Posters threatening gays with death appear in Turkish capital

Posters threatening gays with death appear in Turkish capital

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Posters threatening gays with death appear in Turkish capital

Riot police use a water cannon to disperse a LGBT rights activist during the banned Gay Pride Parade in central Istanbul, June 28, 2015. Reuters Photo

An Islamist group has pinned posters to walls and posts in Turkey's capital Ankara threatening gays with death, adding to concerns over growing intolerance against homosexuals in the country, AFP reported on July 7.

The appearance of the posters in Ankara comes just over a week after police prevented Istanbul's annual gay pride march - a successful tradition over the past 13 years - from going ahead, using tear gas and water cannon against activists who showed defiance. 

Posters threatening gays with death appear in Turkish capital
"Should those who engage in ugly behavior and adhere to the practice of the people of Lot be killed?" read posters that appeared in the Turkish capital overnight, referring to Lot, who features in the Old Testament and the Quran. Many Muslims believe that the decline of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stemmed from the sexual preferences of their inhabitants.
A hitherto low-key Islamist group called the "Young Islamic Defense" claimed responsibility for the poster campaign through a Twitter account @islamimudafaa, saying it was trying to "respond to the immoral actions" of lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

The poster showed an image of a previous gay pride march in Istanbul and the group said it was seeking to respond to such events.     

The group said the phrase used was a "hudud" (an Islamic concept) from the Quran.
Anti-riot police in Istanbul used teargas and fired rubber pellets to disperse thousands of participants in the city's Gay Pride march on June 28, with the authorities saying the event had not received the proper authorization.     

Activists said the authorities had tried to justify the ban by saying such an event should not take place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.       

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey and unlike in many Muslim-majority countries visible communities exist in the bigger cities including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.     

But many gays still keep their sexuality secret out of fear of a backlash from their family or the general public, and remain at risk of unprovoked