Turkish gov't says it won't allow 'homosexuality propaganda,' as police detain LGBT activists

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has said that Turkey won't allow "homosexuality propaganda" hours before at least nine LGBT activists were detained in Istanbul's Kadıköy during a protest.

Trans activists are seen being detained by police in Istanbul's Kadıköy - Picture taken by Cansu Yıldıran.

Duvar English 

Turkey won't allow "homosexuality propaganda" and let the families be targeted through it, Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on March 6.

"We are absolutely against the corruption of the concepts such as freedom and tolerance for homosexuality propaganda and the targeting of our families and children through it," Altun said hours before police detained at least nine LGBT activists during a March 8 International Women's Day protest in Istanbul's Kadıköy. 

"It's the main duty of the state to protect our citizens from all kinds of extremism. The fact that this ugliness is presented to the youth as something normal is an attack against our social order and the noble character of our nation," he said. 

"Making even the littlest concessions on this issue would lead us to face more serious problems in the future. We don't allow it and we won't," Altun noted. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has recently ramped up its homophobic discourse and has been targeting the country's LGBT community. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu went as far as to call LGBT individuals "perverted." 

The recent wave of homophobia includes an attempt to make the LGBT community seem like an illegal organization that's against Islamic values. The aim of this attempt, without a doubt, is to turn the predominantly Muslim society against the LGBT community and legitimize the insults hurled at them.

Strikingly, rainbow-themed items, even children's books, are met with suspicion by Turkish authorities, who ordered an 18+ age restriction to be placed on them last year.

During the protest on March 6, police banned rainbow flags and rainbow-themed items - even umbrellas - from entering the area of the protest. 

"We are here, get used to it, make peace with it and we're not leaving," LGBT activist Yıldız İdil Şen told reporters, which was followed by police chasing the taxi that they're in to detain the activists. Journalist Şener Yılmaz Aslan was also detained for documenting police brutality towards the protesters. 

Journalists have shared videos showing police brutality and detentions on Twitter. 

In one video, a trans activist was seen urging all women to support them in the face of a hate crime. 

In another, activists were seen calling on the people to not abandon them. 

The solidarity between women in the face of police mistreatment was also documented. 

Photographer Cansu Yıldıran shared pictures from the protests on their Twitter account in a thread, showing protesters being battered by police. 

Shortly after the protest and the detentions, Altun shared the footage of his speech on homosexuality on Twitter. 

"There is no stepping back! We'll struggle to protect our values, nation and generations," Altun tweeted. 

Late on March 6, Kadıköy Governor's Office released a statement regarding the protest, citing the participation of a group of LGBT activists as the reason for detentions. 

"The LGBT group consisting of 20 people passed the checkpoint around the protest area and prevented security forces from doing their work. Nine people who resisted to prevent security forces from doing their jobs at the end of the protest were detained," the statement read.