Erdoğan and Soylu attack LGBTI+ community during election campaigns

Turkish President Erdoğan has argued that the opposition parties are against “the sacred family structure” for not being against to the LGBTI+ community. The same day, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu attacked the main opposition bloc Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over his Alevi identity and said how he could accept LGBTI+ people if "you were in the path of the prophet Muhammed."

This file photo shows Erdoğan (L) and Soylu (R) in an AKP gathering

Duvar English

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 22 targeted the opposition over the LGBTI+ community and stated “the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Worker’s Party of Turkey (TİP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are LGBT supporters. They are against our sacred family structure.”  

Speaking in Gaziantep province, Erdoğan said that this is why the elections are important and added that “May 14 will be the day to teach a lesson to those who support LGBT and violence against women,” according to daily BirGün.

Previously, Erdoğan targeted the LGBTI+ community in Turkey in various hate speeches in which he deemed LGBTI+ individuals as “perverts,” “deviants,” “viruses,” and so on. 

On the same day, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu targeted the main opposition bloc Nation's Alliance Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's video regarding his Alevi identity. He said, "Before Erdoğan, no one in this country could say ‘I am Alevi.’ Now Kılıçdaroğlu says, “I am on the true path of Muhammad and Ali'. Then I ask, 'Is there any LGBT on the path of Muhammed and Ali," online news outlet T24 reported.

Alevi community in Turkey defines their sect as the path of Islam’s prophet Muhammed and his caliph son-in-law Ali. 

Soylu as well frequently targeted LGBTI+ individuals in the country and presented the human rights struggle of the community as a “terrorist movement.” 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has had a particularly firm stance against the LGBTI+ community since the Gezi Park protest of 2013 and the coup attempt of 2016. The annual LGBTI+ pride parade in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities has been banned since 2015, and those that have marched regardless have been met with police violence.