Ankara Governor’s Office bans German LGBT film festival

Ankara Governor’s Office bans German LGBT film festival

ANKARA – Reuters
Ankara Governor’s Office bans German LGBT film festival

The authorities in Turkey’s capital banned a German Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) film festival on Nov. 16, the day before it was due to start, citing “public safety” and “terrorism” risks. 

Four movies by German directors were scheduled for screening as part of the festival, which was planned for Nov. 16-17 in Ankara and was organized by German Embassy and Pink Life QueerFest.

“Considering that the content could incite grudges and enmity towards a part of society ... and the intelligence reports that terror organizations are seeking to attack dissident groups or individuals, it is evaluated that this film screening could be provocative and draw reactions,” the Ankara Governor’s Office said in a statement.

The organizers Pink Life QueerFest said on Nov. 16 that the festival had been attacked on social media.

“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,” they said in a statement.

“It only goes to deprive us of our constitutional rights under the name of ‘protection,’” they added.

LGBT pride marches have been banned for three years running in Turkey. Unlike in many Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey but there is widespread hostility to it.

The march had gone ahead peacefully in Istanbul for 13 years, becoming one of the biggest LGBT events in the region and drawing in tens of thousands of people. However, 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 and 2017, citing security concerns and public order.

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