Turkish rights group details police abuse of citizens at LGBT Pride march

The Human Rights Association (IHD) of Turkey demanded an investigation into the heavy handed police response to LGBT marches in Turkish cities to mark Pride Month, Bianet English reported on Monday. 

IHD released a statement that detailed a police “attack” that resulted in the torture and ill-treatment  of marchers as well as a display of official impunity among Turkish law enforcement. The association noted that these acts took place on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in a touch of tragic irony. 

IHD’s statement has noted that "using plastic bullets, the police battered and torturously detained over 40 people, including LGBTI+ Pride Week volunteers and journalist Bülent Kılıç,” a photojournalist with Agence France-Presse. Authorities said they only realised Kılıç was a journalist after he was taken into custody, but Kılıç said he believed the officers were trying to kill him in a tweet after his release. 

To explain the brutality directed at the marchers, IHD traced the cause partly back to Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention in March. The Council of Europe treaty specifically aims to combat gender based violence, but opponents in Turkey said it undermined the traditional family and encourages homosexuality. 

The association says that by exiting the Istanbul Convention, the government made people “vulnerable to violence.” 

“It was announced that the İstanbul Convention, which was signed to protect LGBTI+s and women from violence and discrimination, was annulled one night and people are made vulnerable to violence,” read the statement, 

IHD declared that with or without the Istanbul Convention being in force, it will” keep standing together and side by side in the face of violence, discrimination, bans, disregard and hate.”

"Peaceful meeting and demonstration is a right; it cannot be banned," the İHD said.

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