Turkish NGO files complaint against Diyanet head over homosexuality comments

The Ankara-based Human Rights Association (İHD) has filed a criminal complaint against the head of Turkey’s top religious body for hate speech that targeted the LGBT community.

Ali Erbaş, president of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) spoke on the LGBT community while addressing the COVID-19 pandemic during a sermon on Friday, the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“Islam curses homosexuality,” Erbaş said. “Homosexuality brings with it illnesses and decay to lineage. Let’s work together to protect people from such evil.”

The words of the state-run directorate’s head constitute hate speech, T24 news site quoted the İHD Ankara office as saying. 

“The state is responsible for preventing hate crimes, prejudice and social gender-based inequality,” the NGO said, calling on all related government agencies to assist in removing Erbaş from his post and for an investigation to be launched against him.

Following an Istanbul gay pride march in 2019, Erbaş had said that the “concept of accepting homosexuality” would contradict the creation process as it would prompt women to no longer want to be mothers and men to steer clear of becoming fathers.