Pro- AKP, not LGBT youth, to carry Turkey into future - Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday said it was the youth of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who would carry the country into the future and not the LGBT community, Birgün newspaper reported.

Erdoğan’s remarks arrive two days after the arrest of four students at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University over artwork that reportedly depicted LGBT rainbow symbols alongside an image of the Islamic holy site of the Kaaba.

"We will carry our youth to the future, not as LGBT youth, but like the youth from this country's glorious past. You are not LGBT youth," Erdoğan said addressing AKP youth groups in a provincial congress address via video.

"You are not the youth who vandalizes, but those who mend vandalized hearts," Erdoğan added, in an apparent reference to the latest developments at Boğaziçi.

The arrests late Saturday arrived after Turkish officials slammed the poster displayed an exhibition in Turkey's most prestigious university, where students and faculty for weeks have been protesting Erdoğan’s appointment of a new AKP-linked rector, leading to clashes with police.

"We do not otherise, judge or carry animosity for anyone,’’ Erdoğan said. "We respect every view and idea, as long as it is not contaminated by terror or deviance.’’

On Saturday, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu took to Twitter to label the four students arrested over the LGBT flags as  "deviants,’’ in move that sparked an angry response from some on social media, who said it constituted hate speech.

France banned access to Soylu’s tweet, citing hate speech.