Turkey: 'It's just the start': LGBT community fears government crackdown

Turkey’s LGBT community says the government’s banning of LGBT eventsis not only an illegal curtailing of personal freedoms but further proof of the government’s anti-secular agenda, with some saying they are increasingly worried for their safety.

Respondents to a Guardian callout said they thought Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was waging a war against them, and they felt a change in mood towards their community across the country – including in areas where they had previously enjoyed personal freedom.

Authorities in Ankara imposed a ban on all LGBT cultural events on Sunday night, citing threats to public order and fear of “provoking reactions within certain segments of society”. Days earlier, they banned a festival of German-language gay films in the capital city. 

Idil, 25, who lives in a small city in southern Turkey, said he was used to the government’s lack of acceptance for the LGBT community, but he feared authorities were now acting on their words.

“I wasn’t so surprised when I heard [the news]. I have participated in gay pride in Istanbul since 2009. The atmosphere was always really peaceful but, in the last years, it became a tour de force of the police. Brutal attacks have already given a clue about what we were going to experience. I think that this is just a start.”

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