Office of Ankara Governor banned a festival by German gay films, which were scheduled to be screened on Thursday and Friday, citing the event could incite hatred and could be a target of violent attacks.
Pink Life QueerFest Four initially planned to show four films in cinemas in Ankara on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. There had been no ban until Wednesday when the highest political office in Ankara, Governor’s office stepped in and announced its decision to forbid the festival.
The organizers condemned the decision and said it “deprives us of our constitutional rights.”
Gay rights and homosexuality are controversial and divisive matters in Turkey, a Muslim-majority country. Although there is no law forbidding homosexuality in Turkey, social codes and norms do not provide an ideal ground for the gay community, which faces political and social pressure while expressing themselves.
In the statement to explain the rationale behind the ban, Ankara governor’s office said the festival’s content “could incite grudges and enmity toward a part of society.”
It also cited intelligence reports, which warn that “terror organizations are seeking to attack dissident groups or individuals.