In a last-minute move, the governor of Istanbul banned Sunday’s Pride Parade, using the month of Ramadan as a justification.
As demonstrators gathered to start the Pride Parade, defying the ban, they got violently attacked by Turkish police, which used tear gas, plastic bullets and water cannons.
Authorities also deployed militarized police vehicles.
Istanbul Pride has taken place without incident since 2003.
Kati Piri MEP, European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey and Member of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, reacted: “Istanbul is a city of diversity and has a long tradition of peaceful pride parades.”
“I very much regret the unacceptable police violence yesterday against all the courageous marchers.”
Terry Reintke MEP, Member of the LGBTI Intergroup and present at the Istanbul Pride, added: “It is absurd that after years of peaceful pride marches, the government uses police forces that should have protected the Pride, to attack the Pride.”
“This state-orchestrated violence is an act of despair by the authorities, who are facing an increasingly stronger opposition, both in Parliament and in civil society.”
Isabella Adinolfi MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, continued: “All the courageous marchers, and their allies, who ignored the ban, demonstrated what a 21st century Turkey should look like: full respect for democratic values and fundamental rights.”
“This should play a large role in the accession negotiations, and I am certain that both the Commission and Parliament will take this up in their work with Turkey.”
The Commission will publish its next accession report for Turkey in October.
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