 16th gay pride march is set to take place on July 1 but as the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and supporters are in doubt about the event.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office has banned the march since 2015, on the grounds of security and the need to uphold public order. It said the proposed locations were not suitable for gatherings and any attempt to defy the bans met a harsh police response.
Nationalist groups have also opposed pride events on the grounds of public morality and values.
Ankara governor last November banned all LGBT events in the capital and the similar gatherings have been axed in other cities in Turkey.
Human Rights Watch said restrictions on the freedoms of expression, assembly and association for LGBT groups in Turkey violated fundamental human rights and were in violation of its international obligations.
“As a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey should adhere to the council’s standards to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the rights group said.
“A 2010 recommendation provides that members states should ensure everyone can enjoy their freedom of peaceful assembly without any discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“It also says governments should not misuse legal and administrative provisions to impose restrictions on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly on grounds of public health, public morality and public order,” the NGO said.
The trend is likely to become more pronounced as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won Sunday’s elections with the support of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which has emerged as the “kingmaker”.
The MHP allied with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) just before the elections, making the apparent difference with the opposition in both the presidential and parliamentary polls.
Polls predicted that the MHP would not reach the 10-per-cent threshold to enter parliament, although no one should be surprised about inaccurate polling data.
The MHP added its 11.7 per cent of parliamentary votes to the AKP’s 42.6 per cent, helping Erdogan reach a majority coalition. In the presidential race the MHP did not field a candidate and its leader, Devlet Bahceli, asked his supporters to back Erdogan, helping him retain the presidency with 52.6-per-cent support.
Bahceli is tipped to be named as a vice president, while his colleagues are expected to secure ministerial portfolios.
Istanbul’s gay pride events are consigned to history. Picture credit: Wikimedia