Turkish activists plan to gather near Taksim Square/Istiklal in Istanbul to celebrate Trans Pride Week on Sunday, July 2, at 17:00 (local time). Turkish authorities have not authorized the demonstration. A heavy police presence and counter-protests by conservative elements are likely, and clashes between demonstrators and security forces or counter-protesters are possible.
On June 24, the governor of Istanbul banned the LGBT pride march scheduled for June 25. According to a statement released by the governor’s office, the parade was canceled due to security concerns. The following day, police used checkpoints to prevent groups of people associated with the planned LGBT pride march from entering Taksim Square in Istanbul. Around 100 protesters congregated in an adjacent neighborhood, with police using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. According to reports, several people were detained but the police have not stated the exact number.
Pride events were also banned by Istanbul’s governor in 2015 and 2016, allegedly due to security concerns. In 2016, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds of people who tried to hold the march despite government orders. Several people were detained.
Conservative religious citizens often take issue with the public display of homosexuality and past parades have been met with protests and clashes with police. Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, as it is in some Muslim-majority states, but homophobia is still widespread among the more conservative portions of the population.
Those present in Istanbul should avoid all demonstrations and anticipate potential transportation disruptions.
Due to the prevailing threat of terrorism, report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and maintain a high degree of vigilance, especially when visiting sites deemed particularly vulnerable to an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, festivals, etc.). Some Western governments advise against travel to areas along the Syrian and Iraqi borders.
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