Following the Pride Week events banned on Monday, June 20; The Pride March was also banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office on June 26. The governor’s office’s statement announced that Taksim and Şişhane Metro Stations and all streets leading to Istiklal Avenue, Sıraselviler, and Firuzağa would be closed as of 11 am on Sunday. Despite all these unlawful and unconstitutional bans, hundreds of queers were on the streets leading to Taksim to claim their rights and lives and to exercise their constitutional rights. By 3 pm, the police violently cordoned off the area, detained lots of people, even those sitting in the cafes or walking on the streets, by saying “We will check your IDs and if you do not resist, we will let you go” and by handcuffing them behind their back. Our friends were kept in dark vehicles for up to 16 hours of detention in conditions that meet the threshold for torture, where their basic needs, such as water, food and toilet, were not met. They were kept in vehicles that were poorly ventilated, ignoring the pandemic, and not allowed to exercise their right to make a phone call while in custody. The police even threatened to detain their relatives, who were waiting in front of the police station. There were lawyers who wanted to see and speak with the detainees, but the police also used violence against them.
Despite all violence and oppression, queers were rewriting the history of resistance while those opposition party leaders, mayors and deputies who claimed that they would restore democracy in Turkey remained silent. Those politicians, taking our votes for granted, did not even post anything on social media about what had happened and left the LGBTI+ people and the social opposition groups acting in solidarity with them alone in the face of this unprecedented incident where 373 people were detained. However, we, the feminists and LGBTI+ people, are at the forefront of the struggle for equality, freedom, democracy and secularism against these policies of hatred and oppression that have declared war on gender equality. Your conservative policies ignoring our movements which have a 40-year history of resistance and struggle, taken in by misogynists and LGBTI+ haters’ fallacy that claims Turkey is not ready for this, will only strengthen the oppressive regime that Turkey has been dragged into.
Women for Women’s Human Rights – New Ways restates that the struggle against patriarchy is not just about the struggle against the oppression of women, as we have declared throughout our 30-year history. None of us will ever be equal or free unless we form an alliance to fight against all the mechanisms of domination and oppression, including heteronormativity, racism, and militarism. We know we will only come out of the dark times that Turkey is currently going through by not leaving anyone alone, by acting with solidarity and by resisting.
Long live our solidarity!
Happy pride month!