In a crackdown on liberalism and a return to conservatism, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided this weekend that all events organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights groups in the country’s capital are banned for an “indefinite” period.
The new law, which took immediate effect applies to all LGBTI film screenings, theatres, panels, and exhibitions.
According to an official statement of the governor of Ankara, the ban was imposed to “protect public security,” as those events could cause animosity between different groups and endanger “health and morality” as well as the rights and freedoms of others.
Homosexuality is not banned in Turkey, unlike many other Muslim nations, but numerous LGBT associations that are legally registered with the state that gay individuals face discrimination and stigma in Turkey. Homophobia remains widespread
Turkey has seen a return to conservatism ever since the failed coup against President Erdogan last year. In June 2016 there was a military coup for which the organization of banned cleric Gülen is blamed. Mr Gülen is holding residency in the US, and Turkey has multiple times already requested US authorities hand him over for questioning.
Over the summer, police in Istanbul had blocked attempts by organisers to hold a banned Gay Pride march. At that time, the organisers of the annual event vowed to press ahead despite the ban by the authorities, who had cited threats from far-right groups.
But police fired rubber bullets to disperse the marchers and detained a number of them.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party is rooted in conservative Islam, publicly continues to deny wanting to impose traditional religious values, saying he is committed to secularism. But at the same time, he has been accused of growing authoritarianism in recent years.