Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted the country's LGBTI community once again, claiming that their associations are being funded from abroad. Soylu made the comments as he addressed neighborhood heads (“muhtar”) during a meeting in the western province of Bursa on Dec. 28.

“Which mother or father in your neighborhood has applied to you for the LGBT to be spread, to be developed? Has any mother or father applied to you with the demand that 'Let LGBT spread in this country? Let our children be occupied with such things more.' Then where does this love come from? From Europe and the U.S. How does it come? Very simple. They have associations, foundations abroad and per say embassies,” Soylu said.

Soylu claimed that there was a constant “attack” against Turkey from abroad but that the country still managed to “stand on its feet” because it has a “powerful family structure.”

“They are attacking us with drugs, but we stand on our feet. They attack us with terrorism, but we stand on our feet. They attack us economically, but we stand on our feet. Why? Because our family structure is powerful. Our family structure is not shaken; that is how we advance,” Soylu said.

“There is a serious funding [pouring in] to these [LGBTI-linked] associations from abroad; we say this out loud; we share that there is a problem here, but despite this, they are trying to lynch us,” Soylu further said.

The LGBTI community is often targeted by hate speech of government officials, and the crimes committed against them go unpunished. Many LGBTI individuals say that the country is getting more and more difficult to live in.