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Gays will not ‘infiltrate’ Turkish leadership – Erdogan

The Turkish leader vowed to protect “sacred” family values in his victory speech on Sunday

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to supporters outside his residence in Istanbul, May 28, 2023 ©  AP / Francisco Seco

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 repeatedly accused his liberal 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 the crowd if they agreed that CHP, HDP, IYI and “some little guys next to them” were all “LGBT,” to the rousing cheers of his supporters. 

“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.

READ MORE: Election body confirms Erdogan’s win

“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, but Türkiye withdrew 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.


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