Police crackdown on Istanbul Pride march

The conservative AKP government of Turkey has repeatedly banned all Pride marches since 2014. AKP politicians—including president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—and pro-government media continue to target and marginalize the LGBTQ community, calling them “perverts” and a threat to Turkish and Islamic values. Nevertheless, LGBTQ activists attempted to organize a Pride parade in the central Taksim neighborhood in the capital city of Istanbul on Sunday, June 26, and police met them with tear gas and rubber bullets, arresting hundreds in the process. Journalists, videographers, and TRNN contributors Daniel Thorpe and Murat Bay report from Istanbul.

Pre-Production/Studio: Daniel Thorpe, Murat Bay
Post-Production: Cameron Granadino


TRANSCRIPT

Demonstrators (crowd): We won’t shut up! We aren’t afraid! We won’t obey! We won’t shut up! We aren’t afraid! We won’t obey!

Gözde: I came here today to say we are together, we exist, and we are everywhere.

Murat: Yes.

Gözde: But we couldn’t come together. We couldn’t reach each other… If only we could have. This is a really sad thing.

Demonstrator (solo): Could we talk with the police officer in charge here?

Murat: Everywhere we went there were police, barricades and questioning.

Off-camera speaker: What are they afraid of?

Gözde: The truth is I don’t know. But we exist. We are here. We’ll be here tomorrow as well and the day after, on the streets.

Demonstrator (solo): We’re here, we’re queer, we won’t disappear! 

Murat: Maybe they are afraid because we show them the reality. Maybe it’s because of their beliefs.

Anti-LGBTQ demonstrator (solo): God is great!

Demonstrator (solo): Piss off!

Anti-LGBTQ demonstrator (solo): You don’t have a place in this land!

Murat: Certain walls have to be demolished, and certain realities have to be accepted in this day and age. The world is a beautiful place, everyone can live here together.

Demonstrator (solo): You will never be able to stop desire!

Gözde: We’ll join next year as well.

Murat: Yes.

Gözde: I hope that time we’ll be able to gather all together.

Murat: And hold a happy march.

Daniel Thorpe

Daniel Thorpe is a video journalist based in Istanbul. He graduated from Oxford University where he studied Turkish and Persian. He has worked for the BBC, Radio Free Europe, and other media organisations.

Murat Bay

Murat Bay has worked as a photo and video journalist since 2010. He has worked in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Europe, Antarctica, and most recently in Ukraine, covering social movements, war, migration, and natural disasters. He worked as a cinematographer for the film “Human Flow,” directed by Ai Weiwei.