General News

Istanbul protestors demand LGBTQ+ and women’s rights

Rachel Badham March 29, 2021

Hundreds gathered in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday to protest against president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent decision to withdraw from a treaty to protect women from violence on the basis it also “normalises homosexuality”. According to The Independent, around 1,000 turned up to demand greater rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community, with a protestor saying:Unfortunately, in Turkey today, if you are an LGBTQ+ person or a woman, it’s very difficult for justice to be on your side…we are making noise to not give up on our rights.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Some protestors also attended to demand the release of 12 students who were detained after displaying rainbow flags at Bogazici University, the majority of whom have now been released. President Erdogan has a history of anti-LGBTQ+ policies, saying in 2020 that queer people are “sneaking up on our national and spiritual values” and trying to “poison young people”. He encouraged Turkish authorities and citizens to oppose any acts of tolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community. 

A Pride parade in Turkey

Poland also pulled out of the international treaty to protect women, after the country’s parliament requested president Andrzej Duda not attend the treaty conference in Istanbul. Instead, the Polish government is drafting an alternative treaty which would aim to ban abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as erase trans identities. LGBTQ+ activists have expressed concern over this, with left-wing Polish MP Marcelina Zawisza saying authorities are determined to reinforce ‘traditional family values’ at the cost of LGBTQ+ and women’s rights.