The Turkish capital of Ankara on Monday banned all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender events, citing what it called public sensitivity and a danger to public safety.
A statement from the Ankara Governor’s Office, published by the website LGBTI Life Turkwey on Sunday, called for a “ban until further notice” on LGBT “cinema, theater performances, panels, interviews and exhibitions.”
The indefinite ban came four days after a gay film festival featuring four films by German directors was abruptly canceled over what authorities called “public safety and terrorism risks.” The film festival was supported by the German embassy in Ankara.
“It was decided that the aforementioned social media shares might deliberately incite a certain segment of society with different characteristics of social class, race, religion, sect or region against another segment of society,” the government statement said. “This might lead to imminent peril with regards to public security, that also it can harm the protection of other people’s rights and liberties, public health and morality as well as of public order, prevention of crime, and therefore there may be reactions and provocations against the groups and individuals taking part in the organization due to certain social sensibilities.”
Gay pride parades have been banned in Istanbul for the past two years.
Two pro-gay groups in Turkey — Kaos GL and Pink Life — reacted by saying, “With this announcement the civil administration is endangering public safety by turning LGBTIs and civil society organizations, who are an important part of the public, into targets instead of fulfilling its duty to ensure public security.”
Unlike many Muslim-majority countries, Turkey does not consider homosexuality a crime. There is, however, widespread hostility and activists say the LGBT population faces stigmatization and discrimination.
By Ed Adamczyk