Turkey’s capital Ankara has banned public LGBTQ events until further notice, with safety concerns cited for the prohibition.
In a statement by the Ankara Governor’s Office on Sunday, all LGBTQ “cinema, theater performances, panels, interviews and exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province, in order to provide peace and security” from Nov. 18, according to a translation by Hurriyet.
The governor’s office stated it discovered “a number” of LGBTQ events were being planned in the province via social and traditional media, and said they posed issues for public order.
“A part of society with different qualities in terms of social class, race, religion, sect, or region could therefore explicitly incite another part [of the society] to grudges and enmity, posing an open and imminent danger in terms of public safety,” the statement added.
We are outraged by news out of Turkey that the governor of Ankara announced an indefinite ban on all #LGBTQ film screenings, panels & exhibitions & other public events. How can these peaceful events be a threat to public security? This ban must be lifted. https://t.co/ofe2w1Z5wG.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) November 19, 2017
The announcement follows a ban on a LGBTQ film festival, Pink Life QueerFest, organized with the German embassy. The festival was set to take place on Nov. 16 and 17, featuring four films screening in Ankara cinemas.
“Suggesting that these screenings could be provocative or targeted by terror groups only serves to legitimize those people and institutions that produce hate speech towards us and see our existence as a threat,” the festival’s statement reads, as per a translation by Hurriyet.
“It only goes to deprive us of our constitutional rights under the name of ‘protection.'”
In another statement issued by the festival and jointly with Turkish LGBTQ rights organisation KAOS GL on Sunday, it announced that legal proceedings will be taken against the governor’s office on the ban.
“There can be no legitimate or legal grounds for such a wholesale ban that touches the core of rights,” it reads.
“We expect this decision to be rethought and withdrawn in the shortest amount of time. In our country where discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity is rampant, it is the duty of national and local administrations to combat this discrimination and hate.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey. Despite this, Istanbul’s Pride Week has been banned by authorities three years a row.
This year, Istanbul’s governorship also gave public order and safety as reasons for the ban on the LGBTQ event.