Turkish gov’t locks down Istanbul for second time in week due to LGBTI+ pride march

Istanbul Governor banned LGBTI+ Pride March in the megacity and deemed organizers as “illegal groups.” As happened in the trans pride march last week, it closed down main transportation routes leading to the historic Beyoğlu district and dispatched hundreds of police officers.

Duvar English

Istanbul Governor’s Office on June 30 banned the 32nd Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March planned to be organized on the same day.

The governor released a press statement that deemed organizers “various illegal groups.” Turkish penal code does not criminalize “being LGBTI+” and it is unclear which “groups” the governor referred to. 

Accordingly, many roads and main streets leading to the historic Beyoğlu district where pride marches traditionally held in the past years were closed down. 

Also, Taksim and Şişhane metro stations along with the Taksim funicular line were closed and public transportation was disrupted to prevent participants from gathering.

Hundreds of police officers were dispatched to Beyoğlu and nearby districts to control pedestrian traffic with barricades and checkpoints.

32nd Istanbul Pride Week has been celebrated since June 24 with various events whose venues were not disclosed due to security concerns. During the week, the Kadıköy District Governor also banned an event and sent police officers to the venue.

Despite the government’s increasing anti-LGBTI+ stance, the organizers stated that they would march. “We, as the committee of the 32nd Istanbul Pride Week, are trying to organize a way to empower all of us, all queer individuals, while also bringing us together with the least amount of harm under very heavy pressure," they underscored.

On June 23, the megacity’s governor also banned the Istanbul Trans Pride March, blockaded many main routes, and disrupted public transportation. As a response, activists gathered at various points across the city without being able to organize the main march.