Ultranationalist group steps back after threatening LGBT Pride March in Istanbul
ISTANBULThe Alperen Hearths, an ultranationalist youth organization linked to the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), has stepped back after threatening the LGBT Pride March set to take place on June 26 in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
The organization’s Istanbul head Kürşat Mircan told The Voice of Russia that they only wanted their religious values to be taken into consideration.
“We had previously warned this group and sent representatives. We are a Muslim Turkish community and 99 percent of our community is Muslim. We have to live in tolerance, that is a right. But no one can organize this march by ignoring us and our religious values. We don’t want them to walk around in this blessed city, where our ancestors painted the ground red with their blood, half-naked with alcohol bottles in their hands. It might seem a little unlawful but do not perceive it in that way. There were no threats when we recalled Ziya Paşa’s words,” Mican said.
The group had previously vowed to give a “very clear and harsh response” if the state did not interfere with the march.
“Dear state officials, who close their eyes and ears to this immorality and who 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. Our reaction will be very clear and harsh. They are mocking us by ignoring our values in this holy month,” Mican said.
Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Selina Doğan has warned both the Istanbul Governor’s Office and the Istanbul Police Department following threats by the Alperen Hearths, a youth group linked to the ultranationalist Great Union Party (BBP), against the LGBT Pride March set to take place on June 26 from Taksim Square.
The threat from the Alperen Hearths came days after 49 people were killed in a gunman’s rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Speaking at a plenary session of parliament on June 15, Doğan condemned “the massacre and hate crime” committed in Orlando, recalling that LGBT associations in Turkey had announced that they would hold a “Pride March” this year, as in previous years.
Although the march had been conducted in peace for 13 years in Istanbul, last year it was prevented by police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of people who attempted to gather, Doğan recalled, warning about direct threats against LGBT people this year.
“We don’t want these scenes to take place again. There are a number of serious threats against LGBT individuals, threatening their lives. I call on the Istanbul Governor’s Office and the Istanbul Police Department to take the necessary responsibility so that LGBT people can fulfill their most fundamental democratic right,” she added.