Istanbul Pride Week Committee’s Announcement Regarding Governor’s Decision Against the Pride March

Istanbul Pride Week Committee announced that the Pride March is to take place in spite of Governorship’s decision to ban the march. Below is the written statement published by the committee:

Source: “Our announcement to the public and press” (“Basına ve kamuoyuna duyurumuzdur”), Istanbul Pride Week Committee, June 29, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/istanbulpride/posts/1677107182416888:0

OUR ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE PUBLIC AND PRESS

“As Istanbul Pride Week Committee, we came together to organize the Pride March which is to take place in the last week of June as every year. Our Pride Week and March are very important for us to celebrate the pride we feel for our existence and to provide our visibility in a society in which we are systematically rendered invisible and are taught to be ashamed for our identities. It is no secret that the Pride March, which is ever more crowded with each year, takes place on the last Sunday of the month. We have been struggling with the same determination for the last 26 years, to make our call for the march be heard and to be visible.

As Article 3 of the Law on Assembly and Marches indicates, it is every citizen’s right to organize an assembly and march as long as it is peaceful, without prior permissions. However, as it is the case every year, this year too, we requested a meeting with the governorship in order to discuss our march, which is known to all the world. In the meeting we had with the governor’s aide, we were told that in previous years the march coincided with Ramadan in recent years, that this is not a hindrance this year as it is not Ramadan, however it is up to the Governor to decide.

After the meeting, the committee send a written notice regarding the week and the march to the Governorship. Unfortunately, the Governor’s reply points to the Law on Assembly and Marches which is supposed to protect our right to protest, and states that they will not be able to ensure our security, therefore it is not appropriate to organize the Pride March.

Pride March has been organized for 16 years and had taken place without any security issues for thirteen years straight, prior to the police assaults. Governorship of Istanbul stated Ramadan and security issues as an excuse first, yet for the last two years the march has not coincided with Ramadan and this year it has not received any threats, which demonstrates that the premises for the governorship’s bans are merely excuses and indeed the governorship’s decision is a part of the hatred against us.

The governor is committing a crime by using his authority to discriminate against a certain section of society. This decision is unlawful and only incites the hatred against us, therefore it is not legitimate. Yes, as the Governorship decision states we do have a security problem, yet the reason for this problem is none other than the Governorship and the police forces attacking our march, which our democratic right, every year. This decision has shown just how important Pride March is for us LGBTI+ individuals, trying to live in spite of the hatred directed towards us. This march takes place against [a backdrop of] the very violence and discrimination that the governorship’s decision further incites.

We announce to the public and press that  we will carry out our Pride March with the same determination as we have done for the last twenty six years and we would like to remind all that each lubunya [queer person] is a Pride March. “

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