Istanbul Pride Week

Istanbul Pride Week 2018 Event Schedule

Table of Contents


The 25th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Wants Your Support

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, first organized under the name of “Sexual Freedom Week,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. You can support the week, which is organized by a group of volunteers each year, both financially and by sending your event suggestions.

Istanbul LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Plus) Pride Week will take place between 19-25 June 2017.

In 1993, “Sexual Freedom Week” was banned by the governor’s office, the week’s events and the Pride March were not allowed, activists were detained, and international guests were deported. In the following years, Pride Week faced other prohibitions but continued to host events. Despite the bans, the movement’s demands and the social support it received grew and the first Istanbul Pride March took place in 2003, exactly 10 years after the start of Pride Week. The first march had 20-30 people and this has multiplied every year. In 2013, an estimated 100,000 people joined the march on Istiklal Avenue. In 2015 and 2016, Pride Marches were, unexpectedly, prevented by police. But the LGBTI+ movement, prepared to keep up its struggle, “dispersed” across Istiklal Avenue and throughout Istanbul for the 14th Pride March.

This year, LGBTI+ people and opponents of homophobia/biphobia/transphobia will celebrate the 25th year of being together, visibility of LGBTI+ people, and the continued struggle for rights. They will tell the story of growing from 30 people to tens of thousands, they will listen, and they will rewrite.

If you would like to support Pride Week…

This year’s Pride Week volunteer organizers are calling for everyone to rally in support of Pride Week! As in the past, Pride Week expenses are largely covered by the fundraising efforts of our supporters. Those who can provide financial support to help make Pride Week a success, please donate by visiting the Istanbul Pride Week fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.

Open call for artists to exhibit during Pride Week…

The Pride Week exhibition “Nerdeen Nereye,” which holds the belief that the personal is political, and the political is personal, will take place during the 25th Annual Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and is calling for artwork from all fields that fit within the theme of “Geography,” both in terms of bodies and lands. Artists who would like to have their work included in the exhibition, taking place at GalleriBu from June 17th – July 8th, should send all inquiries and applications to by May 31st.

Pride Week organization meetings continue…

Responding to the call every year, Pride Week organizers are made up of an independent group of volunteers. This body takes decisions jointly, and operates within an anti-hierarchical and anti-violence solidarity model. Those who would like to support Pride Week programming, including panels, forums, workshops, plays, film screenings etc., are invited to send in their proposals to [email protected] by May 14th. For those who wish to join Pride Week as a volunteer, Pride Week meetings are held every Wednesday in Taksim.

What will happen during the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week?

Each year the week is organized around a central theme — previously including Attention Family!, Taboo, Memory, Resistance, Interaction, Normal and last year We are organizing! The events are free of charge and open to all. This year in forums, panels, plays, and movies, we will discuss topics in the LGBTI+ agenda like health, visibility, and constitutional rights, and we will also discuss alternative ways to weave political togetherness amid the state of emergency and increasing pressures.

If you believe “if you’re not here, we’re one too few!” make your donation to support the Istanbul Pride Week at the link below.

For Interviews and Special News Requests: Emre Demir 0 (543) 595 36 70 / [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Commission added the “+” last year stating that “we are aiming to socialize the consciousness that all combinations of the rainbow exist and that one cannot assign an identity to anyone by looking at them from the outside.”

My Pride Story: Go On to Shout “We Are Queer, We Are Here, Get Used To It!”

Today in Pride Stories: This photograph, taken when we broke our friend taken into custody away from the police, actually shows where my story comes from.

Cüneyt Yılmaz’s Pride Story

I guess it was 2007. My friend Cihan, studying in Trabzon, wanted to stay in my house when he came to Istanbul for Pride. In brief, he came and stayed, Pride was a day later and I can remember his enthusiasm even today. When we were on the bus on the way to Taksim, he was champing at the bit and his heart almost stopped from excitement. Well, of course he was one of the most popular queers of the time and he used to write for Kaos GL periodically.


I, on the other hand, used to be a ghetto-gay and live my queerness in my quiet life. We went to Taksim, Pride was about to start, I let Cihan reach that colorful, glowing crowd, and then I disappeared into the side streets of Taksim. I was watching the crowd from the side, I was changing my location with the fear of being seen, I was running away in order to avoid to run into someone familiar. The night of that day, based on my reviews, I planned to be open and visible, to join Pride even from the back or with either masks, glasses or other ornaments. However, I could not make it because of some reasons that I cannot even finish writing here.

Afterwords, my queerness got stronger year after year. Just then, I participated Pride 2012 vaingloriously, and with our increased visibility during the Gezi Occupation 2013, I proudly shouted ‘Don’t you dare to make me stop!’

I have never skipped a Pride until the first Pride that I attended in 2010. With the ‘call of dispersing’ last Sunday, we dispersed into every street of Taksim by waving our rainbow flag. The photograph, taken when we broke our friend, who was taken into custody, away from the police, actually shows where my story comes from.

For the sake of our friends who have been murdered, or committed suicide (which is another form of murder)… By becoming Ivana Hoffman, we will continue to fight against darkness, cruelty and homophobia, to live, to laugh, to make love, to kiss.

With our persistence and consistence of last year’s banned Pride, I consider it a duty to march in Trans Pride and Pride from beginning to the end.

We will continue to be in the very front, to be seen, to shout ‘we are queer, we are here, get used to it’ as police and government violence, homophobic and transphobic attacks, verbal harassments and physical abuses, trans murders and hate speeches continue, I will.

Stories multiply as they are shared. If you would like to tell your Pride story as well, send your writing of maximum 500 words to [email protected], we will publish it on both Kaos GL and LGBTI News Turkey both in Turkish and English. Do not forget to include your name or nickname.

LGBTIs dispersed all around Istanbul for Istanbul Pride

Police attacked throughout the day, LGBTIs resisted the attack by “dispersing” around the streets of Beyoğlu, Kadıköy and Şişli. When the committee was not allowed to read out the press statement in Tünel, the text was read in many locations around Taksim. At least 25 were detained.[1]

Source: KaosGL,  “LGBTI’ler Istanbul’un her yerine ‘dağıldı’”, June 26, 2016,

LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee, called for dispersing all around Beyoğlu, following the ban against the Pride March.

Police blockaded Taksim and Istiklal Avenue. All through the day the activists against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia said “We existed, we exist and we will exist” with rainbow flags, all around Beyoğlu.

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Members of EP were also detained

The committee was not allowed to hold a press release at Tünel. Police did not let journalists stand in Tünel Square, where the statement was to be read after 16:00. Seven people from the LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee were battered while being detained. Member of German Federal Assembly Volker Beck and Member of European Parliament Terry Reintke were briefly taken into custody and released. Two of Reintke’s aides, Felix Banaszak and Max Lucks were among the detained.

Press statement was read everywhere

The press statement was read in many public and private locations in Beyoğlu and Şişli. Among these locations were Cihangir, HDK office, SYKP office, Mis Street, Tel Street, Istiklal Avenue, Kadıköy Lambdaistanbul office and Kurtuluş. Many individuals also read the press statement written by the committee, from where they stood. The full text was read on 95.1 FM Özgür Radio as well.

Police attacks [have] continued throughout the day in Mis Street, İmam Adnan Street, Istiklal Avenue and Firuzağa. According to the information received by the crisis desk during the police attacks, at least 19 were detained [1], one person was shot on the face by a gas cannister. Reporter Metin Cihan was also among the detained.

“Society is none other than us”

The full text of the press statement that was banned by the police but read all around Beyoğlu and Şişli is below:

“The reason why we are reading this press statement today is because the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March has been banned.

Pride Marches are among the biggest, multi-voiced, and mass demonstrations that this country has witnessed. In our marches, we stand up to this dark time that is our share in world history, with our love and desire. We hold those who seize our labor accountable, we take our destiny into our hands, we dream our own future. We defend peace instead of war, courage instead of fear, and all who are oppressed. We show that a different world, sexuality, body, and life is possible. Those who banned our march used “society’s sensitivities” as an excuse. But what’s being guarded is not society’s but the government’s sensitivities. Society is none other than us. What’s being banned is our attempt to voice our longing to exist as proud people of this world, our demands, peace, justice, and equality. Banning our march is an unsuccessful attempt to silence our voices.

Unsuccessful because the pride of our existence grows with every oppression. We proudly own all the insults they throw at us to hurt us. We are expanding our limited spaces with solidarity. We are leading a revolution on every street we walk, on every work day, every house, every love and every act of lovemaking. We are killed and reborn in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antep, Diyarbakir, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Orlando. We will always exist, shout out our existence, and always be proud of our existence.”

“We just started marching”

“We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. The sound of our slogans is in our ears, the colors of the rainbow are with us, the scent of freedom is in our noses. We are on this path to demand more than tolerance and permits. We are continually strengthening our resistance everywhere to demand that our personal, political, and social rights are guaranteed; that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the constitution; and that the reality of the LGBTI+ movement as a political participant is recognized.

We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.”


[1] Final number of people detained is 29. All were released the same day.


14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee Press Statement on 26 June 2016

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee could not complete their press statement in Tünel. However, LGBTI+ “dispersed” and continue to read the press statement at safe locations. Links below.

The reason why we are reading this press statement today is because the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March has been banned.

Pride Marches are among the biggest, multi-voiced, and mass demonstrations that this country has witnessed. In our marches, we stand up to this dark time that is our share in world history, with our love and desire. We hold those who seize our labor accountable, we take our destiny into our hands, we dream our own future. We defend peace instead of war, courage instead of fear, and all who are oppressed. We show that a different world, sexuality, body, and life is possible. Those who banned our march used “society’s sensitivities” as an excuse. But what’s being guarded is not society’s but the government’s sensitivities. Society is none other than us. What’s being banned is our attempt to voice our longing to exist as proud people of this world, our demands, peace, justice, and equality. Banning our march is an unsuccessful attempt to silence our voices.

Unsuccessful because the pride of our existence grows with every oppression. We proudly own all the insults they throw at us to hurt us. We are expanding our limited spaces with solidarity. We are leading a revolution on every street we walk, on every work day, every house, every love and every act of lovemaking. We are killed and reborn in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antep, Diyarbakir, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Orlando. We will always exist, shout out our existence, and always be proud of our existence.

We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. The sound of our slogans is in our ears, the colors of the rainbow are with us, the scent of freedom is in our noses. We are on this path to demand more than tolerance and permits. We are continually strengthening our resistance everywhere to demand that our personal, political, and social rights are guaranteed; that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the constitution; and that the reality of the LGBTI+ movement as a political participant is recognized.

We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.

Photographs by Şener Yılmaz Aslan











Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Committee Files Criminal Complaint Against Hate Speech Groups and Applies to Overturn Governor’s Ban on Pride March

Dear Members of the Press,

On June 20, at Çağlayan Courthouse at 11:00, we filed a criminal complaint against groups such as Muslim Anatolian Youth, Alperen Hearths Foundation, Tembihname, Özgür-Der, and the Greater Union Party (BBP) for their hate speech and threatening statements that targeted us. Since we do not have a legal personality as the Pride Week Committee, we filed the complaint as individual members of the committee and the Lambdaistanbul Association.

Lawyer and activist Levent Pişkin spoke on behalf of the Pride Week Committee and stated:

“We think that prosecutors, especially press prosecutors, should start an investigation on the matter on its own initiative as there is more than one type of crime. The declarations include offenses such as targeting LGBTI+s, instigating crime, discrimination, instigating the public to rage and animosity, insult and obstruction of democratic rights. The governorate’s ban against the march, using these threats as an excuse, is not only against European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence and international conventions but also national laws and the the constitution. We will file the criminal complaint and follow up. We will continue our struggle and stand up for our rights against those who target the LGBTI+s, deem them deserving of death and instigate hate.

Against the decision of the governorate, we will open a lawsuit today (June 20) at the Administrative Court with an urgent request demanding a stay in the execution of the decision of banning next week’s march. We hope that there will be a verdict to stop the execution without further ado. There are similar cases in ECtHR cases regarding Georgia and Russia. There were also threats by certain faith groups against the LGBTI+, governorate bans against marches in these cases, and police attacks against LGBTI+s, which we have also attached these cases on our complaint.”

Anyone who wishes to can sign the complaint and submit it to the prosecutor’s offices.

Last week, Istanbul LGBTI Association and Human Rights Association filed another criminal complaint against these groups.

You can find the criminal complaint below.


24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Event Schedule

(Did you know that Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week has accounts on Facebook and Twitter?)

Please check back for news events as well as possible time and venue updates here and on Istanbul Pride’s official website.

We Unite

Table of Contents

Monday, June 20

Workshop: Self-defense against homo-transphobic assaults

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: Infial

As LGBTI+ individuals, we must be on constant alert against the
mechanisms and means of social violence we encounter at any moment in
our social and individual lives and we must develop our self-defense.
Self-defense requires mental and physical practical effort to swiftly
and effectively fight the oppressive apparatus that directs its violence
to us. First, at an individual level, we must empower ourselves by
discovering and working on techniques that enable us to stand tall in
the face of assaults and to thwart them. Then we can generalize/broaden
our self-defense by sharing our strength, experience and skills with
others around us.

Panel: Conscientious Objection as an Act of Protest

  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Moderator: İrem Az


Ercan Jan Aktaş: “Rejecting being men in a society that does not
consider those who do not serve in the military men”

Men’s conscientious objection demands challenge not only the political
and ideological strategies of nation-states forcing them to use violence
but also the masculine violence pervasive in male dominant domains such
as the Market and the Family. Compulsory military service is not only
about “national defense” but it is also a practice that regulates the
terms of citizenship between men, women and the state. First class
citizenship is bestowed on men through military service, “the most
sacred duty”.

Gökhan Soysal: “Legal Aspects of Conscientious Objection”

Conscientious objection is a human right placed under protection by
international human rights organizations and regarded in the context of
anti-war moral values, religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Both
the agreements undersigned by the Turkish State and particularly, the
decisions of the European Human Rights Court are binding. No matter how
reluctant the state is to recognize this right, it is also evident that
it is unable to fully resort to its repressive apparatus unlike in the
past. This situation will be assessed in the paper.

Emre Özyetiş: “Pink Conscientious Objection”

The LGBTI movement has a special position within Turkey’s opposition
networks in terms of the autonomous space for oppositional struggle it
has opened up. On the other hand, the increasing violence of clashes and
war, especially since the 7 June 2015 elections, necessitates the need
to review the gains we assume to have made in the experience of social
opposition and struggle. The discourse of the ruling party that is
becoming widespread as Turkey gets pulled into a period of war is
militarizing society in a speed we could not imagine and has nearly made
the struggle against this imposed oppressive and authoritative structure
non-functional. Within this context, what does it mean for LGBTI
individuals whose relationship with the military is seen via the “pink
discharge paper” to fight against the tools of domination by the
existing sovereign structure and war?

Workshop: Debating Sexual Violence in Lubunca

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Feminist Mekan

Those who resist the trauma experienced in the wake of sexual violence,
those who have been subject to sexual violence, those who have witnessed
a form of sexual violence…We need a language that we can all use and
that can empower us. Do LGBTI+ individuals use concepts of sexual
violence in Lubunca (queer dialect/argot used in Turkey)? Does our sex
positive language allow us to express ourselves when we have been
subjected to sexual violence? We do not know how to address people who
have been subjected to sexual violence and have resisted it? These
questions have created the need to debate sexual violence at a
conceptual level. Let’s talk!

Association to Combat Sexual Violence

1.1.4 Film Screening: “Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism”

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Documentary – 2009 – France 85′ Director: Virginie Despentes

Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism is the culmination of meetings with queer
academics, theorists, and activists in the United States, France, and
Spain as well as the archival documents of the sex worker “women”
movement and a new kind of political performance acts. The documentary
draws the lines of a feminism that demands “complete sexual freedom”
born out of the “pro-sex” feminist movement in the 80s in America.

Panel: University LGBTI+ Meeting and Cocktail

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Presentation: Görkem Ulumeriç

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, LGBTI+ student clubs are proud to invite
LGBTI+ students to a presentation about gender-neutral bathrooms,
dormitories and dressing rooms, peer bullying, safe spaces and campus
activism. The presentation will be followed by a cocktail. Participation
is limited to university students. Please register at
[email protected]


  • Time: 20:00
  • Place: Piri Çavuş Sokak, Kadıköy (Piri Çavuş Street, Kadıköy)

We who have a problem with heteronormativity are meeting in Kadikoy on
Monday evening. We are meeting in defiance of those who want to imprison
us in our homes, the dominators who think they own the streets as well
as life, those who say “do it, but do it at home out of sight”, and to
many others. We are dancing and having fun, not afraid of being alone,
not anxious, but feeling empowered!

Workshop: “Concepts of Intimacy and Sincerity” in the Context

of “Queer Body” Studies (I)

  • Time: 20:00-22:30
  • Place: Çatı Dans

Facilitator: Ufuk Şenel

This workshop, scheduled for approximately three hours a day on two
days, is an exploration focusing on the body through the concepts of
intimacy and sincerity. What does queerness provide to us as we relate
to each other, to the world and to others? How do our feelings of
intimacy and sincerity get constructed/ deconstructed within a queer
life? These are some of the questions we will pursue in this workshop
where the goal is to begin from improvised practices and to help
participants gain a new perspective and dynamic on how they relate to
their own world, selves, the world and others.

Tuesday, June 21

Workshop: Consensus as a Form of Organizing and

Decision-Making Process Among Equals

  • Time: 15:00-18:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

In meetings among equals decisions are made with the shared
responsibility of all participants, therefore it is important how
decisions are made and implemented and that all participate equally in
the decision-making process for groups engaged in rights struggles. As a
form of decision-making, the consensus decision-making model aims at the
equal participation of all participants, the equal distribution of power
within the group, the productive and optimal use of time and other
resources. In this Pride Week, we would like to explore CONSENSUS as a
model that enables more productive meetings and decisions on the context
of our theme “We Unite”.

Note: The workshop is open to all, whether they are activists or not.
The workshop will last at least 3 hours (Center of Nonviolence)

Workshop: Mask Workshop (I), Mask & March

  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: TAK

We are inviting all to our workshop to paint in colors not only the
streets and the squares, but also our bodies, and to make masks which we
will wear not in order to hide ourselves, but to be visible and to use
our freedom of expression.

Materials provided: Cardboard, paper, textile materials, scrap
materials, acrylic paint and coloring materials, glue.

Participants can bring their own additional scrap materials, visual
materials and prints for collage techniques. The activity will last 12
hours over two days.

Facilitator: Oğuz Güdek

Note: Participation is limited to 30 people. Please register at
[email protected]

Panel: Why the LGBTI+ Peace Initiative

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

The basis of Life: Oxygen and Peace!

The critical importance of peace is more evident in these days we are
going through. We have gathered together as organized and unorganized
LGBTI+ activists to shout out this need everywhere. We want to discuss
together why we exist and the path we have traveled in this process and
what more we can do. We will be stronger if you join us.

Moderator: Esra Ferit

Speakers: İrem Güven, Zelal Demir, Cihan Erdal

Workshop: The Queer’s Nightlife Test

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: LeylaAlt

When did the şemmamme (folk dance) enter our nightlife and party
entertainment? Why do we love to dance the halay (folkloric line dance)
so much? How are queers lying on the ground singing “Only God and I
know” made to belly dance? Our musical tastes from Tiësto to Bergen?
What did we like about our favorite party? The music? The space? Or else
the opportunity to find a hook up? What does the LGBT-friendly concept
express for us? Are we using the spaces or are they using us?
Nots and Şevval discuss LGBTI+ entertainment life.

Workshop: Pink Tezkere

  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Place: SALT Galata

Those who are deemed men are called by the authorities to do compulsory
military service in Turkey when the time comes. Yet it is our right not
to fulfill this service! There is a legal procedure for pink tezkere
(military discharge paper)! Can I get a pink discharge paper? What
procedure should I follow to acquire pink discharge paper? What aspects
should I pay attention to in the process? How does a pink discharge
paper affect my social and work life? Come join our workshop to
collectively reflect on these questions!

Reader’s Theater: OGRES

  • Time: 19:15
  • Place: Fransız Kültür Merkezi (French Cultural Center)

Author: Yann Verburgh

Director: biriken (Melis Tezkan, Okan Urun)

As part of Pride Week, “biriken” Collective is performing Yann
Verburgh’s Ogres as a reader’s theater at the French Cultural Center.
The play traces the story of Benjamin who is tortured in a forest in
Normandy and left to die while simultaneously juxtaposing the
perspectives of victims, attackers, families and witnesses of
intolerable violence in 14 different countries. The only thing that
cannot be buried and destroyed under the bodies of the wounded in the
midst of violence, torture, incoherence are the love, hope and courage
of these characters across the world. The performance will be followed
by a conversation with the play’s author Yann Verburgh.

Actors: Alican Yücesoy, Canan Atalay, Defne Halman, Halil Babür, Okan

Pre-registration is required for events at the French Cultural Center.
To register, visit:

Workshop: The role and responsibility of mental health care

workers in social interaction in the aftermath of the removal of
homosexuality from the category of disease

  • Time: 19:30-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders in 1973 and from the disease criteria of the World
Health Organization on May 17, 1990. The confusion persists, however, in
the case of transsexuality. Despite the fact that the discourse of cure
was gradually abandoned from late 1960s onwards, and homosexuality is
officially no longer a disease since 1973, transsexuality continues to
be associated with disease, sin and crime in social perception and life.
Today the struggle continues against the intense discrimination, hate
speech and hate crimes targeting LGBTI+ people. Most importantly,
although without an official basis, some mental health workers are
seeking to exploit the cure discourse for profit. Therefore during this
Pride Week, we would like to explore how we can intervene as mental
health care students and workers not only in society but also
specifically in the field of mental health and our responsibilities.

Moderators: Evren Evrim Önal, Özge Güdül

Speakers: Eser Sandıkçı, Pınar Önen, Seven Kaptan, Umut Şah

Workshop: “Concepts of Intimacy and Sincerity” in the context


  • Time: 20:00-22:30
  • Place: Çatı (The Roof)

Workshop: Finding Hook-ups

  • Time: 21:00-22:00
  • Place: Will be announced via email

The activity which we first organized last year is back this year due to
koli (hook-up, casual sexual partner in Lubunca) intensity. More daring,
more closed and more with koli.
We texted “SLM” (“Hey”) through the app we use to find a partner we
like. Okay, what next? How to prepare until they arrive? Where to go for
coffee? How to invite them home? All and more will be found in this
practical workshop. Participation is limited, please register at
[email protected] if you wish to participate. Location will be
announced via email to participants.

Wednesday, June 22

Workshop: Physical Deepening: What Kind of Geography Is My


  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Workshop Leader: Gizem Aksu

This workshop invites participants on a tour of their own body geography
with the question “What kind of geography is my body?” If this geography
is not expected to be free from prejudice and self-judgment, could it be
possible to witness that which emerges from each layer that begin to
appear with deep listening and sensing, and escape from meaning to reach
the moment? It is a discovery extending from the daily repertoire of
feelings to the traces of aging flesh…You are invited to dive into the
abundance of body geography, in which all of life’s states are handled,
and the unique and authentic geography of every body.

Panel: Vegan Action- Justice for Animals

  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Speakers: Özlem Dede, Arvid Bager

As Vegan Action, we want to explain speciesism during the 24th LGBTI+
Pride Week. Hegemonic relationships are not just among humans but also
among species. How aware are we of the rights of animals in our
human-centered lives? We defend the rights of LGBTI+, women, and people
with disabilities. We defend air rights and water rights. Who should be
defending the rights of other living beings? We want justice for all.

Workshop: Mask Workshop (II)

  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: TAK

Panel: Trans Transition Process

  • Time: 17:00 – 19:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Moderator: Asım Ada

Speakers: Esmeray, Berk, Sinem Hun

We listen to the steps of the trans transition process, the difficulties
of the procedures in the transition, the legal aspects of the medical
process, use of hormones, and surgeries from two different voices.

Panel: Sex Work

  • Time: 18:30-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Sex work is one of those topics about which very little is known in
Turkey. Nevertheless everyone apart from sex workers make arguments
about it. A collaboration between Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and Red
Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association opens to discussion
the general rights situation, experiences, and needs of sex workers in
Turkey. We invite everyone to solidarity with sex workers. Come, let’s
talk about our problems together.

Moderator: Begüm Başdaş, Amnesty International Turkey Branch


  • Kemal Ördek, “The Struggle for Rights from Prostitution to Sex Work
    and the Current Situation”
  • Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, “The Sexual and Reproductive Health Status
    of Sex Workers”
  • Özge Gökpınar, “Representation of Sex Workers in the Media”
  • Derya Karagöz, “Violence Against Trans Women Sex Workers:
  • Niler Albayrak, “Informal Sex Work and Experiences in Entering the
  • Sevgi, “Life in a Brothel Through the Eyes of a Brothel Worker”
  • Mehmet, “Brothels and Needs Through the Eyes of a Brothel Boss”
  • Alper Rheme, “Being a male sex worker: questions and recommendations”
  • Yağmur Arıcan, “Discussions of Sex Work Politics”

Film Screening: Veşartî/Secret*

  • Time: 19:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Turkey – 2015 – 70′ Director: Ali Kemal Çınar

One day a woman (Aram) tells Ali Kemal that Ali Kemal will turn into a
woman at the age of 30 and walks away. Ali Kemal is about to turn 30 and
will get married soon after. As Ali Kemal tries to adapt to the idea of
transformation, the protagonist also tries to find ways to continue the
relationship with Berfin.
There will be a Q & A after the screening.

Launch: Refugee LGBTI+ Book Launch + Cocktail

  • Time:19:00-21:00
  • Place: Nazım Hikmet Kültür ve Sanat Evi (Nazım Hikmet Culture and
    Arts House)

Hêvî LGBTI Association has prepared Refugee LGBTI+ as a result of their
work and interviews with LGBTI+ refugees to show rights violations and
put public pressure. The book includes interviews with refugees who
define themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual or Transgender
as well as recommendations by experts, legal background, and articles to
expose problems. We will find the chance the get together at the launch
of Refugee LGBTI+ and get to know and evaluate this new book.

Workshop: Food Not Bombs Istanbul: The Tyranny of Love II

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: İnfial

Following a first forum during Pride Week 2015, this year’s second
workshop will focus on jealousy and possessiveness, which are among the
forms of tyranny; as an alternative to monogamous, heteronormative
relationship forms, communal living, polyamory, and open relationships
will find a voice. The “Turkish family structure” is holding the state
up, let’s not shy away from shaking it up.

Performance + Party: Play Night

  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: To be announced via email

We are inviting those interested in queer BDSM to a night of interactive
games and performances that will change our perception towards sexuality
and the body, and open the doors to a world outside the norm. Don your
fetishes and don’t hold back from coming. Attendance is limited to 20
people; those who do not register will not be admitted. For registration
email [email protected].

Thursday, June 23

Panel: Homophobia in Sports and Physical Education Classes

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Have the LGBTI+ individuals who have come out in many branches of sports
in recent times helped defeat homophobia, transphobia, and sexism in
sports? What kind of sexual orientation-based discrimination is there in
physical education classes? Where are the intersections of the
discrimination we encounter in sports and at school? Starting with a
discussion of the discrimination experienced in sports, in which we seek
answers to all our questions and will exchange information about, we
would like to talk about the discrimination faced by gay and trans
students in physical education classes and discuss solutions together.
(High School LGBTI+)

Moderator: Emre Demir

Speakers: Dr. İlknur Hacısoftaoğlu (Gedik University), Melisa Yıldırım
(Ankara High School LGBTI), Baran Ucal (Gedik University)

Film Screening: The Pink Report

  • Time: 16:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Germany – 2011 – 75′ Director: Ulrike Böhnisch

The Turkish Armed Forces defines homosexuality as a mental disorder that
exempts young men from compulsory military service. It requires
psychological and humiliating methods to medically diagnose. This film
tells the very personal stories of several gay men who chose different
paths regarding the military. The young men are forced to hide their
faces because of the lack in freedom of expression as they reveal one of
Turkey’s biggest taboos due.

Workshop: “That Type” of Feminism

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Facilitators: Gizem Aslan, Nazlı Cabadağ

The LGBTI+ movements test with feminism; What does the feminist movement
contribute to us, what do we contribute to feminism? Furthermore, what
does our feminism look like? We invite you to our forum to discuss what
this mutual relationship has achieved for us and its promised potential.

Note: Participation is closed to cisgendered men.

Event: Mass HIV Testing Day

  • Time: 18:30
  • Place: Şişli Belediyesi Merkez Poliklinik (Sisli Municipality Central

Sometimes because we’re scared and sometimes because we don’t care
enough, we neglect getting tested. By saying that no one has to be alone
in this process, we’re inviting everyone to get a free, anonymous test
done with us. Let’s meet at 18:00 at the Pangaltı Dolapdere exit of the
Osmanbey Metro Station across from Ramada Hotel.

Genetically Modified Tomato Award Ceremony

  • Time: 19:30-21:30
  • Place: Şişli Kent Kültür Merkezi (Sisli Urban Cultural Center)

The Genetically Modified Tomato Awards, Istanbul Pride Week’s
indispensable event, takes place for the 12th time this year. Candidates
who have competed with each other all year long in homophobia,
transphobia, and biphobia are voted for throughout Pride Week; the
winners are announced at the awards night! Everyone is invited to throw

Friday, June 24

Workshop: Tactics of Making Love without Fear: Safe Sexuality

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: Feminist Mekan

Are you sure you put a condom on the right way? Do you know how to share
your toys? How do you have safe oral sex? And did you know that you can
get exposed to infection while practicing personal hygiene? Many things
you know to be right can be wrong!

We will talk about the ways to be sexual without harming our health, in
order to make love men to men, women to women, without fear. We will ask
our questions and discuss with experts from Turkey Family Health and
Planning Foundation, without hesitation.

Panel + Forum: LGBTI+ Refugees: Process, Advent, Solidarity

  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

In the year 2016, Turkey has become the country with the most refugees
in the world as it hosts over 3 million refugees from different
countries, especially from Syria. As countries like Turkey, Lebanon and
Jordan are left on their own with a number of refugees that surpass the
size of the country, the European Union, United States and other
developed countries are trying to fortify their boundaries, on the
grounds of security. LGBTI+ refugees experience a double difficulty as
refugees and as LGBTI+s, since their paths are blocked not only by
forced displacement but also by increasing conservatism. In relation to
the theme of this year’s pride week, through experiences in Turkey and
Sweden, we will talk about the legal, social and psychological
dimensions of being LGBTI+ and being a refugee and discuss the
possibilities for our struggle together.

Moderator: Özlem Çolak (Lambdaistanbul)


  • Hayriye Kara (Kaos GL): Legal framework in Turkey regarding the
  • Mehmet Akın (SPoD): Is Turkey a “safe country” for refugees?
  • Cihan Arıkan (RFSL Sweden): What do the refugees experience in the
    countries they were settled in?

Testimonies from Refugees:

  • Hussam Slk and other refugee friends from the Arabic Tea & Talk group
    will talk about their experiences in their countries, in Turkey and
    about their work.
  • Can Kaya and Müzeyyen Arac (Hevi LGBTI): Book Presentation
  • Hevi LGBTI will talk about the book composed of testimonies of LGBTI
    refugees living in Turkey and about how the book came to be.

Conversation: Bear Movement in Turkey, Yesterday, Today and

the Future

  • Time: 15:30-17:30
  • Place: Hevi Lgbti Association

Panel: Being LGBTI+ Under Occupation

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Being an LGBTI+ individual in geographies under siege and occupation
does not only involve a fight of sexuality and desire against patriarchy
and heteronormativity but also other fights based on race and ethnicity
as used by the state and colonizer. The panel will focus on the
intersection of power and violence and seek to answer these questions:
What does it mean to be LGBTI+ in Kurdistan and Palestine? What does the
LGBTI+ struggle mean in these geographies where violence is experienced
in all of its nakedness?

Moderator: Aslı Zengin


  • Okan (Keskesor): Kurdistan Experience
  • Zerşin (Keskesor): Kurdistan Experience
  • Siyabend (Kadıköy LGBTI Council): Personal Experience in the Nusaybin
  • Joul Elias (Al-Qaws): Palestine Experience

Forum: LGBTI+ Organizations of Turkey Meeting

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

What are the local dynamics of the LGBTI+ movement that keeps growing in
scope and in activity in Turkey? What are the experiences of the
organizations and how do they devise practices of struggle in different
manners? What was the agenda for the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey in 2016?
How is the opposition in the streets going? What are the elements that
make the local “local”? We will look for answers to these and related
questions as we intend to grow our struggle by developing a wider
perspective on the scope of the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey, by creating a
dynamic discussion with the representatives of local organizations. Come
and join this process of making sense and discussing!

Panel: Forming a Psychosocial Solidarity Network for LGBTI+s

  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Place: SALT Galata

Facilitators: Aylin Ülkümen, Baran Gürsel, Doğa Eroğlu, Özlem Çolak

TODAP, a professional organization that also supports the social
struggles given against the problems LGBTI+ individuals experience,
seeks ways to multiply safe and accessible mechanisms of psychological

In this session we will take off from the experiences of different
psychosocial support networks and talk with the participants about
whether there is a need for a psychological support network for LGBTI+s,
and if there is, how that network could be formed, how the institutions
in this field could collaborate, what the principles and methods of this
network could be. We hope the resulting ideas will be the first steps
for the formation of a network that will provide support for LGBTI+s.

Forum: We Unite!

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)
  • LGBTI+ Pride Week’s theme is “We Unite!”, we will get together as all
    Istanbul-based LGBTI+ associations, LGBTI+ branches of unions and
    political parties, LGBTI+ student clubs and independent activists to
    talk about the situation of organizing together, alternative methods
    of organizing, what we currently do and what we can do in the face of
    the growing difficulties of even going out on the streets as we
    experience these days.

Film Screening: #direnayol

  • Time: 20:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Germany- Turkey- 2016- 60′ Director: Rüzgâr Buşki

#direnayol follows trans activist Şevval Kılıç who is infected by the
joy of the Gezi Resistance and the 21st Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week.
#direnayol is a lawless visual and auditory journey to witness the wave
of hope, humor, and solidarity that we now need to remember in the
current day politics of Turkey.

There will be a Q&A after the screening.

Dinner: Rainbow Feast

  • Time: 20:49
  • Place: Maçka Park

Come and bring your iftar meal with you, to prepare a feast where no one
others another, where diversity is our wealth, where property is shared,
to show that we can build a life based on equality-justice and freedom,
no matter what language you speak or which race you are, without saying
heterosexual vs gay, believer vs nonbeliever, embracing all and building
a vegan meal together that does not reproduce the hierarchy between


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim

PARTY: Safe Sex

  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: COOP

Pride Week, remembered for its pregame parties, is back with its famous
Friday parties. Don’t forget to ask for your condom!

Saturday, June 25

Panel: Organizing for LGBTI Rights in Politics

  • Time: 12:00 – 14:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Speakers: Robert Hannah (Member of Parliament in Sweden), Terry Reintke
(Member of the European Parliament), Sedef Çakmak (Member of the
Besiktas Municipal Assembly)

This panel will explore how LGBTIs organize in politics, the language of
politics and how politics transforms itself. The panel will be with
Sedef Çakmak who was elected after SPoD’s “LGBTI-Friendly
Municipalities” campaign during the 2014 Local Elections, Robert Hannah
who has made important gains as a young MP in Sweden, and Terry Reintke
who is among the youngest members of the European Parliament.

1.6.2 Workshop: Hand-made Dildo

  • Time: 13:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitator: Deniz Dilan

Wet it, squeeze it, roll it, pucker it, twist it, rub it, embrace it,
paint it! This is an almost ecologic, creative in size and color
dildo-making workshop for you, your lover, your neighbor.

Materials: Toilet paper for the dildo (if it’s not a huge one, 1 roll of
toilet paper yields 2-3 dildos), water, water-colors, glitter, nail
polish, other make-up materials, packaging tape, and if for use,

Picnic + Workshop: Sign Language + Workshop: Flirt Zone

  • Time: 15:00 – 20:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Once again this year, we invite you all to join a boisterous picnic on
the greenest of the green grass, under the trees. Sign language workshop
will be open to all attendees during the picnic. Workshops, games and
much more at Maçka Park, underneath the rainbow.

Workshop: Sign Language

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitators: Kaan Göncü, Ahmet Turan Yılmaz

This Sign Language workshop organized by SPoD’s LGBTI with Disabilities
working group is open to all who want to understand deaf and
hard-of-hearing individuals in their own language, to discover sign
language, and to give moral support to our work with new thoughts.

Workshop: Armenian Folk Dance

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitator: Kyle Khandakian

Kyle Khandakian was kicked out of an Armenian Folk Dance class that he
attended for 5 months in Armenia because he is gay. We will learn the
Armenian Folk Dance shoulder to shoulder despite homophobia, fascism,
sexism, and even closed borders.

Workshop: Flirt Zone

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitators: Derya Akişli, Pınar Karabağ

Is flirting a fruit or a vegetable? How do you want your flirt? What we
know and what we desire is not enough. Are the feelings of Insecurity,
taboo, embarrassment, and fear that trick us really ours? Let’s talk
about flirting styles, spaces, and experiences.
Note: Participation is closed to cisgendered men.

Panel: Being LGBTI+ in Diaspora and Spaces for Organizing

  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Moderator: Sertan Kıyan


  • Kyle Khadakian, “The Armenian Community in the US and Experiences of
    Homophobia and Organizing in Armenia”
  • Robert Hannah, “Experiences of Organizing in the Swedish Assyrian

Sweden leads the world charts as an example of human rights and gender
equality. So how is being Assyrian and LGBTI+ viewed in Sweden? What
kinds of problems does one face when organizing and asking for votes as
a parliamentarian? What does one prepare for when voted into parliament
as an openly gay man? We will talk about what to face, what the
advantages and disadvantages are.

Short Films Screening

  • Time: 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)
  • Kurneqîz/Trans WomanDirector: Gökhan ve Nadide Seza Yalçınkaya“Kurdish short film about a 17 year old trans child who goes through
    an internal reckoning and ostracization in a rural village.”There will be a Q&A with the film crew after the screening.
  • Nerdesin Aşkım?/Where Are You My Love?Director: Merve GezenThe film that toured world festivals comes home with the “Human
    Rights Award” from Boston and “Best Film” from Canada. The first
    screening in Turkey will be at Istanbul LGBTI Pride.
    There will be a Q&A with the director Merve Gezen and actor Seyhan
    Arman after the screening.

Workshop: Drag King

  • Time: 20:00 – 22:00
  • Place: Çıplak Ayaklar (Çıplak Ayaklar Dance Studio)

Drag King is the performance of different roles of men and masculinity
with clothes, attitude, make up, etc. Playboy, drifter, intellectual,
tough guy, gentleman, man on a mission, revolutionary, closeted gay, big
shot, family man, tender…

Real or caricaturized; gender is a playground in this workshop. You can
perform stereotypes of men or you can reveal the masculine in you! We’ll
first study the book of manhood and practice wearing beards and
moustaches, walk, sit, etc. Then we’ll go party and play. The workshop
is open to women and trans individuals who want to experience

Note: Registration required. Please email [email protected]



  • Time: 19:00 – 21:00
  • Place: Taksim Spor Kulübü (Taksim Sports Club)

There is no swearing at women, sluts, fags. There is no being used by
the industry and mafia club owners. No excuse for violence by rowdy
hooligans. Despite the patriarchy and heterosexism of the soccer field,
established and distinguished (!) queer teams of the queer football
community (?!) Atletik Dildoa, Sportif Lezbon, Lezyonerler and Queer
Park Rangers are getting together for a fun, communal tournament (!!!)
People who want to experience the fun of scoring and getting scored, the
intersection of dribbles, can email us at [email protected] and
become a player in the 4th team called Queer Training Boarding School.
Come, let’s meet offside.


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim


  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: nayah

“Oriental” shows, curvy performances all night and we can’t get enough
of it!

All proceeds will go to solidarity with LGBTI+ refugees.

Sunday, June 26

Event: Bicycle Tour

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Beşiktaş İskele (Beşiktaş Ferry Stop)
  • Route: Beşiktaş – Kabataş – Karaköy – Tarlabaşı – Taksim –
    Istiklal Avenue

We meet at Besiktas Ferry Stop to pedal to Istiklal Avenue with our
Rainbow flags for the 24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week.


  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Avenue)

We are on Istiklal Avenue for the 14th time and with growing numbers!
We’re going to rock the streets with our slogans, fusing our joy and
love with our resistance, bedazzling the avenues with our rainbow flags.
We are way too few if you are not there!


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim

Entrance: Free (2 glasses of cocktail drinks sangria free of charge)

Party: Closing Party

  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: COOP

To celebrate our existence, our love, our desire, our pride, let’s meet
at the 24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week closing party after coloring
Taksim in rainbows.

Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists: We do not hide, We are not ashamed

On 15 July, Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists gathered to protest the police attack on the Pride March, said “Neither AKP nor men will be able to prevent our love between women or our going out to the streets to shout for our freedom.”

Source: “Lezbiyen Biseksüel Feministler: Saklanmıyoruz, Utanmıyoruz”, (“Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists: We do not hide, We are not ashamed”), bianet, 15 July 2015, utm_content=buffer32896&utm_medium=social&


Lesbian and Bisexual Feminists were gathered on 15 July in front of the Kadıköy Pier to protest the police attack on the Pride Parade.

Women pointed out that hate speech against LGBTIs are being disseminated with religious excuses and stated that this behavior imprisons women in the male dominated family, love and sexuality.

At the press release read before the march from the Pier to the Bull Statue, they said that the reason for the attack LGBTI activist Kemal Ördek was exposed to is the AKP government which targets LGBTIs.

The following statements appear in the press release:

“We have something feminist to say to the ones who want to narrow our lives, force women to stay in their houses and LGBTIs in ghettos by using ideas of public moral and decency!”

“We refuse to be imprisoned in male dominated sexuality. Neither the AKP government who prevented the Pride Parade using Ramadan as an excuse nor men will be able to prevent our love between women or our going out to the streets and shouting for our freedom.”

“We will be in Taksim next year for the Pride Parade, as [it] has been for 13 years. We will win, love will win.”

AKP Election Brochure Used 2014 Gay Pride during Ramadan as Example of Tolerance

In the wake of the 2015 General Elections, the Justice and Development Party [AKP or AK Party], Turkey’s ruling party, had issued an election brochure, claiming that the party line is one of tolerance of differences. The brochure had cited the peaceful 2014 Pride Parade as evidence: “Turkey is a country that can hold a Gay Pride on Istiklal Avenue even in the middle of the month of Ramadan. The increased visibility of conservative people does not carry the meaning that there is an intervention to people’s life styles.”

[Left-hand leaflet] People who are not from the AK Party [AKP- Justice and Development Party] and who are not conservative think there is an intervention to their life styles. Do you think you intervene in the life styles of people different than you? [Right-hand leaflet] AK Party has been in power for 13 years. It has solved the problems of the conservative segment, which brought it [the party] to power, only in the last 4 years after it even had to pull through the dangers of party closure. Turkey is a country that can hold a Gay Pride on Istiklal Avenue in the middle of the month of Ramadan. The increased visibility of conservative people does not carry the meaning that there is an intervention to people's life styles. Yes, now there is visibility of more people in head scarves and people who can practice their religion more comfortably because they were under pressure before. AK Party has never had and will never have the intention to intervene in anybody's life style. In the period of 13 years, there has only been a fight for the equality of wronged segments.

AKP’s 2015 General Elections Brochure.

[Left-hand leaflet]

“People who are not from the AK Party and who are not conservative believe that their life styles are being interfered with. Do you think you interfere in the life styles of people who are different than you?”

[Right-hand leaflet]

“AK Party has been in power for 13 years. Within the very first 4 years of its existence, it was able to solve the problems of the conservative segment, which brought [the party] to power, despite having to fight against threats of party closure.

“Turkey is a country that can hold a Gay Pride on Istiklal Avenue even in the middle of the month of Ramadan. The increased visibility of conservative people does not carry the meaning that there is an intervention against people’s life styles.

“Yes, now there is visibility of more people in head scarves and people who can practice their religion more comfortably because they were under pressure before.

“AK Party has never had and will never have the intention to interfere with anyone’s life style. In the period of 13 years, there has only been a fight for the equality of wronged segments.”

It is indeed true that LGBTI Pride Parades took place without incident for 12 years. The number of participants increased each year and the 2014 Pride Parade was attended by an estimated 90.000 people. However, the 13th LGBTI Pride Parade on 28 June 2015 was blocked by the governor and police used tear gas, water cannons, and plastic bullets to disperse the participants. The violence on Pride Parade came after weeks of homophobic statements by leading Justice and Development Party representatives and pro-government, conservative media.

Screenshot of a video where an armed police vehicle, TOMA, hits an LGBTI activist during the 2015 Pride Parade directly and with full force using a pressurized water cannon. Consequences can be deadly.

Screenshot from a video where an armed police vehicle, TOMA, is shown to hit an LGBTI activist during the 2015 Pride Parade directly and with full force using a pressurized water cannon. The cannon is powerful enough to permanently injure and even kill its targets. Source, with Full Video: Funda Eryiğit

Cyber-attack against Kaos GL on Pride Day

Tar: “That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.”

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Onur Gününde KaosGL’ye Siber Saldırı” (“Cyberattack against Kaos GL on Pride Day”), bianet, 29 June 2015,

Kaos GL was inaccessible for hours on 28 June due to a DDoS attack while police assaults continued on Istiklal Street.

Kaos GL’s editor Yıldız Tar spoke to bianet and, drawing attention to the simultaneous attacks on the streets by the police and cyber attacks online, expressed that the attack against LGBTIs’ news website is a planned assault on the freedom of speech and the right to be informed:

Yesterday, our Kaos GL website was targeted at the very moment police assaults began against the Pride Parade. The attack continued for a long time, preventing access to the website. At first we thought this to be a technical problem but out communications uncovered this to be an attack.

That the cyber attack was deployed simultaneously with the [police] intervention to the Pride is of great significance. That a cyber attack is deployed while LGBTIs who exclaimed ‘homosexuals will not remain silent’ on the streets were assaulted with tear gas means that there is a [coordinated] effort to silence LGBTIs.

Our website was unable to recover until late last night. This prevented us from communicating rights violations. We experienced violence on the streets as well as intervention with our right to speech.

We do not know who the assailants were, but we witnessed tweets pointing Kaos GL as a target and claiming ‘this is how we silence you’ Naturally, we have documented each of these instances.

We believe that this was a concerted attack. They tried to silence us and failed. Just as the rainbow flag was flying over everywhere yesterday, Kaos GL too continues its broadcast.

What is a DDoS attack?

DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) is an attack where a server receives considerable amounts of requests by many computers simultaneously to the point of inoperability. It does not [necessarily] mean that the server in question was breached.

Municipalities in Rainbows for Istanbul Pride Week

Municipalities covered their social media accounts in rainbows during LGBTI Pride Week. With the legalization of gay marriage in all states in the US, rainbow shares on social media rose.

Source: Hakan Özkan, “Belediyeler gökkuşağına boyandı,” (“Municipalities in Rainbows,”), 29 June 2015,

For the first time ever, Turkey’s municipalities- all of them from the Republican People’s Party- provided services for the pride parade. Çankaya municipality provided a bus to transport pride parade participants from Ankara to Istanbul. Beşkitaş municipality provided the 60 meter rainbow flag for pride parade. Şişli municipality covered production and printing costs for brochures and posters.

Beşiktaş Municipality Hosted a Pride Week Reception

Beşiktaş Municipality organized a reception for LGBTI pride week on Saturday, 27 June. Mayor Murat Hazinedar supported [and spoke at] the reception, which was organized by Beşiktaş Municipal Assembly member and LGBTI activist Sedef Çakmak.

Rainbows on Social Media

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.31.54Nilüfer Municipality [in Bursa], “For the love of rainbow! Long live the equality of colors!”

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.32.18

Kadıköy Municipality [in Istanbul] shared a photograph of a rainbow shot from the municipality and wrote “The rainbow will never leave Kadıköy.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.32.30

Şişli Municipality [in Istanbul] shared a Şişli rainbow map and tweeted “We always love Şişli with all its colors, we all exist together!” while mentioning Lambdaistanbul. Şişli municipality also hosted the Genetically Modified Tomato Awards.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.41.01

On 27 June, Odunpazarı Municipality [in Eskişehir] tweeted “Love is to organize #LoveWins”. A twitter user called emrahdal replied to the tweet by saying “my municipality cannot be the only one to support this kind of Love that is disgusting!!!” Odunpazarı Municipality replied by saying, “Are you homophobic by birth or did it happen later? Get well. We can help with treatment.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.32.05

Tepebaşı Municipality [in Eskişehir] tweeted Love will always win”

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.32.44

Maltepe Municipality [in Istanbul] tweeted “Let go of homophobia, let’s look at the sky”

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.32.51

Edremit Municipality [in Balıkesir] tweeted “nobody can interfere with everybody’s life” referring to CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu’s responses on Ekşi Sözlük prior to the elections.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.33.00

Ataşehir Municipality [in Istanbul] tweeted “We carry our logo with the rainbow emphasis throughout the 23rd Pride Week” and mentioned KaosGL and Lambdaistanbul.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 20.33.17

Aydın Metropolitan Municipality [in Western Turkey] tweeted “Each color is beautiful. None of them can ask the other ‘why are you different?’… It shouldn’t ask :)” and emphasized individual freedoms.

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Silivri Municipality [in Istanbul] emphasized the importance of unity by sharing both Ramadan and Pride Parade events and tweeting “Today is a beautiful day 🙂 It’s beautiful to live in Silivri”.

Homophobic attack in Istanbul: “Faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here”

Three young gay men were attacked by homophobic insult “faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here” in Istanbul. Police came late to scene of crime and prolonged process of testimony. The hospital delayed treatment on the excuse that ‘we don’t have tomography’.

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Homophobic attack in Istanbul: “Faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here”,”, 3 July 2015,

Just days after police attacks on Pride March and hate campaigns organized via social media, three young gay men were attacked at night in Istanbul on June 30.

Forum AVM security officers did not help the young people, who were attacked in Bayrampasa Forum, either.

Attackers ran away as police arrived late to the scene of the crime.

“We are not going to let you in Bayrampasa, you faggots!”

M.Ö, one of the attacked gay men, told the moments of the attack to

“We went to Bayrampasa Forum AVM, while passing a wall someone suddenly said ‘what are you looking at’. We were looking at our phones at that moment; I turned my back to look at my friends and escape from there but he suddenly jumped on us. That one screamed and two friends of his pounded us, they were also insulting us by saying that ‘we are not going to let you in Bayrampasa, you faggots!’, ‘we are going to kill and bury you in here’ and ‘faggots, nonbelievers can’t come in here.’

“Police came late, attackers ran away”

Indicating that the security in the mall only watched the attacks, M.Ö said police came late to the scene of the crime:

“It almost took one hour for the police to come. We went to the Bayrampasa police station, they did not take care of us for such a long time. They made us wait for hours recklessly without even taking our statements. While they should have taken us to the hospital for a battery report, they told us to do it ourselves. After Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip’s talked to them on the phone, they took our statements but they did not want to file it as a hate attack. They tried to gloss over the event but at the end we were able to convey everything objectively.”

“It is directly related to the attacks on Pride March”

M.Ö indicated that the attacks are related to being shown as target and the hate campaigns that started before and after Pride March:

“It is directly related to the Pride March, insults against us are all because of it. Insults are parallel to the hate organized via social media. It is a place we went to before but we did not encounter any attacks like this before.”

Lawyer Kip: The recklessness of the police and the hospital is more disappointing

Lawyer Rozerin Seda Kip criticized the police by saying that they did not fulfill their duty because of their “reckless behaviors” and homophobic discrimination.

“The recklessness of the police and the hospital is more disappointing actually. Police took the victims to the station but did not take their statements for hours. I was able to talk to the officers after persisting for a long time and arguing with them. I told them that they should take their statements and take the victims to the hospital, otherwise; as the police, they will be responsible for the assault.”

“After nearly one hour, one of the victims called me and told me that they were still waiting for their statements to be taken and so, I told them that they should wait for the statements and reminded the police that it’s the police’s duty to go the hospital together to get report on the beating.”

Lawyer Kip summarized the discrimination at the hospital:

“First the victims went to the Bayrampasa State Hospital as wounded victims, the hospital tried to gloss over the event especially after the Pride March. Then the victims are sent back with an excuse that they don’t have tomography equipment. On the other side, the police did not want to take them to another hospital even though it’s their responsibility. These are serious violations and homophobic discrimination.”

Deputy Prime Minister Arınç criticizes Istanbul Pride: “They get completely naked in broad daylight”

Source: DHA video, “Bülent Arınç: “Güpegündüz çırılçıplak hale gelip…”,” (“Bülent Arınç: “They get completely naked in broad daylight”,”) CNNTurk, 2 July 2015,


Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç answered journalists’ questions at the AK Party (AKP) Mardin Headquarters.

Arınç said,

Unfortunately, I am ashamed to say this in a place where our lady sisters are present but some people turn this into honor, meaning people in different sexual orientations. These things are not liked in our belief, our traditions, our customs and mores, and our society’s structure.

But it is extremely saddening that they get completely naked in broad daylight, challenging and having fun in the middle of Istanbul, and unfortunately, parliamentarians from the CHP and HDP supporting them.

I know that there are women and men parliamentarians, 5-10 parliamentarians from the CHP, who joined that march and who supported it. I submit this to our nation’s discretion. If our nation likes this and applauds it, it can continue to follow them. If our nation sees these as wrong, criticizes it, and beyond criticizing, says what comes to their mind, do the necessary thing at the ballot box.

LGBTI News Turkey Note: Please also see Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s statements on LGBT at the United Nations on 27 January 2015.

There is no discriminatory provision against LGBTs in our laws.

The principle that everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and other such grounds is organised by the Constitution’s Article 10. Due to the expression “and other such grounds” in the aforementioned article, types of discriminations are not limited but rather exemplified, and there is no question that other types of discrimination are left outside the scope. That there is no special regulation for LGBTs does not mean that this group’s rights are not legally guaranteed.

On the other hand, pursuant to our Constitution’s Article 90, the international agreements we ratify are [considered] law. The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence -Istanbul Convention-, which we ratified without reservations, includes provisions which state that there can be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

In our country, like in all democratic states of law, perpetrators who commit murder and acts of violence against individuals of LGBT and all kinds of hate crimes are identified, the necessary investigations are started in order to bring them to justice, and the process is conducted by legal authorities scrupulously. The claims that the reasoning of unjust provocation constitute a routine in the reduction of penal responsibility do not match with the real situation that is revealed by tangible court decisions.

Turkey’s LGBTI File Criminal Complaints for Attacks Against Istanbul Pride- Hear Them Out!

Turkey LGBTI

“We are here today to make a complaint against the Governor of Istanbul, Minister of Interior Affairs, General Chief of the Police in Istanbul and Istanbul police who attacked the protestors at the gay pride on 28th of June”, says lawyer and LGBTI rights advocate Yasemin Öz. Behind her looms the giant complex of the Caglayan Justice Palace. Though LGBTI activists doubt that the perpetrators of the violence against Istanbul Pride will be brought to justice, they vow to use every legal mechanism at their disposal.

Pride is a special day for Turkey’s LGBTI, who regularly face discrimination in all aspects of social life, if they are not already victims of hate crimes. University student and drag queer Madır Öktiş says, “Pride is the day I can express my pride with almost a hundred thousand people like me and it’s the only day I can, you know, I can feel that solidarity, that strong”.

Madır was getting ready to join the parade when they heard that police attacked pride-goers. They wore a pom pom hat and a hundred per cent gorgeous t-shit and “A police officer told me that I could not walk in with that outfit”.

Until this year, twelve Istanbul Pride Parades passed without incident. LGBTI activist and academic Volkan Yilmaz says, “I wasn’t expecting any attacks on Sunday because even after Gezi protests we could make the march happen so after the attacks, actually, I was a bit surprised and I started to think about why it happened now and it turned out to be that it’s about Ramadan month”.

Last year’s Pride also coincided with the month of Ramadan when an estimated ninety thousand people marched without police interference. But this year, there was a significant rise in the visibility of the LGBTI rights movement and a corollary increase in hate speech from both public officials and conservative media.

Veteran activist Şevval Kılıç says, “this is a big step, that we are threatening the system, we are a movement, a big huge movement, and of course some people are afraid of this, some people are afraid of changing, going forward”.

Volkan thinks the attacks may have happened “because of media provocations and the new governor of Istanbul is a bit more conservative than the other guy and this happened this year”.

At least 78 people were wounded in the police intervention against Pride. One person is in risk of losing an eye. The Governor stated that proportionate force was used against the demonstrators after they refused to disperse.

Boysan Yakar, a prominent LGBTI activist and advisor to Sisli Municipality Mayor, was among the wounded and filed a criminal complaint for battery charges. He says, “I was beaten by the police while I was trying to stop the violence of power at the very first beginning of the pride parade and at that moment we had the support of the MPs from two different parties, HDP and CHP, and when we were trying to stop the violence, police attacked many activists”.

Şevval takes issue with the Governor’s statement of proportionality. She says, “they just directly attacked us with plastic bullets, you know, there are thousands of ways that you can dismiss the crowd but they choose to attack us with plastic bullets”.

So far, 4 LGBTI associations and 68 individuals filed criminal complaints. They are filing criminal charges (PDF-Turkish) against Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk, Istanbul Governor Vasıp Şahin, Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altınok, and police officers involved in the attacks for the following crimes:

  • Offenses of Bodily Harm (Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Articles 86-87)
  • Torture (TCK Articles 94-95)
  • Torment (TCK Article 96)
  • Ill-treatment
  • Violence (TCK Article 108)
  • Exceeding the Limits of Authorization for Use of Force (TCK Article 256)
  • Misconduct in Office (TCK Article 257)
  • Executing Illegal Mandatory Provision and Order of the Supervisor (TCK Article 24)
  • Restriction of freedom of belief, conception, conviction (TCK Article 115)
  • Restriction of Right to Meetings and Demonstration Marches (Law No: 2911)
  • Offenses against Freedom (TCK Article 109)

As one of the seven lawyers submitting the complaints, Yasemin Öz says, “I’m not hopeful about the Turkish state’s courts, especially when it comes to the ministers, police chiefs, and governors but we are hopeful about the constitutional court or otherwise the European Court of Human Rights”

But despite the lack of trust in the Turkish judicial system, Volkan Yılmaz says, “We have to do it to push the legal process a bit further”.

There was global outcry against the banning of Istanbul Pride and the violence that ensued. Boysan appreciates the global support and says, “It’s great to see that thousands of people are protesting right now throughout the country, from Korea, from Japan till the United Kingdom and United States as well and this is not only happening in the level of citizens. This is happening in the very high levels as well. Government to government it’s happening right now. It’s so important. And it’s great to see such solidarity throughout the universe”.

Yasemin calls for continued support for LGBTI in Turkey and the world. “We want the world to know that our basic right to free assembly has been violated by our own state so as the LGBT people and their friends, we have to unite where there is a violence against LGBT people because no state volunteers to protect LGBT rights. Many states in the world criminalize homosexuality and transsexuality”.

Tired but determined, Boysan says, “We are here, we exist, and they have to get over it”. This is how everyone, gathered in front of the Caglayan Justice Palace to seek justice, feels. They chant, “Gays will not be silent, they will not be silent, will not be silent”.

Zeynep Bilginsoy/ LGBTI News Turkey

Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan via Kaos GL

The police attacked the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade with tear gas, pressurized water, and plastic bullets. Protesters were taken into custody and journalists assaulted. Parliamentarians from HDP [People’s Democratic Party]  and CHP [Republican People’s Party] resisted police violence hand in hand. Despite the police attacks that continued throughout the day, the rainbow flag was waved in all the streets of Beyoğlu.

Source: Kaos GL, “Onur Yürüyüşü’nde saat saat ne oldu?” (“Minute-by-minute: What happened at the Pride Parade?”), 29 June 2015,

The governorate attempted to ban the Parade using Ramadan as an excuse. Assaults continued throughout the day on İstiklal Avenue and in Cihangir and Şişli. Three different crowds marched to Tunnel. During the press statement there, the crowds were assaulted [by police -Trans.]. Thousands of people resisted as they tried to gather together despite tear gas and plastic bullet attacks by the police.

Here is a minute-by-minute timeline of the attacks:

14.00 A press statement was read in front of the Galatasaray High School by mental health workers. At first, the police did not allow the reading of the press release.
15.00 The police attempted to take into custody [Bianet editor] Çiçek Tahaoğlu and Kaos GL editor Yıldız Tar when they tried to record the intervention of the Genç-Sen [Students’ Union] stand by the police. Our [Kaos GL] editor Tar was assaulted and removed from the stand area when they reminded the police that journalists’ right to report cannot be interfered with. Bianet editor Tahaoğu who reacted to the event was taken into custody. The editors were released upon the intervention of lawyers.
16.30 Participants encountered the first police attacks at the Pride Parade on İstiklal Avenue. Participants were scattered into side streets.
16.44 Following the police assault, LGBTIs in the side streets gathered again on İstiklal Avenue as they chanted slogans.
16.57 The crowd attempted to pass through the police barricades on side street entrances and enter İstiklal Avenue. Thousands succeeded in gathering together at the Taksim Square entrance of İstiklal Avenue.
16.46 The police assaulted the crowd that was gathered at Mis Street once again. Sporadic confrontations continued.
17.00 The police attacked and battered the journalists who were trying to record images. One person was reported to have been taken into custody.
17.01 The police attacked the crowd who were trying to enter İstiklal Avenue from the Taksim Square entrance. The crowd retreated towards Sıraselviler Street. The police continued their tear gas and pressurized water attacks.
17.03 The police attacked LGBTIs who were waiting in front of the Galatasaray High School with tear gas and pressurized water. The crowd retreated towards Tunnel. Police violence continued.
17.05 The crowd which had moved to Tarlabaşı gathered again. Thousands marched towards Taksim Square.
17.08 HDP’s Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğu participated in the Pride Parade as well. The police assaulted Kerestecioğlu.
17.20 HDP MPs Filiz Kerestecioğlu, Beyza Üstün and Sezai Temelli and CHP MP Mahmut Tanal held hands in front of the police barricade and demanded that attacks be stopped. The police attacked the MPs and the crowd in the vicinity with plastic bullets.
17.22 Following the police attack at Hasnun Galip Street, one person was wounded. Thousands filled the streets leading to İstiklal Avenue. The crowd roamed the side streets trying to reach the Avenue, chanting slogans.
17.39 The police attacked once more the crowd who were marching towards and gathering in Taksim Square. The crowd retreated towards Talimhane.
17.48 The police blocked the members of the famous Boston Gay Men’s Chorus from entering İstiklal Avenue.
17.52 The police attacked once again the crowd who were gathering at Sıraselviler Street. The crowd responded by barricading themselves and throwing plastic soda bottles. Some of the crowd at Sıraselviler marched towards Cihangir.
18.05 MPs from HDP and CHP read a press statement at Taksim Square under a rainbow flag with regards to the police attack against the Pride Parade.
18.12 HDP Istanbul MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu talked with Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin on the phone. Governor Şahin declared: “We won’t allow them to march because of Ramadan.”
18.26 CHP and HDP MPs read a statement in Taksim Square. HDP’s Musa Piroğlu said: “This nation hosts many people who have been othered. [This sentence has a dual meaning: “This nation has othered many people.” -Trans.] This assault was against all of us. The Istanbul Police Force is almost saying ‘We are ISIL’.” The crowd began their march towards İstiklal Avenue following the statement. In tandem with the march, the crowds nearby began gathering on İstiklal Street.
18.35 The crowd, which had moved towards Harbiye following the police attack in Taksim Square gathered together once again. Hundreds of people closed the road to traffic and began marching towards Şişli. The crowd at İstiklal Avenue gathered together as well. Thousands chanted “Don’t remain silent, scream LGBTs exist.” Ayşe Erdem, HDP’s co-chair, supported the LGBTIs as well.
18.39 The crowd who began marching along with HDP MPs moved to Tünel [Activist correction- MPs marched until Galatasaray]. Here, it was reported that Sendika.Org journalist Murat Karadeniz was wounded by police with a plastic bullet on his eyebrow. Karadeniz was taken to the hospital.
18.46 Police began once more their attack on the crowd at Mis Street with tear gas.
19.05 The police stopped the crowd who had blocked traffic and was marching towards Şişli. TOMAs [militarized police vehicles -Trans.] announced “Disperse”. The crowd responded by chanting.
19.10 Many were affected by the intense tear gas deployed during the attack at Galatasaray.
19.29 The police attacked the crowd once again while a press statement was being read.
19.40 The 23rd LGBTI Pride Week Parade participants did not disperse despite police assaults. The crowd, who were resisting for hours, marched towards the Tunnel. The protest ended here with a press statement stating: “We are everywhere, get used to it, we are not leaving.”
19.47 The police attacked the crowd which had already dispersed with batons, plastic bullets, and pressurized water.
22.00 The Pride Week celebration party at Tünel was attacked [by police].
23.00 [Police] attacked the street where the closing party [held in a privately owned bar -Trans.] was taking place. The participants took refuge in the terrace.

We have utilized the information passed on by our correspondents and by ETHA, and