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Istanbul Cancels LGBTQ+ Sporting Event

Atletik Dildoa

The athletes were met by riot police and water cannons.

Plans for the third annual Queer Olympix in Istanbul had to be scrapped this weekend after authorities reportedly forced organizers to halt at the last possible moment.

"We were told that we did not have permission to hold our event," organizer Elif Kaya told local reporters. About 130 participants -- who were scheduled to compete in the long jump, volleyball, and football, among other events -- had arrived in the eastern Istanbul district of Kadikoy on Saturday. As they were setting up, however, police arrived with two water cannons.

Kaya accused officials of waiting until the last minute so that there was no chance to appeal.

"All of this demonstrates one thing," organizers wrote on Facebook. "These bans aim to function to oppress us not only physically but also psychologically, to ignore our voluntary effort, and to reject our existence."

Organizers also claimed police followed them home.

Authorities said they were blocking the sporting event "to prevent possible crimes; to protect public health, public order, and public morality."

The atmosphere for LGBTQ+ citizens in Turkey has been volatile for a long time, but in recent years, a growing conservatism has added to the threat. Istanbul's long-running Pride parade was cancelled in 2014, with violent clashes occurring every year since as protestors attempt to march.

This year, reports indicated that police used tear gas to disperse marchers, and several Pride participants were arrested, according to Amnesty International.

Turkey also pulled out of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 because LGBTQ+ contestants were allowed to perform, according to The New Arab website. The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation took particular issues with 2014 winner Conchita Wurst: "We cannot broadcast live at 9pm, when children are watching, an Austrian with a beard and a skirt, who claims not to have a gender and says 'I am a man and a woman at the same time.'"

In 2018, authorities in Ankara blocked a showing of the British movie Pride, and broadcaster AS TV was fined about $2,700 for showing a video by the pop musician P!nk that depicts dancers in same-sex couplings.

At the time, the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council said that children could be "negatively influenced" by the "erotic dance figures of a homosexual nature."

RELATED | Turkish TV Channel Fined for Airing Homoerotic P!nk Video

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