Dornan raises concern on LGBTI rights in Turkey

SNP MSP James Dornan has written to the Turkish Consul General and lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament following events at last weekend’s Pride march in Istanbul.

During the march, which took place last Sunday, police reportedly used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds marching from Taksim Square.

In his letter Mr Dornan, who is Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on Turkey, asks for more information on the approach taken by the authorities, along with more information on what the Turkish government is doing to reach out to LGBTI people.

James Dornan said:

“Reports of forceful treatment at last weekend’s Pride march in Istanbul are a real concern and I have written to the Turkish Consul General to ask for more information on the situation, including an explanation of what action was taken and why.

“If these reports are accurate, it then appears to me that LGBTI people living in Turkey are not being given the opportunity to gather to celebrate their love in a safe and secure environment, as is their right.

“Too many LGBTI people in too many countries still face prejudice and hate - our voice must be one of those arguing and advocating for equality, tolerance and love.”

James Dornan’s motion is as follows:

That the Parliament raises concern about reports of forceful treatment of LGBTI people and their allies by police at Istanbul Pride; notes with concern reports that the police used rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons to disperse what has in the past been a peaceful celebration of Pride - the largest in the Muslim community; notes that Human Rights Watch have said that this ‘crackdown comes amid broader tightening of press freedoms and erosion of the rule of law in Turkey over the past few years’; considers it imperative that the Turkish Government give assurances to LGBTI groups in Istanbul and beyond Turkey that they can peacefully gather to celebrate love and progress in future without the threat of violence.

James Dornan’s letter to the Turkish Consul General is below:

Dear Mr Turgut,

RE: Istanbul Pride.

As the Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Turkey and as a concerned MSP I am writing regarding the reports and videos surfacing over the weekend which appear to show the Turkish police violently breaking up a Pride March in Istanbul. According to reports, police told crowds to disperse before telling attendees that they were not allowed to march. It then appears that water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets were used to bring the Pride gathering – the largest in the Muslim world – to an end.

If these reports are accurate, it then appears to me that LGBTI people living in Turkey are not being given the opportunity to gather to celebrate their love in a safe and secure environment, as is their right.

I would appreciate more information about the march and the apparent official reaction to it allowing it to escalate to such an extent. I’d also appreciate more information on what the Turkish Government are doing to reach out to LGBTI groups in Istanbul and across Turkey.

Yours sincerely,

James Dornan MSP

Convenor – Cross Party Group on Turkey.

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