Several hundred people demonstrated today in Istanbul against LGBT people, whose gatherings are now banned in Turkey, noted an AFP photographer.
Gathered at the call of more than a hundred conservative groups and associations, most of them close to the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the demonstrators demanded the banning of associations for the defense of the rights of homosexuals and transgender people.
“Protect your family and your generation”, “We are not going to let those who wage war on the family”, “Say No to the project of a genderless society”, or even “Dad + mom + baby = family”, could be read on signs brandished by the crowd, the majority of whom were veiled, in the conservative district of Fatih.
A commercial supporting the protest had been classified as « of public interest » by Turkey’s Supreme Broadcasting Council, sparking an outcry from human rights groups.
Many Turkish Internet users also shared the message « No to the march of hatred » on Sunday on social networks in solidarity with the LGBT people targeted by the demonstration.
Homosexuality, decriminalized in Turkey since the middle of the 19th century (1858), is not prohibited but remains largely subject to social opprobrium and hostility from the ruling Islamic-conservative party, the AKP, and that of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A minister once called homosexuals « crazy ».
The Turkish government also abandoned a women’s rights treaty, the Istanbul Convention, last year, accusing it of encouraging homosexuality and threatening the traditional family structure.
Since a spectacular parade in 2014 of more than 100,000 people in Istanbul, the Turkish authorities have gradually banned the Pride March, citing security reasons.
Since then, demonstrators who defy the ban have been severely repressed, resulting in raids and arrests.
Last June, more than 200 people were arrested and often mistreated.