While Istanbul, Turkey, is considered a shelter for the gay community in the Middle East, local authorities continue to limit its activities. The governor of the city cancelled the pride parade, which is considered the biggest in the Muslim world, due to security concerns.
Istanbul Pride, 2013 Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News
Today (Saturday), for the second consecutive year, the annual pride parade will not take place in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin banned the parade, which was once the largest in the Muslim world, due to what he claims is a security threat from ultra-nationalist Alperen Hearths group.
Last week, the extreme group threatened to prevent the parade if authorities didn’t. The parade’s organizers stated that the ban legitimizes hate crimes and called to reverse the decision.
Istanbul is considered a shelter for the gay community in the Middle East. Over the past years, the parades ended without any incidents, although in 2015, local police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd as it coincided with the Ramadan.