LGBTI+ members attacked during Newroz celebration call for solidarity

Members of LGBTI+ community who were attacked during the Newroz celebration in the southeastern Diyarbakır province, have called for solidarity, saying that the security personnel at the square had not taken any action against the organized assailants with knives.

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar

LGBTI+ individuals have been once again attacked during this year's Newroz celebration in the southeastern Diyarbakır province. A group of attackers on March 21 attempted to lynch the community who were holding LGBTI+ flags.

LGBTI+ individuals were battered, their flags were torn apart, and they were made to leave the area of celebration. On March 23, Diyarbakır Bar Association's LGBTI+ Commission, Keskesor Amed LGBTI+ group and Cultural Research for Peace Association (BAKAD) held a press meeting at the Diyarbakır branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD), condemning the attack.

The press statement said that the systematic threat against LGBTI+ individuals has increased gradually over the years during Newroz celebrations. The statement said although the community had previously demanded security measures at the Newroz square, there was once again a “security flaw” and that “no intervention occurred against the organized assailants.”

“When we had just raised our rainbow flags (at the Newroz celebration), verbal and physical attacks started occurring. An organized group targeted our flags and an intense brawl started happening. Three people attacked with knives. The assailants started following us all over the square. During the attacks with knives, at least five people’s phones were stolen, as much as we have determined,” said the press statement, read by independent LGBTI+ activist Baran.

The press statement further said that the police did not take any action against the assailants due to a previously taken “joint security decision.” The statement noted that three security officials were also among the assailants.

The press statement called on society to put a joint struggle against "organized violence" and said: “If the Newroz square is not safe for LGBTI+ individuals, it is not safe for anyone.”

“Let’s together continue to make LGBTI+ visible in the upcoming all Newroz (celebrations) and wave our rainbow flag next to the Newroz fire.”

İHD Diyarbakır branch Abdullah Zeytun similarly made a call of solidarity and support with the LGBTI+ community and asked how the security failed to detect knives being sneaked into the Newroz square. “We are having the consequences of (Turkey’s) exit from the Istanbul Convention and the implementation of policies of social gender inequality at the administrative and public sphere every day,” Zeytun said.

(English version by Didem Atakan)