An Anti-LGBTI+ rally and march called “Great Family Gathering” was held in Istanbul’s Fatih district on Sept. 17 for the second time, organized by several Islamist groups.
Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) labeled the march’s promotion video as “public service announcement,” whereas the state-run Anadolu Agency reported the rally with the title of “Big Family Gathering against LGBT propaganda.”
The rally was held with the slogan of “LGBT Propaganda should be banned for our children, our family, and humanity” in the Saraçhane Fatih Monument Park. The first one of the “hate rally” was held last year at the same park.
The participants held banners reading “Stop socio-cultural terrorism,” “Family is the address of the solution, not the problem,” “Say stop to LGBT propaganda in the art world.”
Serdar Eryılmaz, Secretary General of the Great Family Platform, told the Anadolu Agency that “We are here for our children, for our family and for humanity. The purpose of this great family gathering is to ban LGBT propaganda. We no longer want our children to change their gender. We do not want the minds of our children and young people to be confused.”
“We want the imposition of LGBT to end in the media, academia, the world of education, food, health, in any field, and we want its propaganda to be banned,” he argued.
Claiming that they are not interested in anyone's private life, Eryılmaz argued that they want “LGBT propaganda” to be banned, “just like alcohol or drugs cannot be publicly advertised.”
The LGBTI+ community is often targeted by hate speech of government officials and radical Islamists, who call them “perverted”, and the crimes committed against them go unpunished. Many LGBTI+ individuals say that the country is getting more and more difficult to live in.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has had a particularly firm stance against LGBTI+ communities since the Gezi Park protests of 2013 and the coup attempt of 2016. The annual LGBTI+ pride parade in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities has been banned since 2016, and those that have marched regardless have been met with police violence.
Islamist groups have been organizing anti-LGBTI+ “hate” rallies and marches with state support since 2022.