Turkey media watchdog approves anti-LGBTQ+ advert for broadcast

Turkey's media watchdog has approved an anti-LGBTQ+ advert for broadcast.

Turkey’s media watchdog has approved an advert for an anti-LGBTQ+ event. 

RTÜK, the Radio and Television Supreme Council, the watchdog that oversees radio, television and on-demand media services in the country, has ruled that an advertisement promoting an event by family values organisation Büyük Aile Platformu can be broadcast. 

Büyük Aile Platformu (the Big Family Platform) is critical of the LGBTQ+ community and is set to hold an event on 17 September in İstanbul’s Sarachane Park, during which there will be a call for a ban on “LGBT propaganda [for] our children, families and humanity”. 

On its website, the organisation claims “there has never been a period in human history when the family has been so targeted and threatened”, and cites “gender ideology” as one such threat. 

In a statement shared on X, formerly Twitter, RTÜK member Tuncay Keser said the advertisement was approved with a majority vote at a meeting on Wednesday (6 September).  

“RTÜK, which is responsible for ensuring that broadcasts are not against gender equality, approved the public-service announcement about the ‘Stop LGBT propaganda’ event to be organised by the Istanbul Family Foundation, which rejects gender equality,” he wrote.

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In a second post, Keser added: “Summary of the public-service ad that I voted against: ‘If this trend is not stopped, we will not have children and youth to celebrate 23 April and 19 May’.”

In Turkey, 23 April marks National Sovereignty and Children’s Day which commemorates the foundation of Turkey’s parliament in 1920, while 19 May is Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, which marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence after military leader and future president Mustafa Kemal landed at Samsun in 1919. 

There has been increased targeting of the LGBTQ+ community in Turkey recently. In June, more than 100 people were detained by police at banned Pride marches in Istanbul and Izmir. 

Despite the ban, hundreds of people turned out in both cities, which resulted in police shutting down public transport and certain roads. 

Pride-goers waved flags and held placards which read “Run Tayyip, run. Queers are coming”, referring to the country’s president, and “Liberation for queers will shake the world.” 

A month earlier, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took aim at the community after winning the May presidential election.

In his speech, Erdoğan – who has served as Turkey’s president since 2014 – spoke out against what he referred to as LGBT forces. 

“In our culture, family is sacred. No one can interfere. We will strangle anyone who dares to touch it,” he said, according to The Times.

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