Anti-LGBTI+ ‘hate march’ held in Istanbul with state support

An Anti-LGBTI+ ‘hate’ rally and march was held in Istanbul amid huge criticism. Turkey’s media watchdog RTÜK supported the march’s promotion video.

Duvar English

An Anti-LGBTI+ “hate” rally and march called “Great Family Gathering” was held in Istanbul’s Fatih district on Sept. 18, organized by Unity of Opinion and Fighting Platform.

Speaking at the rally, pro-government Islamist figure Abdurrahman Uzun said “Our people know that our red line is the family. Today, the fuse has been ignited, these communities will gather all over Turkey in the coming days.”

Elif Eskin, a member of the Republican Women's Association (GYK), said, "The only flag that suits a Turkish artist is the Turkish flag,” reacting to the artists who opened the LGBTI+ flag at their concerts like singer Gülşen.

Youth Union of Turkey head Dilek Çınar said: “Just as we resisted the July 15 coup attempt, we will unite and resist this cultural and corrupt attack. They will open LGBTI clubs in universities, we will not allow them to impose LGBTI in universities. We're going to close those clubs.”

Former model and actress Tuğçe Kazaz said, “It is no longer just a time for Muslims to worship, it is now a time to wake up, take action, pray, condemn and fight. To fight against LGBTI lobbies. We will not target LGBTI individuals and their preferences. Have you ever wondered why they say LGBT and a+? Because they will keep it up. After a while, it will pass to children, babies.”

A group in the rally criticized the music playing in the area, saying “Did we come here to listen to the guitar? If you're going to listen to music, go to a concert.”

The police prevented the group who wanted to go on stage to stop the music.

After the rally, people in the area marched to Beyazıt Square.

Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) labeled the march’s promotion video as “public service announcement” 

The rally and march stirred huge reaction on social media and public figures days before the event.

#NefretYürüyüşüneHayır (No to hate march) became trending topic on Twitter.

Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) filed an objection petition to the Istanbul Governor's Office and Fatih District Governor's Office.

The association also called all political parties for solidarity and to show support. They reminded that the pride marches were banned and several people were tortured and detained.

“I call on everyone for solidarity with LGTBI+s against the anti-LGBTI+ march and the public service announcement. Such a thing has no place in a civilized society and discrimination is a crime,” famous Turkish singer Mabel Matiz said.

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said: "The rally targeting LGBTI+s is a hate crime organization. Those who try to gain political income from hate crimes and openly polarize the society commit crimes. HDP is against the attack against nature and all identities."