Dec 20 2017

Turkish state of emergency used to silence LGBTQ groups - activist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government is using state of emergency powers to prosecute what it sees as undesirable groups, and to silence the country’s gay and transgender community, the LGBT news website Washington Blade said.

Efe Songun, a Human Rights Global Campaign Fellow, wrote that Turkish municipalities have banned gay pride events since 2015, and authorities have resorted to force and violence to intimidate protestors.

The state of emergency, issued after the July 2016 abortive coup, “gave Turkish authorities the justification to start prosecuting any ‘undesirable’ individual or groups,” Songun said.

The ban on the German LGBTQ Film Festival in Ankara in November and greater restrictions on the gay community, including on exhibitions or screenings at universities, Songun wrote, were part of a worrying decline.

Despite the ban, LGBTQ communities in Turkey plan to go ahead with the Kuir Fest film festival in January.

“I trust those successful efforts will refuel the movement as it continues its fight for equality,” Songun wrote.