ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The governor’s office in Turkey’s capital banned a German gay film festival on Wednesday, the day before it was due to start, citing public safety and terrorism risks.
Four movies by German directors were scheduled for screening as part of the festival, which was planned for Nov. 16-17 in Ankara.
“Considering that the content could incite grudges and enmity toward a part of society… and the intelligence reports that terror organizations are seeking to attack dissentient groups or individuals, it is evaluated that this film screening could be provocative and draw reactions,” the Ankara governor’s office said in a statement.
An annual gay pride parade in Istanbul was also banned in the past two years. Unlike in many Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but homophobia remains widespread.
Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women, and are intolerant of dissent.
Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Peter Graff