Turkey’s interior minister Süleyman Soylu has described LGBTQ+ rights as “terrorist propaganda” in a hateful speech.
Soylu has long been known for publicly denigrating the LGBTQ+ community, and was even flagged by Twitter for “hateful conduct” last year when he tweeted that “four LGBTQ+ perverts” had been detained for “inciting hatred”.
However the LGBTQ+ “perverts” were actually students at Istanbul’s Bogazici University who had been protesting against the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who even abandoned the landmark Instanbul Convention in March 2021 because it “normalises homosexuality“.
Soylu made his latest comments while giving a speech in the province of Bilecik to members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
According to Duvar, he said: “There is cultural terrorism. The propaganda of a terrorist organisation, which tries to make people forget their values, their religion, unity, parental love and family loyalty.
“It is exactly Europe’s policy, exactly America’s policy of divide and rule.”
He continued: “What will happen? They will bring LGBT to Turkey. Forgive me, men will marry men, women will marry women.
“It just suits [leader of Turkey’s opposition party CHP] Kılıçdaroğlu. What a shame. It lacks all values.
“They are trying to create a policy based on an understanding that will alter almost all of our values so that they can win the hearts of the Europeans and the West.”
In recent years, Turkey has become an increasingly hostile place for queer people, with the country’s president, ministers, chairs of human rights organisations, faith chiefs and even retailers launching attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
In September, thousands of people took to the streets calling for an “LGBTQ+ propaganda bill”, similar to the hateful legislation seen in Russia and Hungary, while just last month, president Erdoğan said he wanted to introduce constitutional amendments in Turkey to reverse “perverse” LGBTQ+ “trends” and ensure that “family consists of the union of man and woman”.