On Sunday, May 7th, President Erdoğan of Turkey held an election rally in Istanbul where he promised that his political party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), and their alliance with other parties will never be supportive of the LGBTQ+ community because family is sacred to them.
Erdoğan also stated that they will defeat pro-LGBTQ+ individuals in the ballot box.
His rival, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), is leading in several polls according to Foreign Policy, which could present a significant challenge to Erdoğan’s leadership.
As Turkey is set to cast ballots in the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14th, it is no surprise that Erdoğan has ramped up his anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, which he has been known for throughout his presidency.
In a rally in Izmir last month, he said that the foundations of the family are stable in Turkey and that the LGBTQ+ community will not emerge in the country.
Erdoğan has a history of animosity towards the LGBTQ+ community, often using derogatory language to describe queer youth, leading to fear among the Turkish LGBTQ+ community.
Turkey has become increasingly hostile towards queer people, with senior politicians, religious leaders, and retailers launching attacks against the community.
In September 2022, thousands participated in an anti-LGBTQ+ hate march, holding signs that read “Protecting the family is a national security issue”.