Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan explicitly stated his disregard for the LGBTQ+ community, aligning with his party’s increasingly conservative rhetoric on LGBTQ+ issues as the country approaches its elections in May 2024.
Erdogan, addressing an audience at the AK Party congress in Ankara, pledged to oppose what he terms as “perverse” movements that threaten the traditional family structure in Turkey. Although homosexuality is not criminalized in Turkey, the nation has witnessed a growing animosity towards the LGBTQ community, with the government intensifying its crackdown on LGBTQ rights, particularly noticeable in the police’s aggressive response to Pride parades.
The Turkish leader, who has previously referred to LGBTQ individuals as “deviants,” emphasised that neither his party nor their political allies from the nationalist MHP party would acknowledge the existence of the LGBTQ community.
“We do not recognise LGBT,” Erdogan declared. “Those who do can join their marches, but our party firmly upholds the institution of the family.”
Erdogan’s comments extend beyond national borders, as he expressed discomfort with the “LGBT colours” displayed at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, criticizing the bright colours that represented the Sustainable Development Goals.
His address to supporters, waving flags and echoing his sentiments, reiterated his commitment to what he perceives as protecting the family unit, asserting his intention to “dry the roots” of any influence that could undermine it.