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Turkish minister's gay comments protested in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 3/20/2010 12:00:00 AM | Gül TÜYSÜZ

Roughly 100 people demonstrated on İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul on Saturday in a lively protest against recent controversial comments on homosexuality by a minister.

Roughly 100 people demonstrated on İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul on Saturday in a lively protest against recent controversial comments on homosexuality by a government minister that have drawn significant attention in Turkey and abroad. 

Selma Aliye Kavaf, state minister for families and children, angered Turkey’s gay rights alliance Lambda, when she told daily Hürriyet in an interview earlier this month, “I believe homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease.”  

She also said, “It needs to be treated.”

In the statement it released at the protest, Lambda said it is not homosexuality but homophobia, transphobia and general discrimination that are diseases in need of treatment.  

Lamdaistanbul has also announced that it has nominated Kavaf for its annual “Hormone Tomatoes Homophobia Award.”  

In line with the award’s theme, participants threw rotten, genetically modified tomatoes at Kavaf in effigy. Protestors also chanted and carried signs saying, “Resign Kavaf.”

Nonetheless, the demonstration remained low key and light-hearted. 

“We want the state minister to look at these tomatoes and think about how prejudiced and discriminatory her remarks are towards gays, to whom she has yet to make an apology,” the statement said.  

The document also said the minister should apologize to the gay community if she does not truly wish to win the award.

“Otherwise, to present her with her award, we will personally visit her in Parliament,”according to the protestors.

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