Erdogan Criticised For Denouncing LGBT Youth After Police Arrest Students And Break Up Demonstrations Across Turkey

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Erdogan Criticised For Denouncing LGBT Youth After Police Arrest Students And Break Up Demonstrations Across Turkey

Turkish President Recep Erdogan has come under huge criticism after blaming 'LGBT youth' for vandalism and rioting during student demonstrations in the country.

Turkey has been rocked by a number of recent student demonstrations against the autocratic and far-right Erdogan regime, with the protest movement calling for human-rights, a return to a functioning democracy, and respect for minority groups within the country.

At a protest rally at Istanbul's Bogazici University over the weekend, four individuals were arrested after they showed placards with Islam's holiest site Mecca alongside an LGBT rainbow flag. While homosexuality is not banned in Turkey, LGBT people come under frequent harassment and discrimination from both the authorities and society at large. LGBT Pride marches through Istanbul have been persistently banned by Erdogan's ruling AKP party.

Suleyman Soylu, the Turkish Interior Minister, later called the 4 arrested protestors:

"Four LGBT freaks."

Video of Bogazici University later showed riot police tackling crowds and dragging away more protestors. In total, it is estimated that 159 students were arrested at the demonstration, which also involved police beating protestors with batons.

The events led Erdogan to make a statement condemning the protests. He said:

"We will carry our young people to the future, not as the LGBT youth, but as the youth that existed in our nation's glorious past. You are not the LGBT youth, not the youth who commit acts of vandalism. On the contrary, you are the ones who repair broken hearts."

Erdogan has called those attending similar protests in the past 'terrorists'.

The protests at Bogazici University are in part due to the fact that Erdogan has placed conservative elements into leadership roles at the university, leading to the belief that he is attempting to undermine liberal teaching methods and political dissent, which is often centred around places of learning.

Further protests were seen in the city of Izmir where more arrests were made. As with the protests that took place in Istanbul rainbow LGBT flags were seen being waved.

Since the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Erdogan has strengthened his grip on power, imprisoning journalists and opposition politicians and activists. He has increasingly sought to implement a religious element to public life, in stark contrast to the secular foundations on which Turkey was established. He has also been criticised for his foreign policy, including the invasion of northern Syria, his involvement in both the Syrian and Libyan civil wars, and his encroachment into Greek and Cypriot territorial waters. Turkey now has more imprisoned journalists than any other country in the world per head of population.

h/t: France 24

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Thinking Humanity: Erdogan Criticised For Denouncing LGBT Youth After Police Arrest Students And Break Up Demonstrations Across Turkey
Erdogan Criticised For Denouncing LGBT Youth After Police Arrest Students And Break Up Demonstrations Across Turkey
Turkish President Recep Erdogan has come under huge criticism after blaming 'LGBT youth' for vandalism and rioting during student demonstrations in th
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