- Title: Pride celebrations stir tensions in Turkey
- Date: 1st July 2020
- Summary: ISTANBUL, TURKEY (JULY 1, 2020) (REUTERS) KINIK WALKING PAST (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF TURKISH RED CRESCENT, KEREM KINIK, SAYING: "Actually my tweet does not refer any specific sexual orientation and there is nothing in my tweet targeting any specific group or any identity, any race, any gender or sexual orientation. This is why I specifically used pedophile but I believe that it is misunderstood actually."
- Embargoed: 15th July 2020 14:12
- Keywords: LGBT Turkey tensions
- Location: ISTANBUL, ANKARA, TURKEY, INTERNET
- City: ISTANBUL, ANKARA, TURKEY, INTERNET
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003CKZBHHJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Pride celebrations exposed fault lines in Turkey as authorities called for caution against LGBT propaganda, while companies who adopted rainbow colours on social media in support of the LGBT communities were called out and boycotted.
Hashtags calling for the ban of all LGBT activities in the country and a shopping boycott from celebrating companies have been trending on Twitter since Sunday, celebrated by LGBT communities worldwide as Pride Day.
On Sunday (June 28), Kerem Kinik, chair of the Red Crescent Society of Turkey, said on Twitter that he would "fight against those who violate healthy creation". The tweet drew a rebuke from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the movement's international network, where Kinik is one of five vice presidents.
In response, Fahrettin Altun, a top aide to President Tayyip Erdogan, tweeted, "LGBT propaganda poses a grave threat to freedom of speech. The IFRC became complicit in that attack by targeting [Kinik] - a doctor who devoted his entire life to protecting children around the world. We won't be silenced!"
In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday (June 30), Kinik said he didn't refer to any specific sexual orientation.
Erdogan also joined the debate by saying on Monday that an assault on traditional values of the society was underway, without specifically addressing homosexuality.
Turkish fashion designer and outspoken critic of the government, Barbaros Sansal, said people had to "pay the bill" for opposing Erdogan and demanding human rights such freedom of speech.
"If you are pro-regime, and pro-Erdogan, you can be a homosexual. But if you are opposition, you are sin," Sansal told Reuters in an interview.
In April, Erdogan had defended Ali Erbas, the head of the state's religious affairs directorate, after he said homosexuality caused disease and corruption. Prosecutors opened probes into bar associations that accused Erbas of inciting hatred.
A report published in June by the Istanbul-based advocacy group SPoD, showed that discrimination and violence due to sexual identity and orientation doubled in the 45 days following Erbas' remarks, compared with the previous period, warning that such messages targeted an already vulnerable group.
(Production: Bulent Usta, Omer Berberoglu)
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