Popular gay dating app Grindr, which was banned by a Turkish court last week, is set to fight against the ban and get back online.
The company has announced that it is working with Kaos GL, a Turkish gay-rights organisation, and campaigning group All Out to launch a petition to force the Turkish government to rescind the ban.
The app had more than 125,000 active members when it was banned last week by the Turkish Criminal Court of Peace as a ‘protection measure.’ Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party has been criticised for what has been seen as a tightening of social freedoms in the country.
Founder and CEO of Grindr, Joel Simkhai, told the Independent that: “Oppression starts with the strangling of free speech and just like the burning of books in the past, today it’s done by cutting off people’s access to technology.
“Freedom to communicate is a basic right and Grindr is exploring all options to resolve this matter including a legal appeal.”
Kaos GL’s Media Coordinator, Ömer Akpinar, said: “This is simply a dismissal of the LGBT society through official policies of denial and discriminative practices. The Grindr ban is just another example showing that the Turkish Prime Minister’s recurrent words ‘we do not intervene with anyone’s lifestyle’ are not true.”
A new draft constitution in Turkey makes mention of protecting LGBT rights, a measure designed to help Turkey’s application to join the European Union, but activists at Kaos GL believe the clause will make little difference in the country itself and may be dropped altogether in the final draft.
In 2011, Amnesty International accused the Turkish government or ignoring harassment and discrimination against gay people, with their lead researcher claiming that “homophobic statements by government officials have encouraged discrimination against individuals.”