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Istanbul Pride banned due to ‘security concerns’, a year after police fired tear gas at marchers

Nick Duffy June 17, 2016
Turkey's Pride parade 2016 successful despite religious objections. (Getty)

Turkey's Pride parade 2016 successful despite religious objections. (Getty)

Officials in Turkey have ordered that the capital’s Pride parade be cancelled – purportedly because of ‘security’ concerns following Orlando.

Turkey is still extremely conservative when it comes to LGBT issues, and though homosexuality is legal there, gay people are given no legal recognition – and still face regular persecution.

Last year’s Istabnbul Pride was forcibly dispersed by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

Officials have today ordered a ban on this year’s Pride march – due to supposed security concerns, after events in Orlando.

A rights march had been planned for this Sunday, while the main Pride parade was scheduled to take place on June 26.

However, the Governor of Istanbul issued a notice today warning that neither march will be permitted to go ahead.

He warned: “It is understood from some media outlets, websites and social media that some LGBT people planned for marches to take place.

“The organisation of a meeting and demonstration march on the mentioned dates will not be allowed by our governorate for the safety of our citizens, first and foremost the participants’, and for public order.”

Far-right groups in Turkey had issued repeated threats against LGBT rights activists following events in Orlando.

Organiser Ömer Akpinar told the Independent: “This is a continuation of the story that started last year when the police attacked gay activists

“Police waited for people to get together, then used tear gas.”

He added: “The LGBT community in Turkey is a little divided about whether people should march or not.

“It’s not only about this latest threat of ultra-nationalists who might attack people, but if you look at the recent history of Turkey, we’ve had so many bombings and attacks.

“So people are afraid it might be an occasion for IS or another terrorist group to kill thousands of people.”

In the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May said that Pride events this month would go ahead with extra security measures, following the attack in Orlando.

More: Europe, Gay, Istanbul, LGBT, Pride, Turkey, Turkey

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