Following threats from ultra-nationalist and conservative groups to physically prevent Gay Pride marches from taking place, if the governance in Istanbul does not prevent the events from taking place in the first place, city authorities have decided to ban any such gatherings this month.
The primary organization making the threats is a youth group known as the Alperan Hearths, loyal to Turkey’s Great Union Party of the same political tilt. In a recent press conference one of the group’s leaders stated that they were willing to take any risks necessary to prevent the march from taking place and are not responsible for what happens if they aren’t stopped.
In response to these threats Istanbul’s authorities made the decision to ban such events from taking place, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, believing it to be the best way to protect public order amid concerns for security.
Such events have been peaceful in the past, with the exception of last year when the celebrations, which once again coincided with Ramadan, were banned as well. Despite the ban some showed up to the march anyway and were dispersed with teargas and water cannons by police.
Istanbul is seen as being relatively tolerant of the gay community, Turkey being one of the only nations in the Middle East where being gay is not illegal, and in 2013 gay pride marches drew nearly 100,000 people.