Metro Weekly

Turkish gay group targeted by police, shut down by court

“We are surprised by the decision, but that does not mean that Lambda Istanbul is closed down…. If the Supreme Court gives a closure decision as well, we will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).”

Izlem Aybasti, a member of Lambda Istanbul, remarking on plans to appeal a court’s decision to shut down the city’s only gay rights group which has been operating since 1993. It is reported that the courts reasoning was based “on the grounds that the group violates the law for the protection of family and public morality.” (Turkish Daily News)

“More than 12 police officers came to our office. They did not find anything that constituted a criminal office. Despite this, they seized documents about our financial systems and membership systems.”

Boira Bengisum of Lambda, speaking to Radio Netherlands. The news report notes that homosexuality is no longer illegal in Turkey, and that the Taksim area of Istanbul has opened numerous gay bars. However, police are likely using “loosely worded laws on decency” and accusations of transgender prostitution to have the rights organization shuttered. (Radio Netherlands)

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