Court lifts ban on LGBT Pride events in Turkey’s capital city

LGBT+ Pride events can now be held in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, as a court has lifted a ban that previously prohibited such celebrations.

The news was announced on Thursday 19 April, explaining that it was Turkish LGBT+ rights group Kaos GL that managed to get it appealed. The organisation had previously attempted to do the same in November of last year but proved unsuccessful.

“We can say that the court has accepted our arguments that we have advocated since the day when the ban has declared,” Kaos GL’s lawyer Hayriye Kara voiced in a statement.

In July 2018, activists in Instanbul took part in an LGBT+ event despite the city placing a ban on the celebration (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“Instead of banning fundamental rights and freedoms to protect social peace, they said that the group that is vulnerable to any attack should be protected.

“It can be said that the court ruled that the state must protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBTI+s.”

“Love has won once again”

The ban was first implemented by the Governorship of Ankara in November 2017, citing “public morality” and “social sensitivity and sensibilities.” According to Euronews, instead of placing an absolute ban over such demonstations taking place, an increased level of security “must be ensured.”

Reacting to the triumphant result, Fotis Filippou, Campaigns Director for Europe at Amnesty International, said: “This is a momentous day for LGBTI people in Turkey and a huge victory for the LGBTI rights activists. Love has won once again.

“LGBTI people and their allies were scandalously and unlawfully banned from holding any LGBTI related events since November 2017. With pride season approaching next month we celebrate this significant court ruling.”

Instanbul Pride 2018

Despite homosexuality not being illegal in Turkey, there have been a number of large-scale LGBT+ events that have been banned in the country in recent years. Back in July 2018, officials who had forbidden Instanbul Pride from taking place were challenged by thousands of defiant marchers – many of whom were waving rainbow flags in protest – who gathered near the city’s famous Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square.


Amnesty International described the lifting of the ban as ‘momentous’ (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Around the time, it was reported that police were threatening to arrest “anyone that “looks gay, wears rainbows or bright feminine colors, or has on too short of shorts”

The activists were met with hostility by local officials who used high-pressure water canons and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd.