Pride activists facing criminal charges

Brussels – 31 October 2019 & 12 November 2019

Nineteen Pride activists from Turkey are facing trial on criminal charges, and we need support from Pride organisers to help them.

The charges stem from the Pride at METU (Middle Eastern Technical University) which took place in May. Eighteen students and one academic were arrested after police violently clamped down on the event in Ankara. The YouTube clip below shows the violence they faced (content warning: violence and police brutality) and you can read the background here.

A few days ago our President Kristine Garina met with Özgür and Melike (pictured above), two of those facing trial on 12th November. She asked them how we and our members can help, and these are their requests.

  1. Raise awareness! The more international awareness the better. Please share their story on your social media channels, and if possible on your website and in any forthcoming newsletter. Use #DefendMETUPride and #ODTÜnünOnurunaSahipÇık hashtags, and tag @odtulgbti (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) in posts.
  2. Support and share Amnesty International’s call for the charges to be dropped. They have published a template letter to be sent to the Turkish justice minister.
  3. Send letters of support, from Pride organisers, city mayors, politicians and ministers. The more international pressure that is applied, the more chance we have of getting the charges dropped. Send letters to
  4. Put 12th November in your diary, and share updates with your members and followers. We will be sharing updates throughout the day.

Support from Pride organisations really will make a difference. Please do take action. Özgür, Melike and their colleagues need our help.

Update 01 November 2019: Read the letter from Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association, to the Ankara justice minister here.

Update 12 November 2019: The case was heard in court in Ankara (see our Twitter thread for live updates) but the case has now been adjourned until 12 March as the court has asked for further evidence. We restate our commitment to remind Turkish authorities of their obligations under international human rights conventions, and to drop the case.