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Update from Turkey – Istanbul Pride march cancelled, activists and politicians dispersed and arrested


27 Jun 2016


Europe's East
Justice & Home Affairs

Sunday’s (26 June) Pride March in Istanbul was cancelled after it was banned by Istanbul’s governor. German MEP Terry Reintke, 17 activists and 2 international supporters were briefly arrested and later released. The arrests happened after participants gathered in the streets of Istanbul. Police dispersed the crowd.

Co-chair of ILGA-Europe's Executive Board Brian Sheehan is in Istanbul to support Istanbul Pride. “These developments in Istanbul mark yet another dark step in Turkey’s history books. Various pride events across Turkey have been banned in recent times. These are ultimate acts of oppression by the Turkish government. Fundamental freedoms in Turkey are no longer secured.”

Activists from the Istanbul Pride Week committee were prevented by the police from reading out a press statement in which they challenged these politics. They said: “We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. …We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.”

ILGA-Europe calls on the Council of Europe, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to step up their efforts to protect human rights and democratic values. 

“When authorities actively work to diminish the rights of minority groups, the international community must do everything in its power to support citizens. ILGA-Europe will continue to stand by the Turkish LGBTI movement. We shall strengthen our work to ensure that, one day, everyone in Turkey can enjoy full equality.” continued Sheehan.

Istanbul had seen successful pride marches for 15 years until 2014, when 50,000 people participated. The 2015 pride was met with riot police.


For more information please contact 
Emma Cassidy at +32 2 609 56 50

Notes for editors: 

  1. ILGA-Europe is the European Region of ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association and works for human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans & intersex people in Europe. ILGA-Europe represents over 400 member organisations in 45 European countries: 
  2. For up-to-date information on the legal and policy situation for LGBTI people in Turkey, visit our Rainbow Europe Module: 
  3. For more information on the latest developments in Turkey, please read updates at LGBTI News Turkey (in English): 


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