A Turkish call to massacre LGBT community

A Turkish call to massacre LGBT community

At a time when the world is mourning the massacre of 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando, a new massacre is being brewed by Islamists and a far-right nationalist group in Istanbul.

One day after a group called the Anatolia Muslim Youth Association (MAG) called for an “intervention” against the “immoral” LGBT Pride March to be held on June 26 in Istanbul’s Taksim, the Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), threatened on June 14 to “take all risks necessary to stop the march.”

Vowing not to allow “immoral people to perform their fantasies,” the organization’s Istanbul provincial head, Kürşat Mican, told journalists that the Alperen Hearths vowed to give a “very clear and harsh response” if the state did not interfere.

“They can do whatever they want by gathering somewhere, but we definitely don’t want them to walk naked on the sacred soil of our country in the blessed month of Ramadan,” Mican said, playing the sure-to-work Ramadan card.

“Dear state officials, who close your eyes and ears to this immorality and allow this, we are calling on you to perform your duties to stop this immorality. Otherwise the Alperen Hearths, who are the representatives of the people, will perform their duties on this soil, which was passed to us from our ancestors,” he added.

In a normal democratic country where there are laws to protect citizens from mass murder-planning idiots, this guy would have been detained and charged with a hate crime. On paper, Turkey is such a country. We have an article in the Turkish Penal Code that reads: “Any person who openly provokes a group of people belonging to different social class, religion, race, sect, or coming from another origin, to be rancorous or hostile against another group, is punished with imprisonment from one to three years in the event that such an act causes a risk from the aspect of public safety.”

Unfortunately, this article is rarely remembered when there is an open call for an attack on the LGBT community, or if the target group in such an action includes members of the non-Muslim communities, Alevis, atheists, etc. You can go on state television in Turkey and say that those who do not perform Muslim prayers are animals and get away with it.

But whatever you do, do not dare to criticize some practices of Islam, or make remarks that could be interpreted in that way. Just ask world-renowned pianist Fazıl Say, who was sentenced to 10 months in prison for violating Article 216 after retweeting several lines attributed to 11th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam.

An application by organizers to hold the Pride March is still pending approval at the Istanbul Governor’s Office. When asked about it following a cabinet meeting on June 13, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli dodged the question, saying “the relevant authorities will decide on the permission.”

In the wake of such bloody threats, which go unnoticed by the police and the prosecutors, it will be no surprise when the Governor’s Office says the march will not be allowed on security reasons. 

Life has never been easy for the LGBT community in Turkey, with many gay people falling victim to hate crimes and “honor” killings. But if the authorities cannot (or do not want to) provide the security of the participants of a march held once every year (or if they are thinking of ordering the police to attack the march as they did last year), maybe they should officially declare homosexuality illegal and see where this takes us.

Finally, I’ll leave to the experts the debate about whether those who are most vocal against homosexuality are in fact themselves closet gays.