Turkey: Istanbul District Also Bans LGBT Events

İstiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu – Image: Zumrasha

A Turkish district governorship in Istanbul banned a film screening event on Friday related to LGBT issues, the day before it was due to start, citing risks to public safety.

“The LGBT+ themed meeting, march, film screening and interview events that will take place on November 25 in Beyoğlu district will not be allowed in order to secure public order and safety, to protect the rights and freedom of other people and to prevent crime,” the Beyoğlu governor’s office said.

It said in a statement that applications for the events had not been submitted.

Following the announcement, a statement from the venue, where the film and interviews were due to take place, said they had been postponed.

Last week, the Turkish capital Ankara banned the public showing of films and exhibitions related to LGBT issues until further notice, the Ankara governor’s office said, also citing risks to public safety.

Gay pride parades have been banned in Istanbul for the last two years. Although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, unlike in many Muslim countries, there is widespread hostility to it.

Civil liberties in Turkey have become a particular concern for the West, after a crackdown following an attempted military coup in July 2016. Since then, more than 50,000 people have been jailed, pending trial, on suspicion of links to the coup. Some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.

Human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies [say] President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to quash his opponents. Ankara says the measures are necessary, given the extent of the security threat it faces.

-Ezgi Erkoyun, Reuters

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