Scroll To Top
Yahoo Feed

Istanbul celebrates Pride despite ban and arrests

Istanbul Turkey Demonstrators participants rainbow banners LGBT March Kadikoy district celebrate lgbtq Pride Month
KEMAL ASLAN/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers said they “changed continents” in response to the government crackdown.

Police in Turkey shut down portions of Istanbul and detained at least 15 individuals for alleged participation in a banned Pride parade on Sunday, according to advocates and media outlets. Over 100 attendees celebrated Pride despite the crackdown by switching continents — between the "European" and "Asian" sides of the city — to avoid police and organizers later announced those arrested had been released.

The government banned the Pride festivities on Sunday and promised to prevent “various illegal groups” from conducting the event. Police were out in force shutting down Taksim Square and Istikial Avenue, the traditional location of the Pride festivities.

“Today, you closed down Istikial, blocked all roads and squares leading to it. You halted life in a whole city,” Istanbul Pride taunted the government in a statement read to the media and posted to social media on Sunday.

In response to the government’s ban and actions, organizers moved the event from the European side of the city to the Suadiye neighborhood on the Asian side.

“We didn’t recognize your absurd bans,” Istanbul Pride said in the statement. “In one day, we changed continents, partied until dawn, organized in the streets.”

The government under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has clamped down on the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. Successive governments since 2013 have banned the annual Pride celebrations in Istanbul, although participants still meet for the event and often clash with authorities.

Last year, an estimated 113 people were detained by Turkish police for participating in the Pride march, according to Human Rights Watch.

In 2022, police arrested over 350 people for participation in the banned event. The government claimed it had banned the event due to safety concerns, the same reason provided for the ban of the Pride event on Sunday.

“Police attacked Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March this year as well. LGBTI+s marched to Cihangir by crossing over police attack,” the Ankara-based LGBTQ+ rights group Kaos GL posted to X Twitter at the time. “373 LGBTI+ activists were detained and they were released after a night at custody.”

Activists remained equally defiant on Sunday.

“Know this, 12th President, who made us a target in his victory speech: your organized family gatherings, your divisive politics won’t work on us,” Istanbul Pride said. “We won’t leave the streets, politics, or our lives to you.”

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Donald Padgett