Istanbul Pride, you are not alone!
The Istanbul governorship banned trans pride and LGBTI pride marches twice this week for “protection of public order and security”. Activists who were banned from protesting instead gathered in several places in Taksim. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) activists, already exposed to many threats from nationalist and Islamist groups, were not protected from the attackers, but were in fact attacked by the police even though they had not gathered in a protest.
Rainbow Rose (PES LGBTI network) was invited by Turkish LGBTI activists, with other PES politicians from all over Europe, to attend the Pride: they all witnessed a courageous LGBTI community having to face regular repressions, such as this Sunday when the police violently arrested several activists and even Terry Reintke – a German MEP from the Greens.
We, Party of European Socialists, the Young European Socialists, Rainbow Rose, International Union of Socialist Youth, strongly condemn all attacks against activists, rainbow flags and the right to freedom of assembly.
A democratic society cannot tolerate human beings being silenced based on their sexual orientation or gender identity nor the use of violence against peaceful activists.
Sergei Stanishev PES President said “The PES is steadfast in its support for the rights of LGBT people in Europe, and beyond. We are working on defending, protecting and extending their rights. We express our solidarity with LGBT people in Turkey, who painted the streets when rainbow flags were attacked, with their honourable struggle and their protests full of humour and intelligence.”
Young European Socialists, PES, Rainbow Rose, International Union of Socialist Youth also remind that LGBTI rights are human rights and defending them is not a crime: The visibility of LGBTI people in public space is also key for a more inclusive society. We demand that the European institutions and governments solemnly condemn the repeated violations of human rights in Turkey, and bring it to international forums. The government led by President Erdogan is clearly not acting according to the EU values, and no deal regarding the refugees situation should prevent us from seeing and denouncing it.
We know that oppressive governments are always afraid of an organized power of progressive people.
However, we also know this:
Love, humour and respect will win against all the hatred and intolerance. And Istanbul Pride, you are not alone!