Turkish police break up gay pride event with rubber bullets

Turkish police break up gay pride event with rubber bullets

Under the guise of ‘protecting’ LGBT people, police in Istanbul today broke up a pride march by briefly firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

The BBC reports that organisers of the annual event had vowed to press ahead despite a ban by the authorities, who had cited threats from far-right groups.

This is the third year in a row that Turkey’s largest city has banned the Gay Pride rally. Turkey’s descent into Islamic fundamentalism is seen by many as the main reason for the banning of the event.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen said the heavy police presence stopped people from entering Istiklal Street, where the rally was scheduled to start.

He reported that anybody trying to unfurl a rainbow flag or pass police blockades was prevented from doing so.

Faced with armed police and water-cannon trucks, the marchers had no chance.

The Hurriyet newspaper said that at least ten people had been detained, and the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf tweeted that a Dutch cameraman, Bram Janssen, was among those arrested.

Earlier today, the Gay Pride organising committee issued a statement saying:

We are not scared, we are here, we will not change. You are scared, you will change and you will get used to it. We are here again to show that we will fight in a determined fashion for our pride.

When the ban was defied in 2015, police used water cannons on marchers. (Photo: AP Emrah Gurel)

For more than a decade the event passed off peacefully in Turkey – tens of thousands used to throng Istiklal Street.

Representatives of some European governments were in Istanbul to support the event. They stressed that Turkey, still a candidate for EU membership, must respect minority rights.

But, said Mark Lowen:

The criticism is likely to fall on deaf ears among an increasingly conservative government. For long, Turkey was a haven of gay rights in the Middle East. But the Islamist-leaning President Erdogan is accused by critics of moulding Turkey in his image and ostracising the secular, liberal side of the country.

Lara Ozlen, from the organising committee, told AFP news agency on Saturday:

It is obvious that a peaceful march is part of our constitutional right. It’s been known for years. Instead of protecting us, to say ‘do not march’ just because some will be disturbed is undemocratic.

On Sunday, the Dutch consulate in Istanbul unfurled a large rainbow flag in support of the Pride event.

In addition to citing the threats of far-right groups, city officials said they had not received a formal request to hold the march – a claim denied by the organisers.

This year’s event also coincides with the end of the Muslim “holy” month of Ramadan and the start of the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Last year, riot police fired tear gas and plastic bullets after transgender rights activists gathered in Istanbul –in defiance of a ban on marching.

13 responses to “Turkish police break up gay pride event with rubber bullets”

  1. barriejohn says:

    “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

  2. Bart says:

    Get used to it. Turkey is heading down the islamic sewer. There will be more and worse to come as the vultures of allah pick clean the carcass of a once secular democracy. Erdogan has set his face to inflict hard core islamic rule to Turkey to bring back the caliphate with him as the deputy of god. IS tried to restore the caliphate but that evil bunch of lawless thugs and bandits got it wrong. Erogan is a calculating slime ball wannabe dictator and caliph with a different more political strategy to get what he wants.

  3. Bart says:

    ” … but the Islamist-leaning President Erdogan”. Islamist leaning? What??? You have got to be joking. He is actually a rabid hard line hard nosed manipulating islamofacist political terrorist. A kind of cross between Stalin and Ayaltolah Khomeni. It is going to get really grim in Turkey – really very grim indeed. Probably ending up like Syria unless the Turks wise up quick and stop Erdogan but its hard to see how unless by means of assassination.. The EU must not even consider for one second letting Turkey join the EU club.

  4. 1859 says:

    The way Erdogan has behaved towards any form of dissent, this was inevitable – but cruel and stupid.

  5. 1859 says:

    Agree with Bart: First, the demographics indicate Turkey has a very young population who can access all kinds of liberal ideas via internet and social media. Secondly, the Turkish diaspora is huge but, crucially, it is mostly located in liberal, parliamentary democracies like Germany, the UK, France etc. This means whenever Turks overseas return to see relatives etc., they tend to bring with them open-minded ideas such as tolerance of minorities. Lastly, it is very unlikely the secular history, post Ataturk, will be completely expunged from the Turkish collective memory. So the more Erdogan imposes a religious police state, the more polarised Turkish society will become – either civil war, revolution, revolt or brutal, sadistic repression in the name of ‘islamic values’.

  6. Paul says:

    I wish that that were true but sadly it isn’t.
    I have seen many many Turks who do live in liberal democracies return back to Turkey (say for summer holidays etc) and they revert to type time after time after time. You can take the Turk out of Turkey but you cannot take Turkey out of the Turk.

  7. 1859 says:

    @paul: I guess I have in mind those young Turkish people I worked with for many years in Germany who were born and raised in a western democracy, and who certainly felt – so they often told me – completely displaced and alien whenever they returned to see relatives in Turkey. Those who left Turkey to work and who intended to return, were and are, I agree, different, they never seemed very willing to integrate or shake off their roots.

  8. Trevor Blake says:

    I think it is accurate to term “Islamic fundamentals” a “far-right group.”

  9. Paul says:

    I think that’s a fair comment.
    It’s a shame as they can’t change what their parents have created. The now deeply Islamic paternal society is too strong.

  10. John says:

    Should’ve used real bullets

  11. Gui says:

    “The EU must not even consider for one second letting Turkey join the EU club.”

    If the sultan use Godwin’s Law, the islamophobia card or even both, maybe the EU will accept him?

    I still remember Erdogan’s hipocrisy by call Germany of nazi during that diplomatic crisis not so long ago.

  12. Cali Ron says:

    John: Really? I’d agree if they were being aimed at Erdogan. He is the source of the cancer threatening to overtake Turkey and push them back into the dark ages..

  13. L.Long says:

    Punishing the the victims because the gov’mint are cowards.