European Interest

Gay-related events banned in Ankara

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An image of the Ankara Pride parade in 2012.

All LGBTI gender events have been banned in Ankara, just days after authorities barred a German gay film festival. The governor’s office in the Turkish capital cited the need to “provide peace and security.”

Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, has banned all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) events, including cinema, theatre, discussion panels and interviews. The local gubernatorial office said the ban is aimed at averting “public hatred and hostility” likely to emerge “within certain segments” of society.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, a German gay film festival was banned just a day before it was due to start. Four movies by German directors had been scheduled for screening.

A group involved with the intended festival, Pink Life QueerFest, said officials suggestions that the films would even provoke terror attacks only legitimised “those people and institutions that produce hate speech towards us.”

In related news, the BBC noted that the office of Ankara Governor Mehmet Kılıclar said the festival’s content “could incite grudges and enmity toward a part of society”.

Intelligence suggested that “terror organisations” were seeking “to attack dissident groups or individuals” and that the screening “could have been provocative”.

The event’s organisers said the festival had already been attacked on social media before it was banned.

The BBC also quoted the event’s organisers Pink Life QueerFest Four as saying the ban “deprives us of our constitutional rights”.

“Suggesting that these screenings could be provocative or targeted by terror groups only goes to legitimise those people and institutions that produce hate speech toward us and see our existence as a threat,” organisers said in a statement.

The event was backed by the German embassy, reported the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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