The Turkish capital Ankara has banned the public showing of films and exhibitions in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, the governor’s office said on Sunday, citing risks to public safety.
The move will worry gay rights activists and Turkey’s Western allies about its record on civil liberties under President Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party, who is extremely anti-gay.
“Starting from Nov. 18, 2017, concerning our community’s public sensitivity, any events such as LGBT… cinema, theater, panels, interviews, exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province to provide peace and security,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
It said that such exhibitions could cause different groups in society to “publicly harbor hatred and hostility” toward each other and therefore pose a risk to public safety.
Authorities in Ankara had already banned a German gay film festival on Wednesday, the day before it was due to start, citing public safety and terrorism risks.
Gay pride parades have been banned in Istanbul for the last two years.
Unlike in many Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but there is widespread hostility towards it.