On April 19, 2019, the Regional Administrative Court in Ankara removed the indefinite ban on any LGBTQIA events in the city, which was introduced in 2017 under the state of emergency rule. In response, the LGBTQIA student solidarity group at the Middle East Technical University (METU) organized a Pride march for May 10. However, despite the court decision decriminalizing the event, METU administration sent out an announcement on May 6 that banned all LGBTQIA events held at the university campus.
On May 10, the administration brought the police forces in. Students were demonstrating peacefully yet were told by police that they were not allowed to stand under tents, fly rainbow flags, and sit on the lawn. They were prevented, even, from reading out a statement. Things escalated, and, with excessive use of tear gas and plastic bullets, the police arrested 22 LGBTQIA student activists as well as an academic from the university.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns the use of police intervention to break up a peaceful march that sought only to celebrate pride and solidarity. We condemn, also, the university authorities that tried to silence students who were simply demanding their rights to dignity and equality.