(WB) Despite heavy downpours mixed with light rain showers, more than 10,000 anti-LGBT protestors gathered in this ancient city and principal seaport of Turkey on Sunday, protesting what organizers said was to protect their children from the “LGBTQ terrorist propaganda agenda.”

Billed as the “Great Family Walk” lead organizer Kürşat Mican, speaking to the crowds gathered, demanded that the Turkish government ban all LGBT activities and shut down all LGBT organizations. The organizers were also demanding that Turkey’s parliament ban what they called LGBTQ “evil,” which they claimed pervades Netflix, social media, arts and sports in the country.

Gathering at Saraçhane Park, protestors carried signs with the slogan “protect your family and generation,” the speakers, in addition to Mican, told the crowd that they were taking action to combat the “LGBT lobby,” which they alleged, “has become a global problem.”

In a tweet Monday, Mican wrote (translated from Turkish): “The fact that tens of thousands of people from all walks of life came together to put a stop to #LGBTdayatması (#LGBTimposition) and draw attention to the danger is an indication of how much our ‘Necip Nation’ values (a reference to Necip Fazil Kisakürek, Turkish poet, novelist, playwright, and Islamist ideologue) his family and generation. No lobby can bring this strong will to its knees, biiznillah! (Will of Allah.)

The anti-LGBT rights were organized by Mican, Ersin Çelik and non-governmental organizations. The march, in which 150 NGOs participated, had a great impact organizers claimed.

Ersin Çelik, a writer for a conservative, Islamist Turkish daily newspaper, Yeni Şafak, has been fighting against LGBT rights and making efforts to what he has said on his social media accounts is to “protect young people and children from this trap,” called for the march on his social media account.

Mican and other organizers had also circulated a video prior to Sunday’s rally that showed clips from previously LGBT Pride parades, which was then also broadcast as a public service announcement by Turkish state media, prompting an angered response from the country’s LGBT advocacy groups and activists.

Others who supported the rally included a popular female Turkish writer known by her pseudonym of Tahteşşuûr who tweeted: “LGBT looking for children to recruit! God damn you. #LGBTdayatması (#LGBTimposition.)”

This year, hundreds of LGBT people, allies, and supporters took to the streets of Istanbul this past June in defiance of the Turkish government’s ongoing 2014 ban on LGBT Pride parades and Pride Month festivities. Protestors violently clashed repeatedly with police and security forces in various neighborhoods located around the Bol Ahenk Sokak and other sections of the central downtown areas.

Government security forces arrested more than 373 people and the largest Turkish LGBTQ activist group, the Ankara-based Kaos GL, documented the arrests and clashes which occurred prior to the 5 p.m. planned parade kick-off in a series of Twitter posts.

Turkish Media Independent Media/News Outlet Ahval has reported that Turkey’s LGBTQ groups accuse the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of waging a “hate campaign” against them, encouraging violence against a vulnerable community.

Turkey has ranked the second worst country in the European Union for LGBTQ people, scoring only above Azerbaijan, according to the 2022 “Rainbow Europe” ranking compiled by Brussels-based ILGA-Europe.


 SFGN and the Washington Blade are media partners.


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