President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who portrays himself as a defender of traditional Islamic values, has once again labeled the opposition as “LGBT” and insisted that the liberal Western ideology will never “infiltrate” his ruling party or its nationalist allies.
Türkiye’s Supreme Election Council confirmed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decisive victory over Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Sunday evening. In the runup to the elections, Erdogan had repeatedly accused the rival and his allies of being pro-LGBT, and voiced similar charges in his victory speech in front of a jubilant crowd in Istanbul.
Listing off the factions in Kilicdaroglu’s six-party National Alliance bloc, and a pro-Kurdish political party, he asked supporters if they agreed that CHP, HDP, IYI and “some little guys next to them” were all “LGBT,” to the rousing cheers of the crowd.
“But can LGBT infiltrate the AK Party? Can it infiltrate the MHP? Can it infiltrate other members of the People’s Alliance?” the newly-reelected leader went on to ask rhetorically – proclaiming that his ruling coalition and its allies will always stand in defense of Türkiye’s traditional values.
“Every election is a rebirth for us. Family is sacred to us. No one can speak out against the family. Violence against women is forbidden, it is haram,” Erdogan stated.
Kilicdaroglu is not an outspoken supporter of gay rights, but has promised to reinstate the Istanbul Convention if elected. Signed by 45 countries plus the European Union in 2011, the convention aimed to strengthen legal penalties for violence against women. Türkiye withdrew from it in 2021, stating that it had been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality.” This was likely a reference to the treaty’s listing of transgender women, who are biologically male, as women.
Many officials in Erdogan’s conservative government view LGBT ideology as an American and European “religion,” alien to Turkish morals. “They are trying to… ungender the whole of our society under the name of LGBT,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in February. At a rally back in April, Erdogan said young people should “not look at these LGBTs” and “not oppose marriage.”