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President Erdoğan praises his party's youth for not being LGBT

Updated: Jun 21

[484] President Erdoğan has praised his party's youth for not being LGBT, saying "You are not the youth who vandalizes." His remarks are the continuation of the homophobic discourse that has been used widely by Turkish government officials since the detention of four Boğaziçi University students.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has praised the youth of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for not being LGBT, adding to the long list of homophobic discourse by government officials.

"We'll carry our youth to the future, not as LGBT youth, but like the youth from this country's glorious past. You are not the LGBT youth," Erdoğan said on Feb. 1 in an online address to AKP members in four provinces.

"You are not the youth who vandalizes, but you are those who mend those vandalized hearts," he also said.

According to Erdoğan, the AKP "respects" all views and ideas if they don't include "terror, immorality, perversion and violence."

Erdoğan's remarks are the continuation of a chilling trend in Turkey that incriminates LGBT individuals. While there are many instances of hate speech towards the LGBT community in the past, the most recent wave started on Jan. 29.

Two Boğaziçi University students were arrested and two were placed under house arrest after they used a picture of Kaaba - a holy site for Muslims - featuring LGBT flags in an exhibition during the ongoing protests against Erdoğan's rector appointment.

The pro-government media had already been following the protests that have been ongoing for a month closely to slander them, as they often deemed students "terrorists" for objecting to the anti-democratic appointment of rector Melih Bulu - a long-time AKP supporter.

'Our Islamic values'

On Jan. 29, the head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), Ali Erbaş, said that he condemns the "attack" on Kaaba and "our Islamic values."

"We'll be following this case and file complaints against those who were disrespectful," said Erbaş, who is a known homophobic who in April last year cited a verse from the Quran to target the LGBT community.

"Let's struggle together to protect people from these types of evils," he said at the time.

Turkey has been getting increasingly Islamist under Erdoğan's AKP. The government acts as if Islam is the official religion of the country and that there is no way to criticize it, even slightly.

The LGBT community is without a doubt the group most affected by this Islamization, as they are often targeted by hate speech and the crimes committed against them go unpunished. Many on social media say that the country is getting more and more difficult to live in.

On Jan. 30, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu targeted LGBT individuals by calling them "perverted."

"Four LGBT perverts were detained for disrespecting Kaaba at Boğaziçi University," Soylu tweeted.

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