An openly homophobic anti LGBTI+ demonstration of several thousand people was organised in Turkey with the support of the Turkish governing AKP/MHP, with adverts for the march being shown on Turkish state television.
The demonstration, dubbed ‘The Big Family Gathering’, called for a new law to ban what the protesters called ‘LGBTI+ propaganda’ and featured a former Miss Turkey calling for a war against the LGBTI+ community.
One of those attending the march said ‘They should save the family, they should save the children from this filth.” AP reported.
Some of the marchers held placards saying that “Protecting the family is a national security issue.”
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)-Europe, who work for LGBTI+ equality and human rights in Europe and Central Asia, and who have more than 600 member organisations in 54 countries, tweeted that it was extremely concerned about the risks of violence to the LGBTI+ community in Turkey.
“The organisers have been stirring hate against LGBTI+ people, and the risks of violence are very real.”
“The Turkish state needs to uphold its constitutional obligation to protect all its citizens against hate and violence,” it said.
The state’s open support and encouragement for this demonstration, that was advertised on national television, is in stark contrast to its clampdown on LGBTI+ demonstrations and pride marches since 2015, that have seen numerous arrests and constant harassment and attacks by police.
Top Turkish officials of the Turkish government are on record as calling LGBTI+ people “perverts” who aim to hurt traditional family values.
A former Miss Turkey winner, Tuğçe Kazaz, called for a war against LGBTI+ people in a speech at the demonstration, shared in a video on Twitter, declaring “Now is the time for Muslims not just to pray, but also to wake up, take action and fight.”