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Mar 05 2019

Turkish TV station pulls the plug on show after interview defending LGBT rights

A Turkish Islamist television station said it would take a show off air following an interview with an opposition party mayoral candidate who spoke of the need to protect the country’s LGBT community, opposition news outlet Oda TV reported.

Viewers reacted angrily on social media to host Çağlar Cilara’s interview with Alper Taş, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate for mayor of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul on TV5, an Islamist station, the site said on Monday.

Cilara was accused of making LGBT propaganda during the interview, in which Taş accused the Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of hypocrisy on gay and transgender issues.

"We are going to ensure that they live in a humane fashion … What is it that causes you to have so much anger towards the LGBT community? They are created by God and they are his servants, too. How is it their fault if they have been created as such?” Taş asked on TV5.

TV5 issued a statement saying Taş’s views were his own and did not reflect the views of the station. Cilara’s programme would be taken off air, it said.

Cilara took to Twitter to say his stint with TV5 was over, but he would continue to ask questions.

"My TV5 adventure is over. Journalists in Turkey are victims of polarisation, conflict and noise,” Cilara said.