Turkish Justice Minister compares LGBTI+ individuals with thieves

In a new hate speech by the ruling AKP executives, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has compared LGBTI+ individuals with thieves by saying “perversions” cannot be considered as a right and freedom just as “stealing.”

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ during the opening of the AKP's election office in Şanlıurfa province on May 1 (from:@bybekirbozdag)

Duvar English

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 1 targeted the LGBTI+ community and compared them with thieves.

“Can anyone consider using drugs as a right and freedom? Can anyone consider stealing as a right and freedom? Therefore, to evaluate perversions as a right and freedom is not to understand right and freedom correctly,” Bozdağ said during the opening ceremony of Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) election office in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

Bozdağ said it is their duty to protect Turkey from “drugs, terrorists,” and to protect families “against all kinds of perversions,” according to reporting by state-run Anadolu Agency. “There are those who are trying to legitimize and normalize LGBT and many perversions. It is the duty of those who run the state to protect the Turkish family, our family structure, our nation, and our state against perversions.”

Bozdağ added that “That's why, while making decisions about Turkey's future, we should not lose sight of these threats that our families and young people face. Our beloved nation will not be lost sight of.”

In a similar polarizing rhetoric, Bozdağ last week said after the elections "there will be those who will either pop up champagne and will celebrate this (election win) until the morning, or there will be those who will praise God by putting their clean forehead in sajdah (position) for gratitude."

Except two figures, all ministers in the cabinet also run in the parliamentary elections while staying on their posts, raising concerncs for the election safety.

As the May 14 parliamentary and parliamentary elections approach, the ruling AKP executives, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have once again raised their tones against the LGBTI+ community.

The AKP has had a particularly firm stance against the LGBTI+ community since the Gezi Park protest of 2013 and the coup attempt of 2016. The annual LGBTI+ pride parade in Istanbul and other major Turkish cities has been banned since 2015, and those that have marched regardless have been met with police violence.