Members of the LGBTQ community wave rainbow-colored flags and shout slogans during the unauthorized Pride March in Istanbul, Turkey, June 25, 2023. (Photo YASIN AKGUL / AFP ) YASIN AKGUL / AFP
“We exist, we are here, my love! » announced on Twitter the lesbian association Solidarité mauve. The LGBTQ+ Pride March defied the ban and marched by avoiding the police for another year, Sunday, June 25, in Istanbul, Turkey, a month after elections marked by a virulent homophobic campaign from the presidential camp.
A few hundred protesters waving rainbow flags, including two hundred in the upscale Nisantashi neighborhood, according to an Agence France-Presse photographer, marched smoothly. They avoided the emblematic Taksim Square, once a hotbed of Istanbul protests, sealed off in the morning. As every year now, the Pride March had been banned by the governor of the city, but the demonstrators gathered several hours before the announced start of the mobilization, in places carefully silenced until the last moment.
The organizers were pleased with their “21st Pride Parade Despite Ban”. They reported about forty arrests from the start of the rallies, but this number has not been confirmed by official sources. By 2022, more than two hundred people had been arrested.
Since a spectacular parade that brought together more than 100,000 people in Istanbul in 2014, the Turkish authorities have gradually banned the Pride March, citing security reasons.
The LGBT community regularly attacked
Homosexuality, decriminalized in Turkey since the middle of the 19th century (1858), remains largely subject to social opprobrium and the target of hostility from the ruling Islamic-conservative party, the AKP. Throughout the campaign that led to his re-election on May 28, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stigmatized the LGBTQ+ communities, which he copiously whistled until the evening of his victory, accusing them of wanting to destroy the family. traditional.
The Head of State hardly held a single meeting without attacking the gay and trans communities. In September 2022, more than a hundred conservative groups and associations, mostly close to the government, had called a demonstration to demand the banning of gay and transgender rights groups. Several hundred people were then able, without hindrance, to meet in the conservative district of Fatih, on the European side.