Istanbul Pride

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LGBT pride parade on May 29, 2012, İstiklal Avenue, Istanbul.
Istanbul LGBT pride parade in 2011, İstiklal Avenue, Istanbul.
Istanbul LGBT pride parade in 2013, Taksim Square, Istanbul.
Istanbul LGBT pride parade in 2013, İstiklal Avenue, Istanbul.
Istanbul Pride

Istanbul Pride (Turkish: İstanbul Onur Yürüyüşü) is a gay pride march and LGBT demonstration held annually in Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul. The event first took place in 2003 and now occurs each year on either the last Sunday of June or the first Sunday of July, to mark the end of Istanbul pride week. About 30 people took part in the first Gay Pride Istanbul. The numbers have increased exponentially each year, reaching roughly 5,000 people by 2010. The 2011 gathering attracted over 10,000 people, therefore making Gay Pride Istanbul the biggest march of its kind in the Muslim World.[1][2][3][4] The 2012 pride march, which took place on 1 July, attracted between 10,000 and 30,000 people.[5][6]

Participants assemble in Taksim Square before marching the entire length of İstiklal Avenue. This is a wide pedestrian boulevard and one of Istanbul's most important public spaces, the frequent home of bayram and regional festivals.

On 30 June 2013, the pride parade attracted almost 100,000 people.[7] The protesters were joined by Gezi Park protesters, making the 2013 Istanbul Pride the biggest pride ever held in Turkey.[8] The 2014 pride attracted more than 100,000 people.[9] The European Union praised Turkey that the parade went ahead without disruption.[10] On Sunday 29 June 2015, Reuters reported that Turkish police used a water cannon to disperse the gay pride parade [11]

In 2016 the pride march was banned by the local government "for the safety of our citizens, first and foremost the participants’, and for public order.".[12] LGBT organizations have also not been allowed to make a press statement. The governate of Istanbul once again claimed that a gathering of LGBT would not be allowed. "Within Law No: 5442, this request has not been approved due to the terror attacks that have taken place in our country and the area; because provocative acts and events may take place when the sensitivities that have emerged in society are taken into account; and because it may cause a disruption in public order and the people’s- including the participants of the event- tranquility, security, and welfare." [13]

In 2017 the Istanbul Governor's Office yet again banned the LGBT Pride Parade, citing security concerns and public order.[14]

In 2018, for the fourth consecutive year the Istanbul Governor's Office yet again banned the LGBT Pride Parade, citing security concerns and public order, but around 1,000 people defied the ban, they were met with tear gas and rubber bullets. 11 participants were arrested.[15][16]

In 2019, the Istanbul Governor's Office yet again banned the LGBT Pride Parade, citing security concerns and public order.[17] subsequently, opposition Member of the Grand National Assembly Sezgin Tanrıkulu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) lodged a parliamentary question to the Vice President of Turkey Fuat Oktay asking why the deputy governor of Istanbul had banned Istanbul Pride. He also asked how many LGBT members had been killed in the last 17 years, the time the ruling party Justice and Development Party (AKP) ruled the city, due to provocative hate speech, and raised concerns over discrimination against the LGBT community.[18][19] On 29 June, hundreds of people defied the ban, they were met with tear gas, shields, pepper gas and plastic bullets from the Police.[20][21][22]


The Istanbul Pride parade is not supported by the government and is organized without permission from the municipality. In 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 the pride was banned by the local authorities.[13]


LGBT organizations[23]

  • Koç Üniversitesi "KUir" LGBTI+ Club
  • Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi “Gri (Gender roles and identities)” Kulübü
  • Bilkent Üniversitesi Think colorful! LGBTQ student's Society
  • Bilgi Gökkuşağı LGBT student's Society
  • Hebûn LGBT Diyarbakır Organization
  • İLLET İstanbul anti-authoritarian pleasure and resistance network of feminist women, trans, queer. İstanbul LGBT Solidarity Association.
  • İstanbul LGBTT Solidarity Organization
  • İTÜ Cins Arı LGBT Öğrenci Topluluğu
  • İÜ Radar LGBT Öğrenci Topluluğu
  • Kadın Kapısı (Women's door)
  • Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association
  • LİSTAG – Istanbul group of Families of LGBT
  • luBUnya Boğaziçi Üniversitesi LGBT Society
  • MorEl Eskişehir LGBTT Organization
  • ODTÜ LGBT Dayanışması
  • Pembe Hayat LGBTT Solidarity Association
  • Sabancı Üniversitesi Gender Club
  • Siyah Pembe Üçgen İzmir LGBTT Association
  • Voltrans Trans Erkek Initiative
  • SPoD Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association

Other institutions and organizations that contribute to the pride march are:

Political impact[edit]

Politicians that have joined Gay Pride Istanbul are mainly from the opposition parties HDP and CHP, and include:

Members of European parliament have also joined the march.[24] They call upon the Turkish authorities to guarantee fundamental rights and civil liberties to all LGBT people.

In 2019, several opposition held municipalities have shown support to the LGBTI community on social media. Mersin, Edirne, Tarsus, Eskişehir, Izmir, Bodrum. Istanbul's local governments such as Ataşehir, Beşiktaş, Şişli, Kadıköy, Maltepe, Kartal also showed their sympathy.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tahaoğlu, Çicek (27 June 2011). "19. LGBTT Onur Haftası, Onur Yürüyüşü ile Sona Erdi". KAOS GL. Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Stonewall'dan Bugüne". KAOS GL. 24 June 2011. Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  3. ^ "Homosexuals demand rights at Istanbul's Gay Pride March". Hürriyet Daily News. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  4. ^ "İstiklal Caddesi 10 bin renk! - Genel". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  5. ^ "EUROPRIDE BID FOR 2015, ISTANBUL". Facebook. 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  6. ^ "Gay Pride İstanbul - 01.07.2012". YouTube. 2012-07-01. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  7. ^ "Gay Pride in Istanbul groot succes - TV | Altijd op de hoogte van het laatste nieuws met [tv]". Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  8. ^ "Taksim'deki Onur Yürüyüşü'ne BBC yorumu: Bugüne kadar... - Milliyet Haber". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  9. ^ "100.000 KİŞİ! DİLE KOLAY!". POPKEDİ. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-10-25.
  10. ^ "Turkey 2013" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  11. ^ "Turkish police use water cannon to disperse gay pride parade - by Mehmet, Caliskan and Yesmin Dikmen". Retrieved 2015-06-28.
  12. ^ "T.C. İstanbul Valiliği | BASIN DUYURUSU". Archived from the original on 2018-12-14. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  13. ^ a b LGBTİ+ Onur Haftası basın açıklamasına da Valilik’ten ‘hassasiyet’ yasağı! | Kaos GL Haber Portalı
  14. ^ "Governor's Office bans LGBT Pride March in Istanbul". hurriyet.
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  23. ^ "Türkiye LGBTİ Birliği: Lezbiyen, Gay, Biseksüel, Transgender ve İnterseks".
  24. ^ "ALDE MEPs participate in gay prides in Zagreb and Istanbul :: VVD Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert". 2008-06-25. Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  25. ^

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