All LGBT events in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, have been banned.
Events such as LGBT film screenings, theatre shows, panels, and exhibitions have been banned for an "indefinite" period. The Ankara governor's office said the ban has been imposed to protect "public security". The restrictions came into effect on Saturday
The governor’s office claimed such LGBT events may cause animosity between different groups and endanger "health and morality", as well as the rights and freedoms of others. It warned some groups may be provoked by LGBTI events and take action against participants due to "certain social sensitivities".
Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey and numerous LGBTI associations are legally registered with the state. But there is widespread hostility and rights activists say LGBTI people face discrimination and stigma.
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 running. In June, 25 LGBTI rights supporters were arrested after attending a banned Pride march. They were later charged with participating in an unauthorised demonstration. Istanbul’s local government had banned the march at the last minute on the grounds "it might lead to provocative actions and disrupt the public order". Police in riot gear broke up the parade, firing rubber bullets at demonstrators, after organisers decided to press ahead with the event.
Organisers of Pink Life Queerfest said the ban "deprives us of our constitutional rights in the name of 'protection'".
"Our security cannot be provided by imprisoning us behind walls, asking us to hide," organisers said. "Our security will be provided by recognising us in the constitution, by securing justice, by equality and freedom."