Istanbul Pride cancelled for second year in a row due to ‘safety concerns’
Istanbul Pride is cancelled for the second year in a row, after serious threats from an anti-gay group.
The Turkish capital’s governor, Vasip Şahin, called off Pride celebrations that were scheduled to take place on Sunday (25 June).
Şahin cites ‘safety concerns’ as the reason for cancelling Istanbul Pride.
In a statement, he said: ‘There are very serious reactions against this call by different segments of society [and] on social media platforms.
‘According to the conclusion of our governorship’s evaluation, the march that is being organized will not be allowed for the safety of our citizens.’
Ultra-nationalist Nazi youth group, Alperen Hearths, threatened the celebrations last week.
‘If the state allows it, we will not. We will not allow them to walk,’ Kürşat Mican, the group’s head in Istanbul, said on KRT TV.
‘Wherever they march, we’ll also go. We will close down that street and they will not be able to go there. If we want, our numbers can reach 200,000.’
He claimed gay people have started to ‘organize in every neighborhood…destroying the unit of the family’.
‘Their project is to create a structure in every neighborhood. We are warning our intelligence agencies,’ Mican added.
‘This is part of a project by capitalist, communist and imperialist powers. By popularizing homosexuality, they want to destroy the unity of family, stop reproduction, end relations between wives and husbands, and prevent children born in such relations from growing up to be propitious to their land and country.’
The governor also said the proper permissions were not granted to the Pride marchers.
The statement read: ‘Taksim Square and its vicinity where the march is being called for is not listed among meeting and demonstration areas.’
But LGBTI activists disagree. In a statement of reply, they said: ‘The statement made by the governorship clearly neglects the fact that LGBTI+’s are a part of this society.
‘Furthermore the statement also legitimizes groups or individuals who make threats and commit hate crimes by suggesting that there are “sensitivities.”’
‘Get used to it – we are here and we are not leaving,’ it read.
Istanbul Pride cancelled for second year in a row
Last year, hardline groups said they would do ‘what was necessary‘ to prevent Istanbul Pride from happening.
The same alt-right group who threatened this year’s march said they would ‘intervene’ if the march too place.
Mican said at the time: ‘Dear state officials: do not make us deal with these.
Either you do what is needed or we will do it. We are ready to take any risks; we will directly prevent the march from happening