Defying Bans, Pride Marches in Turkey Witness Massive Participation and Detentions: A Display of Resilience and Strength

Unyielding Spirit: Pride Marches in Turkey Stand Tall Amidst Bans and Detentions

Defying Bans, Pride Marches in Turkey Witness Massive Participation and Detentions: A Display of Resilience and Strength


Hundreds of LGBTQ+ community members and allies took to the streets in Turkey for Pride marches, despite official bans. The events, marked by detentions and a display of solidarity, highlight the community’s resolve to fight for their rights.

On June 25, the streets of Izmir and Istanbul in Turkey were flooded with colors and determination as hundreds of LGBTQ+ community members and allies defied official bans to participate in Pride marches. This marked a significant moment in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights in a country where the government has consistently opposed such events.

Istanbul’s governor, Davut Gül, had earlier stated that the event would “weaken the family institution.” However, this did not deter the spirited participants who waved flags, displayed placards, and even hung a giant rainbow flag from a multi-storey car park. The placards carried messages such as “Run Tayyip, run. Queers are coming,” taking a dig at Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Can Kortun, a member of the Istanbul Pride committee, spoke to Euronews about the resilience and strength of the community. “They are aware of our strength and numbers. They are aware of the change we can accomplish,” Kortun said, highlighting the fear and refusal to communicate exhibited by the authorities.

The marches, however, were met with a heavy-handed response from the police, who blocked public transport and access to certain roads. A total of 113 people were arrested in Istanbul and at least 52 in Izmir, as reported by Human Rights Watch. While most of those detained were released after a few hours, the whereabouts of five foreign nationals remain unknown.

The Pride marches in Turkey come at a time when LGBTQ+ rights have been a focal point in the country’s political discourse. President Erdoğan has previously made derogatory comments about the queer community, and the government has proposed altering the constitution to define marriage strictly as a union between a man and a woman.

Hugh Williamson, the director of Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch, condemned the actions of the Turkish government. He stated, “Banning Pride celebrations and detaining people for attempting to march is a flagrant violation of the right to peaceful assembly and expression, and further evidence of the Turkish government’s vitriolic campaign against LGBT people.”

Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s regional director for Europe, also expressed concern over the crackdown on Pride events and the escalating anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in Turkey.

As the world watches, the LGBTQ+ community in Turkey continues to fight for their rights and freedom. The Pride marches serve as a testament to their unyielding spirit and determination to create a more inclusive and accepting society. Through their collective voices and actions, they send a powerful message of resilience and hope.

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