Turkish President Says ‘There’s No Such Thing As LGBT’

by : Julia Banim on : 04 Feb 2021 16:15
Turkish President Says 'There's No Such Thing As LGBT'Pixabay/PA Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said ‘there’s no such thing as LGBT’, doubling down on anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment amid youth-driven protests in Istanbul.

Protests erupted after Erdogan named party loyalist Melih Bulu as the rector of the prestigious Bogazici University at the beginning of the year, leading to the detainment of more than 300 students and supporters.


Protesters regard Bulu’s appointment as undemocratic and have urged him to resign, with many perceiving this move as a means of Erdogan exercising even greater control over the lives of Turkish people.

Recep Tayyip ErdoganPA Images

Now tensions have heated up yet again after Erdogan showered praise on the youth wing of his ruling AK Party, applauding them for carrying the ‘glorious history of this nation’ as well as for not being ‘LGBT youth,’ BBC News reports.

The comments were made after four students in Istanbul were arrested over artwork displayed outside Bulu’s new office, artwork that reportedly combined LGBTQ+ symbols such as the rainbow flag with an image of the Kaaba in Mecca, one of the holiest sites among those of Islamic faith.


The students in question were reportedly arrested on Saturday, January 30, and accused of ‘inciting hatred’.

Tweeting on Tuesday, February 2, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu described the four suspects as ‘LGBT deviants’. The post has since been flagged by Twitter for violating its ‘rules about hateful conduct’, but has remained publicly accessible for reasons of public-interest.

TurkeyPA Images

In a video broadcast to AK Party members on Monday, February 1, Erdogan said:


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.

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.

Speaking dismissively of members of the LGBTQ+ community on Wednesday, February 3, as per SBS News, Erdogan doubled down on his previous comments:

The LGBT, there is no such thing. This country is… moral, and it will walk to the future with these values.

This isn’t the first time Erdogan has attacked members of the LGBTQ+ community. In July 2020, he accused LGBTQ+ activists of undermining Turkey’s ‘national and spiritual values’ and claimed that they were ‘poisoning’ young people.


If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, LGBT


BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    Turkey's Erdogan denounces LGBT youth as police arrest students

  2. SBS News

    Turkey's President says 'there's no such thing as LGBT' and calls student protesters 'terrorists'