Source: Yıldız Tar, “Firuzağa Hamamı’na Polis Baskını” (“Police Raid on Firuzağa Hammam”) kaosGL, 13 June 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=16842
Ahmet, a member of the Istanbul Bears, comments, “the areas created by the LGBTIs for themselves are being systematically narrowed down.”
Police raided the Firuzağa Hammam (Turkish Bath) on the grounds that prostitution was being conducted there and took into custody 60 people who were in the establishment at the time.
After being processed, those under custody were released. After being sent to the courthouse, the administrator H.G. was released from custody awaiting trial.
Raids against hammams, which also act as gay hangouts, are not new. Istanbul Bears had hosted an event as part of the Istanbul Bear Pride Week. We talked to Ahmet, an Istanbul Bear, about the raid.
Ahmet, while discussing the raid with kaosGL.org, warns that all living spaces established by LGBTI communities for themselves are being systematically narrowed down.
“There is no Hammam in which sexual incidents do not take place!”
“We have never gone through a raid in any of the hammam or sauna activities we have organized to date. They are open to the public anyways. Besides, two consenting adults over 18 can do whatever they wish. It does not matter if it is gay or hetero; there is no hammam where sexual incidents do not take place.”
No raids on large, touristic hammams
Ahmet says he has never heard of a raid on any of the large touristic hammams even though they have mixed sex baths and crowded parties are often thrown. He asks “Are there are no sexual incidents going on there? Of course there are.”
Ahmet also criticizes the view the current government has against LGBTI people. “It is quite clear that their main goal is to narrow down the space the LGBTI community created for themselves. Firuzağa is also in a special location. It is in a neighborhood where the governing party is very strong.”