Activists have protested a Turkish minister for her recent remark that homosexuality is a disease.

The small group of demonstrators interrupted a meeting about equal opportunity and gender equality in Ankara on Thursday and loudly asked Aliye Kavaf to apologize for last month's remark. The meeting was attended by Italy's equal opportunities minister, Mara Carfagna, a former model and TV starlet.

The protesters held banners that read "Don't hate, apologize."

Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but gays say they lack legal protection and face social stigma in the Muslim nation.

Turkey's government has implemented broad reforms in its bid to join the European Union but remains heavily influenced by conservative and religious values.

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