Press release

LGBTI Pride Events Banned for Second Year in Istanbul

THe Turkish government moved to supress two LGBTI pride events in Istanbul, banning the upcoming main LGBTI pride parade on June 26. 


In response to police forces dispersing a transgender pride event with tear gas and rubber bullets on June 19, and the governor of Istanbul banning the main LGBTI pride parade on June 26, Freedom House made the following statement: 

“Suppressing freedom of assembly and association under the guise of protecting public security is a violation of the rights of the Turkish people,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “LGBTI people in Turkey and around the world should be able to celebrate their personal identities without fear of violence or arrest, and the parade ban should be lifted.”


Since 2003, LGBT pride events in Istanbul have taken place on the last Sunday in June. In 2013, more than 100,000 attended, making the Istanbul pride parade one of the largest in the world.  However, the government has banned the pride events for the past two years. Individuals attempting to gather for last year’s event, despite the ban, were violently dispersed and attacks from state and non-state actors on Turkey’s LGBTI community have been on the rise.

Turkey is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.