20 Days Remaining

Thursday 23rd
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

RAINBOW flags surrounded Turkey’s embassy in London yesterday during a demonstration against an attack on LGBT rights in the country.

Campaigners protested at an “indefinite” ban on LGBT events taking place in Ankara on the apparently spurious grounds of “protecting public safety.”

Included in the ban are LGBT film screenings, theatre shows, panel discussions and exhibitions which the authorities claimed could create animosity and endanger “health and morality” and the rights and freedoms of others.

Gethin Roberts said: “The situation for queer people, women, Kurds, leftists, democrats and human rights defenders in Turkey gets worse every day.

“LGBTI organisations, LGBTI culture and social activities and LGBTI lives are under attack by the AKP government.”

Pride marches in Istanbul have been banned for the last two years on similar grounds.

Earlier yesterday morning, Amnesty International members held a small demonstration at the London embassy to mark the beginning of the trial of Taner Kilic, the human rights organisation’s chair in Turkey, who was arrested in Istanbul in June.

Mr Kilic has been charged with being a member of the Gulenist movement — deemed a terrorist organisation by the Turkish government — after allegedly downloading and using the Bylock mobile phone app that the regime claims Gulenists use to communicate.

He is also charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation,” as are human rights activists known as the Istanbul 10 who were arrested in July as they attended a workshop near the city.

Most were released on bail earlier this week, though Mr Kilic remains behind bars.

Amnesty International general secretary Salil Shetty said: “We will continue undaunted to campaign for the release of our chair and the dropping of the charges against all human rights defenders in Turkey.”