Reuters - Duvar English
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 21 complained that he was uncomfortable with the use of what he described as "LGBT colors" at the United Nations, which is decorated this week with bright colors promoting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Erdoğan said he would have liked to discuss this issue with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Turkey's government - led by Erdoğan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) - has toughened its stance on LGBTQ freedoms.
“One of the issues that bothers me the most ... is that when entering the United Nations General Assembly, you see the LGBT colors on steps and other places,” Erdoğan said while answering the questions of journalists at the Turkish House in New York.
“How many LGBT are there in the world right now? However much right they have on these steps, those against LGBT have as much right as well. Because this is a humanitarian issue and we need to know that there are people who are disturbed by this,” said Erdoğan, who has frequently labeled members of the LGBTQ community as “deviants” and particularly toughened his rhetoric during his election campaign this year.
However, some U.N. diplomats suggested Erdoğan might have confused the 17 different colors associated with the Sustainable Development Goals - and decorating parts of U.N. headquarters, including steps, for a summit that was held earlier this week - with the rainbow Pride colors associated with LGBTQ rights.
While Guterres has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights and spoken out about discrimination, there are no rainbow Pride colors at U.N. headquarters promoting LGBTQ rights.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in 2015 with a deadline of 2030, are a global "to do" list that includes wiping out hunger, extreme poverty, battling climate change and inequality, and promoting gender equality.
Erdoğan also said they will not allow the attempts of these “perverted movements” to target the family structure and the youth in Turkey. “We will take the most effective step in this regard with the constitution proposal that we plan to bring to the agenda when the Parliament opens (in October). We are determined to constitutionally guarantee the institution of family. Protecting the family means protecting Turkey, protecting the homeland.”
Turkish authorities have been implementing a de facto ban on “LGBTI+ symbols and themes” even though there is no official law against them over the past years. While the pride marches have been attacked by the police, nearly all indoor events has been banned in 2023.
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, on the other hand, have been organizing anti-LGBTI+ “hate” rallies and marches with state support since 2022.