Ultra-nationalist group threatens to block LGBT Pride March in Istanbul
ISTANBULThe Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), has threatened the LGBT Pride March set to take place on June 25 in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, vowing to prevent the march 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.
Speaking on June 19 during a news program aired on the minor Cultural TV (KRT TV) station, Mican complained that LGBT individuals had “started to organize in every neighborhood … destroying the unity of the family.”
“Their project is to create a structure in every neighborhood. We are warning our intelligence agencies. This is part of a project by capitalist, communist and imperialist powers. By popularizing homosexuality, they want to destroy the unity of family, stop reproduction, end relations between wives and husbands, and prevent children born in such relations from growing up to be propitious to their land and country,” he said.
“This is dynamite to the foundation of the family structure. They have especially started to work on the neighborhood level,” Mircan added.
“Under no circumstances will we allow them to march. I call on the Turkish people: These structures are very dangerous. We need to prevent this immorality or it will expand very seriously,” he also said.
LGBT Pride Week is due to take place this year from June 19 to June 25, 2017, consisting of a variety of arts and cultural events including films, health events, and political discussions. The event is due to culminate on June 25 with the Pride March on the popular İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul’s Taksim area.
The march had been conducted in peace in Istanbul for 13 years, but in June 2015 it was prevented by police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of people who attempted to gather. It was also banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office in 2016, citing security concerns and public order.