Turkish Minister Calls LGBT Rights "Terrorist Propaganda"

Turkey’s interior minister Süleyman Soylu describes LGBT rights as “terrorist propaganda” in a hateful speech to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the northwestern province of Bilecik on November 12th.

There is cultural terrorism. The propaganda of a terrorist organization, which tries to make people forget their values, their religion, unity, parental love, and family loyalty. It is exactly Europe's policy, exactly America's policy of divide and rule,” Soylu said in the speech.

“What will happen? They will bring LGBT to Turkey. Forgive me, men will marry men, women will marry women. It just suits (the main opposition CHP leader) Kılıçdaroğlu. What a shame. It lacks all values. They are trying to create a policy based on an understanding that will alter almost all of our values so that they can win the hearts of the Europeans and the West,” he added.

This is not the first time Soylu made negative comments against the LGBT community in Turkey. He has been known for attacking the LGBT community, and Twitter flagged him for “hateful speech” last year when he tweeted about “four LGBT perverts” that were detained for “inciting hatred.

The LGBT “perverts” Soylu referred to in his tweet were students from the Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, who protested against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s appointment of Melih Bulu as the university’s new rector.

While Turkey’s LGBT rights are considered more progressive than other Muslim-majority countries in the world, the ruling AKP has adopted a stricter stance against the LGBT community, especially after the 2013 Gezi Park protests and the 2016 coup attempt. The Istanbul Pride, which began in 2003, has been banned since 2016, but in 2019, an Ankara court lifted the ban on LGBT Pride marches in the country’s capital city. Despite the ban, the LGBT community fought back by organizing a small pride march in June 2022, where the Turkish police arrested 360 people.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also supported constitutional amendments to protect families from “perverse” LGBTQ+ “trends” in the country. These amendments will introduce the right to wear headscarves and measures tackling family issues in Turkey, citing that “family consists of the union of man and woman.

Thousands of protesters also took part in an anti-LGBT demonstration on September 18th, urging the government to ban what they say as “LGBT Propaganda.” The Associated Press described the march as the largest anti-LGBT protest in Turkey.

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