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Barış Azar from the İzmir-based Young LGBTI Association has evaluated the wave of bans starting in Ankara spreading all over the country imposed on LGBTI activities to bianet.
Underlining that LGBTI activists are worried even in the cities where the LGBTI events haven’t been directly banned, Azar said that they continue the events in İzmir but they try to maintain a low profile.
Stressing that the ban in Ankara has affected many association and organizations including Young LGBTI, Azar said, “For instance, the workshops on increasing the capacity of the organizations are among the events cancelled”.
Noting that people abstain from coming to the events, Azar expressed that the Young LGBTI has started to work on “increasing the safety of the events”.
As far as we’re concerned, there is no attempt of banning in İzmir. Have these bans affected you too?
We haven’t face a direct ban but people are worried. Those who come to the events come with a bit of fear. We also feel worried when we organize an event.
The thing is, when we organize an event and invite people, we become the ones who take the full responsibility. Now we are in a period that is very open to provocations. Even reading the comments written under the news reports of outlets such as [pro-government] Akit and Takvim are troubling enough… There is a group of people who welcome these bans and even want more and they say “If you won’t intervene in, we will”.
Has the indefinite ban in Ankara affected you too?
A large number of events were cancelled in Ankara. Some of them were about capacity increase and we would have attended as well. We cannot enjoy these events. Organizations in Ankara are not passing through a pleasurable process. Besides, when a joint event with the organizations in Ankara comes to agenda, other partners may feel worried about being targeted.
Have you had foreseen such a ban? Where do you think this ban came from?
There has been this tendency to “silence” people with the declaration of the State of Emergency. It seems that the group who produce discourse on LGBTI rights wanted to be impeded on the pretext of “public morality”.
After the statement issued in the wake of the meeting held with village chiefs, people have taken banning the LGBTI events as their duty. These are arbitrary actions taken by local administrators.
There was a statement for the press on November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance. The police said that “Make your statement and disperse without a marching”. No problem arose there. So, it is not something that systematical.
There was a series of events about HIV/AIDS awareness from December 1 to 10. The events still continue but we can’t make it heard very well, we are trying to keep a low profile. In the meantime, we work on how to increase security for the events.
Ankara Governorship banned the events to be held by “LGBTI NGOs” indefinitely on the pretext of “public morality” and “social sensitivity and sensibilities” on November 19.
The Governorship banned German LGBTI Film Days on November following some tweets posted with the hashtags #LGBTFilmGünleriİptalEdilsin (#MayLGBTFilmDaysBeCancelled) and #İstiklalimizeKaraLeke (#BlackMarkOnOurFreedom).
The 11th leg of the Gender-Based Journalism Workshop carried out by the International Press Service (IPS) Communication Foundation with the support of Kaos GL, was cancelled as well as it was targeted by the media. The workshop was planned to be held on November 18, in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin.
Beyoğlu sub-Governorship cancelled the film days to be held on November 25 with the cooperation British Council and Kuirfest.
The LGBTI organizations Kaos GL and Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) separately filed lawsuits against Ankara Governorship banning all LGBTI events indefinitely for the decision to be revoked and the execution to be suspended. (ÇT/TK)
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