One of Turkey’s most prominent LGBTI human rights activists has been arrested by authorities in the capital, Ankara.
Ali Erol founded the Kaos GL which was Turkey’s first registered LGBT organization.
Erol was arrested at his home on Friday morning (2 February).
Authorities have not yet revealed why Erol was arrested but his colleagues at Kaos GL said that they had referred to his social media reports in the arrest warrant.
‘Us having such little information about the detention of a prominent figure of the LGBTI movement and founder of Kaos GL is unlawful and worrying,’ said Kaos GL’s media and communications coordinator, Yildiz Tar.
‘This detention is an intervention in both freedom of expression and LGBTI rights. We hope this mistake will be corrected.’
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but anti-LGBTI actions from the authorities have been on the rise.
In November 2017, Ankara banned all future LGBTI events with the Governor Mehmet Kılıçlar saying they could create public animosity from other groups of people. Kılıçlar said it was necessary to protect public safety.
In the city of Istanbul, Pride events have been cancelled for the past three years.
Protestors who defied the ban last year were shot at with rubber bullets and faced mass arrests.
International human rights groups condemned Erol’s arrest.
OutRight Action International said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian rule was targeting dissenters, opposition leaders, human rights activists, and journalists.
Those groups have been heavily persecuted and arrested, with about 50,000 arrested under Erdogan’s rule.
Jessica Stern, OutRight Action International Executive Director, commented on the arrest, saying,
‘OutRight calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Turkish LGBTIQ human rights activist Ali Erol,’ said OutRight’s executive director Jessica Stern.
‘He is an unjust casualty of an increasingly authoritarian government attacking democracy and curtailing the rights of Turkish citizens exercising their rights to expression and assembly.
‘The persecution of LGBTIQ, and all, Turkish human rights defenders needs to stop now.’