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article imageGay Pride parade in Turkey draws government ire

By Brian Booker     Jun 30, 2015 in World
The LGBT community in the United States is still celebrating its milestone victory in the Supreme Court. LGBT communities elsewhere, however, are still facing harsh discrimination, with activists in Turkey having been barred from marching.
This past Sunday, Turkey banned its annual Istanbul gay pride parade, one of the few such events in the Middle East, citing the Islamic holy month of Ramadan as the reason for doing so. The gay pride parade is the largest of its kind in the Muslim world, and many activists showed up to celebrate despite the ban.
Unsurprisingly, the government decided to resort to violence in an attempt to deter marchers. Using water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets, Turkey's security forces launched a harsh reprisal against those LGBT activists who decided to go forward with the march. The government claims the use of violence was “proportionate”.
Organizers of the event claim that they were not given a proper warning and could not send out word that the event was being canceled in time. Organizers also noted that the march had been held during Ramadan in the past with no incident.
Turkish President Erdoğan has been building a reputation for harsh crack downs, and his ruling party has been pushing Turkey down a distinctly Islamist path, with freedoms regularly being curtailed. After a failed attempt to gain single party rule earlier in June, Erdoğan may be trying to shore up power by oppressing minorities.
While the recent crackdown on the march will tarnish Turkey's image, it's important to note that Turkey is one of only a few countries in the region that does not outright outlaw homosexuality.
The Islamic State has been throwing homosexuals from buildings, while Iran is known for hanging gay people. Engaging in homosexual relationships is punishable by death in numerous other countries across the Middle East and North Africa.
More about lgbt rights, Gay pride, Turkey
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