23/03/2023 | Writer: Selma Koçak
A group of men attacked LGBTI+s and those who stood by them, they drew out a knife, tore rainbow flags and stomped on them. LGBTI+ activists have been subjected to attacks at Newroz for four years and they call the organizational committee for duty.
LGBTI+s were exposed to attacks at Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır this year as well. LGBTI+s, who wanted to attend the Newroz celebrations held on yesterday (March 21) in Diyarbakır, with rainbow flags, were attacked by a group of men.
Having demanded to remove rainbow flags, the group attempted to lynch LGBTI+s. When members of the Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) intervened in order to prevent attacks, they were also exposed attacks by the group of men.
Attackers continued to threaten
The group, who also tore rainbow flags after LGBTI+s left the area, continued to threaten on their social media accounts.
A group, who use the title “Kurdên Nasyonalîst” on social media and define themselves as Kurdish nationalists, had posted a message on social media the day before the Newroz: “If you see TİP and LGBTI+ flags, which have no concern with Newroz and Kurdishness, you can use them to stoke up the Newroz fire.”
Following the attack, the same group also shared a post on their social media accounts: “If you participate in national Newroz festival just to make publicity stunt by walking in a sexy way, it is normal to be treated as you deserved.”
LGBTI+s call the organizational committee of Newroz for duty
Att. Okan Altekin from Diyarbakır Bar Association LGBTI+ Rights Commission, was there for confirming possible attacks and unlawfulness, and told KaosGL.org the incidents and their observations.
Stating that there were three people from the LGBTI+ Rights Commission at the festival area, Altekin underlined that they had consulted with the committee, earlier on the festival, due to the attacks experienced in the former years. However they emphasized that the committee was unorganized, particularly when it comes to LGBTI+, and told their experiences at the area as follows:
“LGBTI+s were able to enter the Newroz area by hiding their rainbow flags. Since there has been confiscation on the products like flags, banners which are used as symbols of LGBTI+ movement, by the police for years. Firstly they went up to Human Rights Association (İHD). They asked the TİP flag sticks, because they had no sticks to attach the flags. Members of TİP stated that they also wanted to wave rainbow flags. When LGBTI+ cortege was side by side with TİP, a group of men came and said: ‘This is a national and religious festival of Kurdish people. There is no room for these colors.’”
“Then the attack started. There were people who had knives in the area and they attempted to attack us with knives several times. People from the organizational committee didn’t intervene. As a result, we had to walk out on the area as LGBTI+s.”
“Hate speech spread by the Neo-Nazi copycat groups like Kurdên Nasyonalîst, encourages unorganized homophobic people at the area. We call the organizational committee of Newroz, for the fourth time in the fourth year of the attacks: Include LGBTI+ organization representatives in the committee. Make a statement against these attacks. Take necessary measures in order to prevent this kind of attacks. This is a solemn and comprehensive issue and poses a danger. Kurdish people should get hip to these kind of organizations. We are talking about a fanatic group, which uses religious and national values and imitate Neo-Nazis.”
The Bar Association, İHD and ÖHD condemned the attack
Following the attack, Diyarbakır Bar Assocation, Human Rights Association (İHD) Amed Branch and Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) Amed Branch made statements regarding the attacks.
Diyarbakır Bar Association: “We condemn the attacks against LGBTI+s, who are always being pointed out as a target of violence and hate speech and whose living spaces are gradually narrowed. We will be the follower of the judicial process against these attacks, which don’t befit the spirit of Newroz.”
İHD Amed: “As İHD, we would like to state that we don’t accept marginalizing hate speech and attacks occurred during Newroz Festival, which symbolizes peace, and we convey our condolences to LGBTI+ people affected by the attack.”
ÖHD Amed: “We don’t accept the attack against LGBTI+s, whose living spaces are gradually narrowed by being pointed out as a target of ever increasing violence in our lives, hate speech and hate crimes. We will follow the legal process against the attacks experienced contrary to the spirit of Newroz.”
LGBTI+ History of Diyarbakır Newroz
“Why my right to live and liberty, which are among the fundamental rights of human, are so frightening to people, while everyone desires freedom?”
This is how the KaosGL.org reporter expressed their feelings on unfurling the rainbow flag for the first time at Diyarbakır Newroz, in 2008. At the time, Kaos GL had announced this recovery as “A new day dawned for homosexuals in Diyarbakır this year, homosexuals living in Diyarbakır went out to celebrate Newroz for the first time.”
Afterwards, LGBTI+s participated in Newroz by being organized, almost every year continuously. In 2011, all LGBTI+ organizations across the country, attended Diyarbakır Newroz altogether. According to the news coverage published on KaosGL.org with the headline “LGBTI+s Went to Newroz and Returned, Life Goes On!”, Lambdaİstanbul, Women’s Door and İstanbul LGBTT from İstanbul, MorEL (Purple Hand) from Eskişehir, Pink Life and Kaos GL Association from Ankara, Black Pink Triangle from İzmir and Hevjin members from Diyarbakır were at the Diyarbakır Newroz area with their rainbow flags.
Tags: human rights