Istanbul has regularly banned Pride marches and other expressions of the LGBTQ identity.
Authorities in Istanbul have cancelled the third annual Queer Olympix at the last minute, because of so-called “social sensitivities.”
130 athletes were due to compete in the event, with usual Olympic events like the long jump, football and beach volleyball due to take place.
Elif Kaya, one of the event organisers told the AFP: “We were told that we have no permission for our event. We saw police and two water cannons.
“The authorities seem to have informed us of the ban at the last moment, so we can not appeal.”
The ban was also confirmed by the queer football team Atletik Dildao, who announced on Instagram: “This morning; we learned that our event Queer Olympix which has been planned to happen this weekend (24-25 August) was banned by the Kadıköy district governorate as a precaution against the provocations that may occur due to social sensitivities.
“The reason given is to prevent possible crimes; to protect public health, public order, and public morality in accordance with the law no.2911, act.17.”
In a Facebook post, they added: “We learned that if we do ‘long jump’, it threatens public health, public order, and public morality… The preparation crew of 20 people in Kalamış was informed of the ban by riot control vehicles and riot police, the participants were followed to their homes.
“The decision was issued in the last minute while it could have been done anytime throughout the year.
“All of this demonstrates one thing: These bans aim to function to oppress us not only physically but also psychologically, to ignore our voluntary effort, and to reject our existence.”
The Turkish law no. 2911 act 17, allows governors and district governors to postpone events for up to one month if they believe it may be a threat “national security, public order, prevention of crime, protection of public health, public morality or the rights and freedoms of others.”
Istanbul regularly bans pro-LGBTQ events, having banned the once-annual Pride march in the city for five years running. Last year, hundreds marched through the city despite the ban.
The event lasted 40 minutes before authorities cracked down on the marchers, with reports suggesting that tear gas was used.Human rights group Amnesty Turkey also added that several people had been detained as a result of the Pride parade.