Governor’s Office bans LGBT Pride March in Istanbul
This file photo shows members of LGBT community marching on Taksim's İstiklal Street.
Istanbul Governor’s Office has announced that it will not allow the LGBT Pride March, which was set to take place on June 25 in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, citing security concerns and public order.
“Taksim Square and its surroundings that a call was made for a march are not among the assembly and demonstration areas announced by our governor’s office. In addition, no application that suits the methods was made to our governor’s office,” the statement released from the governor’s read on June 24, as it added that “there are serious reactions against the march.”
“It was seen that there are serious criticisms against this march from different fractions of the society on social media. As a result of the evaluations carried out by our governor’s office, an assembly and demonstration march won’t be allowed on the day in question or before and after it taking the security of the participants, citizens and the tourists in the area and public order into account,” it also read.
The authorities also called on the people to not give credit to the call to march.
“It’s significant that our dear Istanbul residents help the security officers by abiding by their calls and warnings,” the statement added.
The planned LGBT Pride March in Istanbul had drawn threats from the Turkish ultranationalist groups.
The Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), threatened the LGBT Pride March, vowing to prevent it from taking place.
“If the state allows it, we will not. We will not allow them to walk. Wherever they march, we’ll also go. We will close down that street and they will not be able to go there. If we want, our numbers can reach 200,000,” said the organization’s Istanbul provincial head, Kürşat Mican, on June 19.
The march had been conducted in Istanbul for 13 years, but in June 2015 police dispersed the march using tear gas and rubber bullets. It was also banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office in 2016 for the same reasons as this year.