Gang of 15 delivery drivers launch violent homophobic attack on terrified group of friends simply for existing

A Turkish anti-riot police officer steps on a rainbow flag during a rally staged by the LGBT community on Istiklal avenue in Istanbul on June 19, 2016. (OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

A group of five friends were walking idly through the streets of Ankara, Turkey when restaurant couriers allegedly beat them and called them “f****ts”.

At around 2am on October 14, the friends were walking along Esat Street in the downtown neighbourhood of Çankaya when a pair of motorcycles pulled up by them.

One of the five victims, known only by the initial U, told LGBT+ outlet Kaos GL that kebab restaurant couriers began slapping them, hurling homophobic insults before stalking them on their way home.

“There are faggots in our neighbourhood,” one of the drivers allegedly shouted. “We will not let them live here.”

“We were walking towards the [doner kebab restaurants] on Esat Street,” the victim said.

“While we were close to the [restaurants], a motorcycle pulled over near us.

“There were two people on the motorcycle and the one who was on the driver’s seat shouted, ‘Faggots! You, faggots! What are you doing here?’, and slapped one of our friends.

“After we shouted and protested, they started the motorcycle and went in front of the [restaurant].

Shouting back at them, the stand-off between the friends and the couriers reached a flashpoint when they went inside the restaurant, only to be confronted by a wave of some “15 or 20” other couriers

“We were battered,” they added, alleging that three of the attackers followed them while they “escaped” back home before beating them in an alleyway.

In Turkey, a road to LGBT+ equality is blocked by conservative powerhouses. 

Helmed by a homophobic president, Recep Erdoğan, who once referred to LGBT+ people as “perverts”. Turkey has seen much of its LGBT+ rights movement squelched by powerful opposition.

Religious leaders have said homosexuality “brings diseases and leads to population decline” and chiefs of humanitarian agencies say gay people “violate health creation“.

Even clothing retailers have stripped their products of rainbows and unicorns in pitiful and poisonous displays of homophobia often framed by supporters as war against faith itself.

In the predominately Muslim society with strong religious and conservative tendencies, LGBT+ people little to no legal protections from discrimination.