Turkey’s governing coalition has begun a campaign against the LGBTQ community in a bid to fracture the political opposition and bolter its own political unity, said Tunay Altay, a researcher and doctoral candidate at the Humboldt University of Berlin.
By embracing “political homophobia”, the People’s Alliance of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the ultra-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is betting that it is picking a fight that wins votes, Altay said in Ahval’s Turkey Abroad podcast.
The AKP and MHP have stepped up political attacks on the LGBTQ community this year. Police broke up an annual Gay Pride march in Istanbul at the weekend with tear gas and batons.
During student protests against a government-appointed rector at Istanbul’s Bogazici University in January, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated “there is no such things as LGBT” and labelled the protestors as terrorists. In March, Erdoğan withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention, a treaty aimed at combatting gender-based violence, winning support from conservative members of his party and the MHP.