On year after Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul convention, LGBTIQ+ communities more than ever under pressure

Accountability, Justice and Space for Civil Society, Democracy and freedoms, Turkey

One year ago, on July 1st 2021, the Turkish government officially withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, a legal text aiming at preventing and combating violences against women and promoting gender equality.

 

LGBTIQ+ people in Turkey are now facing the concrete consequences of this withdrawal, as evidenced by the recent arrests of 370 people. This year, LGBTIQ+ Turkish people celebrated Pride Month in the shadow of ban decisions of the government bodies on one hand, and the threats of reactionary and nationalist gangs on the other hand. Experiences from Boğaziçi University Pride March on May 26, to Istanbul and Izmir Pride Marches on June 26, are enough to sum up the war waged against LGBTIQ+ people by the state.

The detentions began with 70 people at 9th Boğaziçi Pride March on May 20, and increasingly went on. All events of Istanbul Pride Week were banned by the government. The 20th Istanbul Pride March was planned to be held as a closure event of the week on June 26, 2022 but has been banned just few hours before its official start. Many streets of Istanbul center were blockaded by the police.

On the day of the march, a total of 373 LGBTIQ+ activists were taken into custody in Istanbul. This number is among the highest detentions within the context of the public demonstrations in Istanbul recent years. A total of 530 LGBTIQ+ people and LGBTI+ right defenders were detained in only 37 days.

Listen to our last podcast, in which two Turkish LGBTIQ+ activists detail the kind of harassment and violations they are facing since Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul convention. The interview took place before the announcement that the Istanbul Pride would be banned.