Turkey’s Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has decided that the promotion video of an anti-LGBTI+ rally will be broadcast with the label of “public service announcement” on television outlets.
RTÜK’s member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İlhan Taşcı announced the move on Sept. 6 and said “RTÜK decided with a majority of votes that the announcement of ‘Stop LGBT propaganda’ to be organized by the Istanbul Family Foundation in (Istanbul’s) Saraçhane will be broadcast on TV as a public service announcement.”
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, run by the main opposition CHP, is located in Saraçhane.
“The reasoning of the foundation is (for the rally) 'If this trend (LBGTI+) is not stopped, we will not have children and young people to celebrate April 23 and May 19!’,” Taşcı added.
RTÜK, İstanbul Aile Vakfı’nın Saraçhanede düzenleyeceği “LGBT propagandasına dur” toplantı duyurusunun kamu spotu olarak TV’lerde yayınlanmasına oy çokluğuyla karar verdi. Vakfın gerekçesi “Bu gidişe dur denmezse 23 Nisan ve 19 Mayıs’ı kutlayacak çocuk ve gençlerimiz olmayacak!”— İlhan Taşcı (@ilhantasci) September 6, 2023
April 23 the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day marks the anniversary of the Turkish parliament's foundation in 1920; whereas May 19 Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk traveled from Allied-occupied Istanbul to Samsun on the Black Sea coast in 1919.
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.