In new hate speech, Erdoğan deems LGBTI+ 'virus of heresy'

Turkish President Erdoğan once again targeted LGBTI+ groups while talking about the constitutional amendment that AKP is preparing to “protect families.” “We want to prevent the virus of heresy, which is against human nature, from poisoning our nation's existence,” he stated.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 16 that they will not allow the destruction of families “under the guise of freedom,” once again targeting LGBTI+ community.

“We want to prevent the virus of heresy, which is against human nature, from poisoning our nation's existence,” Erdoğan said during an opening ceremony in Istanbul, according to reporting by state-run Anadolu Agency.

Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is preparing constitutional amendments which will ensure civil rights for women wearing headscarves as well as family issues. Erdoğan says family is "the union of man and woman."

The support of 400 lawmakers (out of 600) is required to allow a constitutional amendment in the Turkish parliament. The total number of seats in the People's Alliance, consisting of ruling AKP, far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the ultranationalist Grand Unity Party (BBP), is 335. This means 65 lawmakers out of the ruling alliance are needed for the constitutional amendment to be approved by the parliament.

That’s why AKP officials visited three opposition parties, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Good (İYİ) Party, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), last month. 

Three parties rejected a second round of AKP visits, saying that they will not support the amendment.

Erdoğan said if the Parliament does not approve the amendment, a referendum will be held. 360 lawmakers are needed to submit the issue to a referendum.

“We put an end to anti-democratic practices (on women with headscarves). We paved the way for them to work in public institutions without being subjected to any pressure. Thank God, we now have governors, officers in the armed forces, judges and prosecutors in the judiciary who wear headscarves,” Erdoğan said.

The CHP on Oct. 4 submitted a draft law to guarantee the right to wear headscarf for women, amid allegations that they would reban headscarf if it won the general elections.

The AKP has been preparing a new amendment since then, expanding it to protect families from what Erdoğan called "perverse trends.”

Erdoğan and AKP lawmakers have toughened their rhetoric against the LGBTI+ community in recent years, frequently labeling members "deviants" or "perverts".

The issue of the headscarf ban held an important place in public and political debates in Turkey in the 1990s and early 2000s.

The AKP lifted the headscarf ban for students in universities in 2010 and for public employees in 2013.