Authorities block Pride March in second Istanbul location

The Governorate of Istanbul has turned down an application for the LGBTI+ Pride March to be held in the district of Bakırköy, after blocking the march from being held in the town centre, Turkish independent news outlet Artı Gerçek reported on Friday.

The Pride March had been held peacefully in Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue in the town centre between 2003 and 2014. The popular event has faced a de facto ban in the city centre since 2015, as the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government took a firm line against demonstrations and gatherings in Taksim.

This year’s application to hold the event in Taksim was rejected on the grounds that the area has not been zoned for marches and demonstrations. This week, the Istanbuk LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee applied to hold the event in Bakırköy, an area which has the necessary permissions.

The governorate rejected the application, stating that the march could lead to “provocative” demonstrations and may infringe on laws protecting residents’ “peace and security”.

Amnesty International launched a signature campaign this month to demand the march goes ahead.

Smaller Pride demonstrations held in Taksim in recent years have been met with heavy police interventions.