police violence in Turkey

Elif İnce: The Banned Pride Parade of ’93

The Pride parade and events planned in Beyoğlu in 1993 were banned by the governor’s office and dispersed by the police. Ilker Çakmak from the organizing committee talks about the police violence on Istiklal Avenue on that day, and about the events before the parade and its aftermath.

Source: Elif İnce, “93’ün Yasaklı Onur Yürüyüşü” (“The Banned Pride Parade of ‘93”), Bianet, December 8, 2014, http://www.bianet.org/bianet/print/160555-93-un-yasakli-onur-yuruyusu

“We reached the Tunnel[1] almost crawling on the ground. We witnessed a group including foreign representatives being cuffed, dragged on the streets with skirts rolled up, and taken into custody.” (Ilker Çakmak)

The first Pride parade[2] and three day long program planned for July 2,1993 under the theme of “Sexual Freedom Events” were banned by the Istanbul governor’s office on the grounds that “they violate our traditions and customs, and the values of our society.” The police had broken down the doors of activists’ home, raided them the night before the parade, and blockaded Istiklal Avenue on the day of the parade. Those on the Avenue suspected of being gay were rounded up and detained while foreign participants were deported. Thus the first Pride parade would only take place ten years later in 2004 with a group of 40 people.

Ilker Çakmak, volunteer with the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, was in the 1993 Parade’s organizing committee. Çakmak tells us about what transpired before and after the parade.


Homophobic Police Attack During Internet Censorship Protests

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Sansür Protestosuna Polis Saldırısı, Gözaltında Homofobik Taciz,” (“Homophobic police attack during Internet Censorship Protests,”) kaosGL.org, 23 February 2014, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15879

Police attacked protesters during the internet censorship protests in Taksim. Many were taken into custody, including Sezer Yekta, a member of Hevi LGBTI. Yekta was subjected to homophobic insults and harassment throughout the custody ordeal.

Police attacked protesters who were in Taksim on 7:00 PM against the new internet censorship legislation using tear gas, pressurized water, and rubber bullets.

Protests lasted for hours in Istanbul’s Mis Street, the Demirören Shopping Mall, Galatasaray, and Cihangir.

Protesters responded to the attack with fireworks. In addition to attacking a bus with children among its passengers, the police, which heavily deployed tear gas and rubber bullets, caused a great number of injuries, including on press members.

According to the numbers reported to the Bar Association Crisis Center, 49 people were taken into custody. The Bar Association noted that numbers will likely rise.