Trial against students and academic continues
On 18 November 2017, the Ankara Governorate indefinitely banned all public events in Ankara by making use of the extraordinary powers afforded to it under the state of emergency that was in place at the time in Turkey. The governorate based its decision on vague grounds, including the risk that such events may incite “hostility”, or “draw a negative reaction from certain parts of the society due to certain social sensitivities”. Following the end of the State of Emergency rule in July 2018, a new decision for a similar ban was taken by the Ankara Governorate on 3 October 2018, imposing a blanket ban on all LGBTI events in Ankara without giving further justification.
Ankara based LGBTI+ organisations Kaos GL Association and Pink Life separately filed a legal challenge, on the grounds that the indefinite blanket ban taken under the State of Emergency rule violates freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association. The ban was finally lifted by a regional administrative court decision on 19 April 2019 that found the ban to be unconstitutional even under State of Emergency law. There is a legal challenge brought about by Kaos GL Association against the second ban by the Ankara Governate, currently pending in the administrative court.
On 6 May 2019, METU rector, Mustafa Verşan Kök, wrote to students and staff informing them the Pride Parade would not be allowed, referring to the ordinance issued by the Ankara Governorate on 3 October 2018. This decision by METU management constituted an unlawful restriction of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of students and academics. Despite that, the METU management relied on that second ban and requested police intervention at the METU Pride Parade on 10 May 2019.
Hypothetical risks cannot establish legitimate grounds for prohibiting a peaceful assembly.
The Minister of Justice is active on Twitter:
Minister of Justice: @abdulhamitgul.
METU University official account: @METU_ODTU
METU LGBTI students group: @odtulgbti
Image credit: ODTU LGBTI+