Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that there’s “no such thing as LGBT” in his latest statement against the community amid protests in Istanbul led by the country’s youth. The protests began last month after Erdogan’s naming of loyalist Melih Bulu as the rector of the prestigious Bogazici University led to more than 300 students and supporters being unlawfully detained. The protesters want Bulu to resign as they believe his appointment goes against the very idea of democracy and violates civil rights.
- Erdogan has been praising the young members of his AK Party. That may not seem like a big deal on the surface until you realize that his praise is based on his belief that his supporters are solely responsible for carrying on the “glorious history of this nation” and not being “LGBT youth,” BBC News reports.
- For the record, homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey. However, that doesn’t mean it’s widely accepted. Anti-LGBTQI+ sentiment has grown considerably over the past several years, and Erodgan’s comments only further these hateful and downright dangerous views. Up until 2019, the Pride march was banned for five years in a row, while the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it from happening in 2020. Just last week, four students were recently arrested for combining LGBT imagery with an image of an Islamic site on a piece of artwork.
- Erdogan has likened LGBT youth and their supporters to domestic terrorists. In a speech made to members of the AK Party on Monday, February 1, Erodgan said: “We will carry our young people to the future, not as the LGBT youth, but as the youth that existed in our nation’s glorious past. You are not the LGBT youth, not the youth who commit acts of vandalism. On the contrary, you are the ones who repair broken hearts.” In 2020, he insisted that those who support LGBTQI+ rights are guilty of destroying “our national and spiritual values” and “poisoning” the country’s youth.
- When confronted, he only doubled down on his remarks. According to SBS News, Erdogan was asked to answer to his remarks on the LGBTQI+ community, but he showed no remorse for his words and instead only went further with his opinions. “The LGBT, there is no such thing. This country is… moral, and it will walk to the future with these values.”