Despite the ban on Pride marches in Turkey has been lifted, a student LGBTI march at a university in Ankara will not take place.
The Middle East Technical University (METU) in the Turkish capital has hosted Pride marches over the last eight years. However, students will not celebrate the LGBTI community in 2019.
The march at METU was to take place on 10 May, but the university’s rectorate banned the event.
METU ‘should be supporting and protecting such marches’
‘For the last eight years students at this university have marched through their campus to celebrate pride and demand equality and dignity for LGBTI people,’ Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe Fotis Filippou said.
‘It is a celebration of love which sends a message of hope to all those struggling to uphold fundamental rights in Turkey and beyond.’
Filippou furthermore added: ‘Rather than banning Pride events, the university should be supporting and protecting such marches and challenging homophobia and transphobia.’
Sign the petition
Filippou also urged people to support the Pride event at Metu by putting pressure on the university rector, Professor Mustafa Verşan Kök.
— Fotis Filippou (@Fotis_Filippou) May 8, 2019
The letter emphasizes the ‘right to peaceful assembly’ is a ‘fundamental human right that cannot be denied arbitrarily’.
‘Now that the unlawful blanket ban on all LGBTI events in Ankara has been lifted, I look forward to hearing that METU students, who want to celebrate LGBTI pride, are allowed to march on 10 May with your protection. It’s their right to march and enjoy the pride,’ the letter also reads.
You can sign the petition here.
METU Pride 2018
The prominent technical university faced difficulties when trying to organize a Pride in 2018 as well.
On 11 May 2018, students held their annual Pride march, despite a ban on all LGBTI events in the capital. METU upheld the ban, but hundreds of students peacefully marched on the university campus.
According to Amnesty International, the university authorities had informed the Ankara Governorate of the Pride march in April 2018. The Governorate responded that both the festival and march could not go ahead because of the risk of ‘provocation’.
Finally, the university rector Verşan Kök had to allow the march due to the huge protest.
A court lifted the ban on Prides in Ankara
A court has lifted a ban on LGBTI Pride events in Turkey’s capital city, Ankara.
Kaos GL, a Turkish LGBTI rights group, successfully appealed the ban at the 12th administrative court on 20 April.
According to Ministry of Interior’s response of 14 March 2019 to a formal information request by the lawyer of KAOS-GL, there is no general ban on LGBTI events in Ankara. Authorities need to assess each application individually.
The ban had been in effect since November 2017. It had been introduced under emergency powers brought in following an attempted coup against the Turkish government in 2016.