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Content about Istanbul

November 25, 2014

Unlock the ancient, enigmatic glamour of the Turkish metropolis with our guide

Pushed and pulled by the eastern and western worlds for centuries, absorbing influences and attitudes from both Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is astoundingly resilient.

And Istanbul, with 14 million people, has been the cosmopolitan centre of the region since it was founded as Constantinople in 330 AD. The Bosphorus Strait, a shipping lane that links the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea dividing Istanbul in two, is one of the boundaries between Europe and Asia.

November 19, 2014

Cruise specialist woos pink passengers with exclusive offers – and routes to Copenhagen, Key West and Gran Canaria

'My husband had never even entertained the idea of taking a holiday on a cruise until we met,' laughs Scott Anderson, General Manager of the Luxury Cruise Company. 'But since then that's the only type of holiday he wants to do!'

November 18, 2014

For many in the Middle East, Turkey is a safe haven for LGBTI people. But the gay and trans population still faces great hatred and real danger

Turkey is a country conflicted when it comes to its LGBTI population.

On one hand, Turkey is the first country in the Muslim world to hold a Pride march. Now, 11 years on, 2014 Istanbul Pride is widely lauded. It surpassed last year’s LGBTQI pride attendance that drew nearly 100,000 revelers and onlookers.

It is the ‘go-to’ country for LGBTI Muslims fleeing other Islamic countries for their safety.

The country’s Supreme Court acknowledged in July that calling LGBTI citizens ‘perverts’ is hate speech.

October 14, 2014

'If Turkey could understand we too are people, then I do believe one day our marriage will be legal'

A Turkish gay couple have lost their jobs, evicted from their home and are facing death threats from their family for choosing to get 'married'.

Ekin Keser, 21, and Emrullah Tüzün, 27, say they are afraid for their lives after choosing to commit to each other in a symbolic wedding.

The couple wed on a ferry in Istanbul in September. While it had no legal significance, they hoped publicizing it would challenge views.

July 7, 2014

Do you dream of Turkey's cool buildings, amazing beaches and hot oil wrestling? The country voted as the world’s most popular destination by TripAdvisor readers is changing its visa entry rules starting 1 January 2015

This year Turkey’s largest city and cultural heart Istanbul was voted as the top travel destination in the world by TripAdvisor users.

The reasons are hardly surprising.

Turkey is just one of those places that has everything.

Amazing food bazaars, stunning architecture like the Hagia Sophia, natural attractions like beaches and mud baths…

July 7, 2014

Do you dream of Turkey's cool buildings, amazing beaches and hot oil wrestling? The country voted as the world’s most popular destination by TripAdvisor readers is changing its visa entry rules starting 1 January 2015

This year Turkey’s largest city and cultural heart Istanbul was voted as the top travel destination in the world by TripAdvisor users.

The reasons are hardly surprising.

Turkey is just one of those places that has everything.

Amazing food bazaars, stunning architecture like the Hagia Sophia, natural attractions like beaches and mud baths…

June 30, 2014

Thousands marched in Turkey over the weekend in the largest gay pride event seen in any majority Muslim country on Earth

Tens of thousands of LGBTI people and their supporters marched down Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue on Sunday for this year’s Istanbul Pride March and the number of participants may have even been bigger than the 100,000 who marched last year.

Billed as the largest expression of LGBTI pride anywhere in the Muslim world, participants waved rainbow flags and signs and marched peacefully under the watch of Turkish police.

June 30, 2014

Thousands marched in Turkey over the weekend in the largest gay pride event seen in any majority Muslim country on Earth

Tens of thousands of LGBTI people and their supporters marched down Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue on Sunday for this year’s Istanbul Pride March and the number of participants may have even been bigger than the 100,000 who marched last year.

Billed as the largest expression of LGBTI pride anywhere in the Muslim world, participants waved rainbow flags and signs and marched peacefully under the watch of Turkish police.

April 6, 2014

The four – among other 28 other candidates – signed a protocol prepared by a gay rights group to undertake to protect and improve gay rights, and partner with LGBT associations and promote anti-discrimination measures

Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul and its southern port city of Mersin now have four 'LGBT-friendly' mayors between them.

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the four elected were among 32 candidates who ran during the elections on March 30 and signed the LGBT Friendly Municipality Protocol.

December 3, 2013

The Pansy Project, a British street artist's global campaign to raise awareness of homophobia by planting pansies in cities around the world, comes to Hong Kong

If you happen to be walking through the streets of Hong Kong this week and come by a pretty pansy, it might be marking a place where a homophobic attack took place.

London, New York, Istanbul, Berlin and Pretoria are just some examples of dozens of cities where pink and purple pansies can be found marking scenes of gay hate.

Paul Harfleet, British street artist, started to plant flowers in 2005 at specific locations where homophobic abuses took place in Manchester.

September 25, 2013

Joel Simkhai says ‘freedom to communicate is a basic right and Grindr is exploring all options to resolve this matter including a legal appeal'

Gay dating app Grindr is considering threatening legal action over its ban in Turkey.

Earlier this month, the app was blocked by Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace as a ‘protection measure’.

Joel Simkhai, the founder and CEO of Grindr, told The Independent they were considering how to respond to the ban.

They believe around 125,000 Turkish gay users are no longer able to use the hook-up app.

September 24, 2013

Gay Star News speaks to Turkey's first openly gay mayoral candidate Can Çavuşoğlu to learn about the 43-year-old's motivations, campaign platforms and chances at winning the mayoral seat

Last week Gay Star News reported 43-year-old Can Çavuşoğlu announced he was running for mayor of Bulancak, Turkey.

The Istanbul native could become the country's first openly gay mayor in office.

Though homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, the LGBT community has no legal protections against discrimination in the Muslim-majority country.

September 18, 2013

Turkish LGBT group KAOS GL says Grindr ban is sign of government interference in their lives

Gay dating app Grindr is asking members to try to overturn a ban on its service in Turkey.

Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace blocked Grindr as a ‘protection measure’ on 11 September although GSN sources in the country claim other gay dating and sex hook-up apps still work in Turkey.

September 16, 2013

Can Çavuşoğlu has received mixed reactions as he announced his candidacy to become the first openly gay mayor in the majority Muslim nation

43-year-old gay man Can Çavuşoğlu hopes to become the first openly gay mayor in Turkey.

The Istanbul-native announced this weekend his bid for mayor of Bulancak, a Black Sea town with a population of about 60,000 according to Agence France Presse. Local elections are scheduled to take place March 2014.

September 12, 2013

Hookup app says it was created in order to facilitate communication in countries where the LGBT community is oppressed

Gay dating app Grindr has said they are ‘very upset’ over being banned in Turkey.

GSN reported yesterday (11 September) users were unable to get onto the website, app, and database.

According to gay rights group KAOS GL, Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace blocked the app as a ‘protection measure.’

In a statement made to Gay Star News, a Grindr spokesman said they were ‘very upset’ over the action.

September 11, 2013

Hook-up app and website for gay and bisexual men is blocked by the Criminal Court as a 'protection measure'

Turkey has banned, censored and blocked the gay dating app Grindr, it was revealed today (11 September).

The online database and website are inaccessible in the country from yesterday evening, according to the main Turkish LGBT association KAOS GL.

According to the gay rights group, Istanbul’s Criminal Court of Peace blocked the app as a ‘protection measure’.

A user attempting to access the hookup website received a message stating the Telecommunications Communication Presidency had implemented the measure.

July 1, 2013

Tens of thousands people joined Istanbul gay pride, including Gezi park protestors in a march of unity and solidarity demanding change 

LGBT rights activists and demonstrators were joined by Gezi Park protestors in an unprecedented show of unity and solidarity at Istanbul’s gay pride.

KAOS GL, Turkey’s main LGBT rights organization, estimated tens of thousands joined pride from previous protests against the demolition of Istanbul's Gezi Park, which turned into a nation wide pro-democracy movement.

July 1, 2013

Tens of thousands people joined Istanbul gay pride, including Gezi park protestors in a march of unity and solidarity demanding change 

LGBT rights activists and demonstrators were joined by Gezi Park protestors in an unprecedented show of unity and solidarity at Istanbul’s gay pride.

KAOS GL, Turkey’s main LGBT rights organization, estimated tens of thousands joined pride from previous protests against the demolition of Istanbul's Gezi Park, which turned into a nation wide pro-democracy movement.

June 24, 2013

Turkey’s 4th annual transgender pride march turned into a march protesting the planned demolition of Istanbul’s Gezi Park and the marchers were joined by politicians from the main opposition party

Turkey’s transgender community held its 4th annual pride march along Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue yesterday, but the event turned into a protest in solidarity with the Gezi Park protesters and marchers were reportedly applauded by bystanders.

June 24, 2013

Turkey’s 4th annual transgender pride march turned into a march protesting the planned demolition of Istanbul’s Gezi Park and the marchers were joined by politicians from the main opposition party

Turkey’s transgender community held its 4th annual pride march along Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue yesterday, but the event turned into a protest in solidarity with the Gezi Park protesters and marchers were reportedly applauded by bystanders.

June 17, 2013

Turkish police has bashed a gay activist as he takes aid to Istanbul protestors, while three others have been detained and verbally abused

A peaceful gay activist has been pushed to the ground and beaten by Turkish police at an anti-government protest in Istanbul.

And three other LGBT protestors have been reported to have been verbally abused by the riot police who targeted them because of their sexuality.

All four are part of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park protest that started in Turkey on 28 May.

The protests were sparked by outrage at a brutal eviction of a peaceful sit-in at the park protesting against its demolition.

April 30, 2013

Student says Yeditepe University cancelled a conference on LGBT ethics organized by medical students

A student in Turkey says a university in Istanbul refused permission for an LGBT conference organized by students on campus.

Medical students at Yeditepe University, a private university with 15,000 students, organized a conference called LGBT-Medicine-Ethics, due to be held last week.

The program was to include sessions on problems faced by LGBT people in medicine, gender realignment surgery and LGBT ethics in medicine - but administrators refused the students permission to hold the conference.

April 18, 2013

Michelle Demishevich has progressed from working in nightclubs to being hired as Turkey's first openly transgender TV reporter

Before transitioning, Michelle Demishevich was fired from her job as a newspaper journalist in Izmir, Turkey. Now nearly 15 years later she has been hired by Turkish TV channel IMC as a reporter. 

'I have heard of trans columnists but I am the first trans TV reporter in Turkey,' Demishevich said to Bianet.org about her dream come true.

March 10, 2013

‘We are very shocked and sad’ says an LGBT activist in Turkey over the woman’s death

A trans woman attacked four days ago in Turkey has died.

The victim was reportedly a resident of the Meis district, where complaints of police violence and pressure from local residents have been reported since October 2012.

According to Rozerin Seap Kip, lawyer for Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association in Turkey (SPoD), the victim was heavily beaten up four days ago. She died yesterday at a hospital in Bakirköy, Istanbul.