Turkish capital bans all LGBTI screenings, exhibitions and events

Turkish capital bans all LGBTI screenings, exhibitions and events

Governor’s office of Ankara has banned the public showing of all films, exhibitions and events related to LGBTI issues, citing 'public sensitivities'.

The governor’s office of the Turkish capital Ankara has banned the public showing of all films, exhibitions and events related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, citing “public sensitivities”. Kaos GL and Pink Life said, Ankara Governor’s ban on LGBTI events is illegal!

“Starting from Nov. 18, 2017, considering public sensitivities, any events such as LGBT ... cinema, theater performances, panels, interviews and exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province, in order to provide peace and security,” the Ankara Governor’s Office stated on Sunday.

“It has been found out from various social media and some written and visual media organs that a number of activities of cinema, theater, panel, interview, exhibition, etc. were planned in different parts of our province by various NGOs under the name of LGBTT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transvestite) as well as LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex),” it added.

“A part of society with different qualities in terms of social class, race, religion, sect, or region could therefore explicitly incite another part [of the society] to grudges and enmity, posing an open and imminent danger in terms of public safety,” the statement also said.

The authorities in Ankara had banned a German gay film festival on Nov. 15, the day before it was due to start, citing “public safety and terrorism risks.”

Four movies by German directors were scheduled to be screened as part of the two-day festival, organized jointly by the German Embassy and the Pink Life QueerFest.

The bans come after annual LGBT pride marches have been banned for three years running in Turkey.


Ankara based LGBTI organisations Pink Life and Kaos GL published a joint statement on Governorship of Ankara’s indefinite ban on LGBTI events. Pink Life and Kaos GL's press release is here:

"We learned that the governor’s office of Ankara banned “from November 18, 2017 onwards, activities of LGBTT-LGBTI organizations such as film screenings, cinevision, theater plays, panels, talks, exhibitions which include certain social sensitivities and sensibilities” via its website.

We will follow legal proceedings on the governor’s illegal, discriminatory and arbitrary ban. There can be no legitimate or legal grounds for such a wholesale ban that touches the core of rights.

In an omnibus ban with a very wide scope, we are facing a situation that is vague, open to interpretation and rights violations, criminalizing LGBTI existence. LGBTI civil society organizations are respectable institutions working for years to combat discrimination and hate crimes for equal citizenship. This ban, which goes beyond limiting the areas of activity of these institutions and making them inoperable, cannot be accepted in a democratic society.

Ankara governor’s office’s grounds for the omnibus ban, including the phrases “protecting public health and morality,” “social sensibilities and sensitivities,” “public security” and “protection of other people’s rights and liberties” are clearly discriminatory. This decision legitimizes rights violations and discrimination against LGBTIs.

This decision and the illegal and vague grounds for it violate the very fundamental freedom of expression and association as well as other fundamental rights and freedoms. With this ban, fundamental rights have been interfered with in their essence.

Ankara governor’s office’s decision to ban violates our constitution’s Article 10 on equality and Article 26 on freedom to announce and disseminate thoughts, as well as international agreements Turkey is party to.

With this announcement the civil administration is endangering public safety by turning LGBTIs and civil society organizations, who are an important part of the public, into targets instead of fulfilling its duty to ensure public security.

We expect this decision to be rethought and withdrawn in the shortest amount of time. In our country where discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity is rampant, it is the duty of national and local administrations to combat this discrimination and hate." (EVRENSEL DAILY)