Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticism the ‘LGBT youth’ of the nation and accused the entire movement of ‘vandalism’. In a televised video linkup with members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, abbreviated officially ‘AK Parti’ in Turkish, Erdogan said that the LGBT movement in the country is distancing the youth from its cause. His remarks came after the law enforcement reportedly arrested four people for depicting Islam’s holy sites with the pictures of the LGBT movement’s flags amid the ongoing student demonstrations. However, Turkish students organised more protests after Erdogan’s statements were aired.
“We will carry our young people to the future, not as the LGBT youth, but as the youth that existed in our nation's glorious past," Erdogan reportedly said before adding, “You are not the LGBT youth, not the youth who commit acts of vandalism. On the contrary, you are the ones who repair broken hearts.”
Even though homosexuality has been legal throughout modern Turkey’s history, Erdogan has blocked several LGBT events including the ‘Instanbul pride’. Further, as per reports, homosexual people often are subjected to harassment. The Middle Eastern nation’s LGBT movement emerged last month after Erdogan appointed a loyalist as the head of Istanbul’s Bogazici University. The student protests eventually spread to other universities before subsiding due to heavy police deployment.
However, during one demonstration last Friday, protesters had hung an artwork that reportedly depicted the holy site in Mecca and images of the LGBT movement's rainbow flag, outside the new rector's office. This further led the Turkish police to accuse four people of "inciting hatred in the population" with two under house arrest and other two remanding in custody.
In an unprecedented remark on February 1, Erdogan has also said that Turkey needs a new constitution and spoke on the need to draft the same. In a separate televised speech following a Cabinet meeting, Erdogan recalled that the previous two constitutions, enacted in 1961 and 1982 were drafted after military coups and contained “indelible” traces of the “military tutelage”. Therefore, he called for a “civilian” constitution.
“Perhaps the time has come for Turkey to debate a new constitution,” Erdogan said. “This work must be conducted in front of the people and through the participation of all of their representatives in a transparent manner, and the text that emerges must be presented to the people for their approval.”