General News

Turkish president attacks LGBTQ+ community

Rachel Badham February 6, 2021

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan attacked the LGBTQ+ community in a televised address to his ruling Justice and Development Party, amid continuing protests at Boğaziçi University which saw police arrest four pro-LGBTQ+ students. The protests began after the government election of Professor Melih Bulu as a senior university official. The students argued it contradicted the university’s 158-year-long history of electing its own rectors. However, a small group of students was then arrested for laying down a poster which showed the Kaaba (the most sacred site in Islam) alongside LGBTQ+ rainbows. 

Protests at Boğaziçi University

President Erdogan condemned the pro-LGBTQ+ students, describing them as vandals and saying they do not represent the national image he wishes to maintain: “We will carry our young people to the future, not as the LGBT youth, but as the youth that existed in our nation’s glorious past. You are not the LGBT youth, not the youth who commit acts of vandalism. On the contrary, you are the ones who repair broken hearts.” He has now spoken out against the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, with the Daily Mail reporting him saying there is “no such thing” as queer people. 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

He suggested LGBTQ+ people are ‘immoral’, saying: “This country is moral, and it will walk to the future with these values.” He even referred to the student protestors as ‘terrorists’: “This country will not be run by terrorists. We will do whatever is needed to prevent this...[The protestors lack] national and spiritual values.” The protests are growing increasingly violent, with a total of 300 students being arrested after clashes with police. The university’s LGBTQ+ society, Boğaziçi LGBTİ+, called for the release of the students who laid down the LGBTQ+ artwork, saying: “We stand with our detained friends against those who attack LGBT+ people. We do not accept trustees who target their own students.”