Statement against the Bans and Police Brutality during 29th Istanbul Pride event
We, as the United for Istanbul Convention initiative, condemn in the strongest terms the vast violations of human rights that we witnessed these days. Banning peaceful gatherings and using excessive force is against international and national law and this act must not remain unsanctioned.
On June 22nd, the 29th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week picnic, which was planned to be held in Heybeliada and moved to Maçka Park in Şişli after being prevented by the Islands Police Department, was also banned in Şişli. Later on, Şişli District Governorate banned all events that could be organized within the scope of Pride Week for 30 days on the pretext of “national security, public order, prevention of crime”. After the decision, police surrounded the park, firstly, and did not allow rainbow symbols to be brought into the park. Later, police forces raided the picnic area and attacked the crowd brutally, forcibly removed them and detained one person.
These bans and attacks are obvious violations of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression of LGBTI+ community failing to respect a number of ratified legally binding conventions. The government of Turkey by violating the human rights of LGBTI+ citizens is imposing their discriminatory and heteronormative ideology one more time. The police brutality against the participants of a peaceful gathering is a direct violation of the liberties and rights of Turkish citizens guaranteed by the constitution and legislation.
Therefore, we, as the United for Istanbul Convention initiative, alarmed in the face of these negative developments, call the international community to stand in solidarity with LGBTI+ people in Turkey and to take urgent action against these human rights violations and gender based violence.