Copenhagen shows solidarity at Istanbul Pride

Copenhagen Pride and LGBTQ+ activists from the Danish capital are currently present in the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul, to take part in Istanbul Pride.

Copenhagen shows solidarity at Istanbul Pride

On Sunday, 25 June 2017, representatives from Copenhagen Pride and Danish LGBTQ+ activists will take part in Istanbul Pride Parade to show solidarity and support to the Turkish pride organisation and the LGBTQ+ community in Istanbul. In addition, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, has urged the Governor of Istanbul to ensure that the parade will be carried through and that the city’s authorities protect participants of the parade.

In 2015 the parade in Istanbul was met by water cannons and participants got hit by rubber bullets by the local police. In 2016 local authorities banned the parade referring to maintaining public peace and order while explaining that they were incapable of providing safety for parade participants.

“In the past years we have had an ongoing dialoque with our Turkish colleguages and we have agreed that a bigger and more visible international presence during Istanbul Pride can help make a positive difference. And that is the reason for us being here”, Chair of Copenhagen Pride, Lars Henriksen, states.

Opposition expected
Whether the parade will be allowed by the authorities to take place is still uncertain as a ban can be pushed at the very last minute, which is what happened in 2016. Earlier this week a youth group linked to the right-wing nationalist Great Union Party (BBP) threatened to stop the parade.

“Even if the government allows it [the parade] to take place there is no way we will allow it. We will not let them march. Where ever they go, we go. We will block the streets so they can’t enter and, if necessary, we are able to gather 200,000 people”, Kürşat Mican from the Istanbul division of the youth party states in an official press release. Mican has also been live on TV urging all Turkish people to go to the streets to stop the parade.

Lord Mayor of Copenhagen: Protect the Parade!
The Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, recently sent a letter to the Governor of Istanbul pointing out the importance of pride thus urging the governor to make any necessary safety arrangements.

“It is my sincere hope that the Istanbul Gay Parade, which has a highly symbolic value as the largest Pride Parade in the Muslim world, will be celebrated in 2017 for the benefit of all the citizens of Istanbul and as a sign of the city’s commitment to promoting equality and human rights for LGBT people”, Frank Jensen states and continues:

“I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to you as the Governor of Istanbul to make the parade possible by ensuring the adequate safety arrangements. This would send the strong signal that the great city of Istanbul protects and promotes freedom of expression of all minority groups”.

Solidarity is important
Even though the potential turmoil during Istanbul Pride Parade on Sunday is not something to look forward to, Copenhagen Pride is happy and proud to be present this year.

“It’s very important to remember that we have a common responsibility as human beings – across borders and religion – to show solidarity and take part in each others fights. Especially when those fights are about the right to be who you are and the freedom to love who you love”, Head of Communications at Copenhagen Pride, Thomas K. Rasmussen, says.

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