Today, in the face of growing government hostility and vitriol from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the young gay man says he has just one wish: to leave.
“Before, there would be a wave of hatred and then it would calm down,” said the 30-year-old computer engineer, his eyes piercing through a haze of cigarette smoke.
“Now, it’s been going on for months, turning into a tsunami.”
From incendiary government minister tweets to censorship of gay characters on TV and media-led boycotts of LGBT-friendly brands, a growing animosity is suffocating Turkey’s free-spirited LGBT community. 먹튀사이트
In the process, the attacks have tarnished Turkey’s image as a haven of tolerance in the socially conservative Muslim world.
LGBT groups believe Erdogan is attacking their community to distract his supporters from Turkey’s economic travails.
Erdogan this month unleashed a torrent of attacks against what he called “the LGBT youth”, which came as sudden student protests began to rattle his 18-year rule.
The immediate cause of Erdogan’s fury was a student artwork depicting Islam’s holiest site in Mecca draped in the LGBT rainbow flag.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu reported the arrest of “four LGBT freaks” over the display, condemning the “degenerates” in Twitter posts that got flagged for “hateful conduct”.
Erdogan later told his female supporters not to listen to “those lesbians”, adding there was “no such thing” as the LGBT movement in Turkey.