Turkish Police Arrest Students Participating at University LGBTQ+ Event

Pride parades have been banned in Turkey since 2015, but authorities have extended the crackdown to other LGBTQ+ events as well

Riot police officers detain a student during a protest, in Ankara, Turkey in February.
Riot police officers detain a student during a protest, in Ankara, Turkey in February.Credit: Burhan Ozbilici /AP

Police in Turkey broke up an LGBTQ+ pride parade at one of the country’s top public universities and detained all of the participants Friday.

Riot police entered Bogazici University and surrounded dozens of students who were waiving rainbow flags and calling for tolerance. They arrested the students one by one and led them into police buses with their hands cuffed behind them.

A small group of students tried to resist arrest.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative government has banned LGBTQ+ parades since 2015, citing security concerns, “public sensitivities” and other issues. Authorities have ordered other LGBTQ+ events stopped as well.

Bogazici University students and staff have protested the university's presidentially-appointed rectors since January 2021, demanding that academics who are elected by faculty members hold the position.

Tensions at the university heightened a month into the protests after a poster depicting the Islamic holy site Kaaba with LGBTQ+ flags appeared in a campus exhibition.

Turkey's interior minister called the students involved “LGBT deviants,” and two were arrested on charges of inciting hatred and insulting religious values.

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