Various vigilante groups in Istanbul are threatening repercussions if a Pride march takes place on June 26.
Kürsat Mican, the head of the Anatolia Muslim Youth Association, told officials, “don’t make us struggle with these [people]. Either you do what’s necessary or we will. We will take all the risks and we will stop the march.
“We definitely don’t want them to walk naked on the sacred soil of our country in the blessed month of Ramadan,” he went on. “We are issuing a warning and we are not responsible for what will happen after this point.”
Of course, it’s important to point out that he doesn’t speak for the majority of Muslims, any more than the Rabbi who stabbed people at Jerusalem Pride speaks for all Jews, or the KKK represents all Christians.
Another group called The Alperen Hearths issued a statement promising similar violence: “the Alperen Hearths, who are the representatives of the people, will perform their duties on this soil which was passed to us from our ancestors. Our reaction will be very clear and harsh. Things they are mocking us by ignoring our values in this holy month.”
Was that a typo in the last sentence? A mistranslation? Either way it’s hard to miss their meaning.
It’s unclear if the march will go forward at this point. At least one politician, Republican People’s Party Deputy Chair Selin Sayek Böke is trying to calm the situation. “We are monitoring this,” she said. “We must all live together with our differences.”
Last year’s Pride in Istanbul was marred by a police crackdown that included rubber bullets and water cannons fired at marchers.
It’s a harsh reminder that violence in the United States may be rare and traumatic. But internationally, it’s a much more frequent problem. Russia in particular has seen massive protests and assaults against LGBTs simply trying to peaceably assemble. It’s more important than ever to talk about why Pride matters, and the lessons that Stonewall has for those still oppressed to this day.