“In this nation the foundations of the family are stable. LGBT will not emerge in this country. Stand up straight, like a man: that is how our families are,” he said, amidst a speech that also saw condemnation for supporters of the opposition.
“We will give the terrorists the answer at the ballot box,” Erdogan said, referring to people who voted for the HDP, the main Kurdish party.
LGBTQ+ people in Turkey are not protected from discrimination in employment, education, housing, health care, public accommodations, or credit. The country does not have marriage equality, does not allow single people or gay couples to adopt, does not allow for surrogacy or IVF for gay men and lesbians, and does not allow gay people and lesbians to openly serve in the military.
President Erdogan and his cabinet have become increasingly more hostile towards the LGBTQ+ community and their rights. While the country had started to see some more openness towards the queer community through the early 2000s, Ankara imposed a ban on all public LGBTQ-related events for over a year starting in 2017, with the government citing safety concerns as the reason why.
Istanbul Pride events have been banned since 2015, when police used tear gas and water cannons to physically stop Istanbul Pride 2015. In September 2022, an anti-LGBTQ+ march was held in Istanbul, where thousands of protesters presented a petition of allegedly 150,000 signatures demanding a new law be enacted banning “LGBTQ propaganda.”
Several organizations are working to implement protections for LGBTQ+ people in Turkey and the Balkans, including the LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Youth & Student Organization, and the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association. Visit these organizations for more information on the issues facing the queer community in Turkey and how you can help.