Ankara ban on Pride events overturned for the second time

A Turkish Administrative Court has for the second time overturned an Ankara governorate ban on LGBTI+ activities including Pride marches, LGBTI+ film festivals and conferences, said Star Observer on Saturday.

In November 2017, the Ankara governorate imposed an indefinite, blanket ban on Pride events, "public morality" and "social sensitivity and sensibilities” and relying on powers under the state of emergency, which had been passed in the wake of the failed 2016 military coup against the government and has now been lifted.

The producers of QueerFest said at the time: “This decision deprives us of our constitutional rights under the disguise of ‘protecting’ LGBTI individuals.”

The LGBTI Associations of Ankara appealed the ban at the Administrative Court, who in April 2019 ruled that the ban was illegal and said that "the public order can be preserved by not imposing a ban but taking the necessary measures."

Despite the court’s ruling, the Ankara Government subsequently imposed a second ban on Pride events in 2019, citing unspecified security concerns.

On March 23, 2020 the Administrative Court again overturned the ban as the Ankara governor’s office was unable to provide evidence that justified the ban, said Star Observer.

In 2019 the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA) said that Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia were the worst ranked countries in Europe for LGBTI rights. The association ranked a list of 49 nations based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people.

Turkey's LGBTI community has long been subjected to state harassment and widespread discrimination. 

Turkish officials have described homosexuality as “a disease,” and have rejected proposals for legal protections for LBGTI citizens. Prominent government officials frequently make homophobic comments.