Turkey election: President Erdoğan says he will ‘never be pro-LGBT’ because ‘family is sacred’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan branded his opposition “pro-LGBT” at a campaign rally, saying he will “bury” them in a “ballot box”.

Erdoğan held an election rally on Sunday (7 May) in Istanbul and, according to Reuters, he vowed his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and other parties in their alliance will “never be pro-LGBT because family is sacred to us”.

Erdoğan added: “We will bury those pro-LGBT in the ballot box.”

He is facing off against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and – according to Foreign Policy – the CHP “is leading in several polls”. It represents the greatest challenge Erdoğan has faced to his leadership since he became president in 2014.

It comes as little surprise then that, with Turkey due to cast ballots in the presidential and parliamentary elections on 14 May, Erdoğan has ramped up the same anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric he’s been known for throughout his presidency.

At a rally in Izmir last month, he said: “In this nation, the foundations of the family are stable. LGBT will not emerge in this country.

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“Stand up straight, like a man: that is how our families are.”

Erdoğan’s disdain for the LGBTQ+ community is well documented. In the past, he has labelled queer youth as vandals and his rhetoric has led to many Turkish LGBTQ+ people living in fear.

Turkey has become an increasingly hostile place for queer people with senior politicians, religious leaders and retailers launching attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

In September 2022, thousands took part in an anti-LGBTQ+ hate march. People held signs that read “protecting the family is a national security issue”.

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