by Robyn Kennedy
A government ban against Pride events in the Turkish capital of Ankara has been overturned by the Administrative Court. This is the second failed attempt by the Ankara government to prevent public LGBTI+ activities including Pride marches, LGBTI+ film festivals and conferences.
In November 2017, the Ankara Government imposed an indefinite, blanket ban on Pride events, relying on its ‘state of emergency’ powers. The producers of QueerFest, one of the events affected by the ban, said that “This decision deprives us of our constitutional rights under the disguise of ‘protecting’ LGBTI individuals.”
The LGBTI Associations of Ankara took the ban to the Administrative Court who found that “the ban was limitless in terms of duration and without specification of the nature of prohibited actions”. In April 2019, the court ruled that the ban was illegal, noting that if there was a threat to events, law enforcement measures should be taken instead of banning the events.
Despite the court’s ruling, the Ankara Government subsequently imposed a second ban on Pride events. On March 23, 2020 the Administrative Court again cancelled the ban on the basis that the Governor’s office was unable to provide any concrete evidence justifying the ban.
LGBTI+ activists in Ankara are confident that this recent decision by the court will bring an end to the bans.
Robyn Kennedy is a 78er, a former Board member of SGLMG (2017-2019) and currently Co-Chair of the InterPride Human Rights Committee.
[Ed: As yet, the Pride events in Turkey have not been cancelled or postponed. For a constantly updated list of Pride events around the world, visit www.interpride.org/COVID-19.html ]