While thousands gathered peacefully in Berlin, Paris, London, Rome, Milan and elsewhere in Europe for Pride parades, the authorities in Istanbul reacted with a heavy hand to those who gathered in the central Beyoglu district of Istanbul.
The march participants comprised several civil society groups that gathered under the motto “the street is ours.” Footage and photos of demonstrators showed some being pushed and dragged by riot police on Istiklal Avenue in the heart of the city.
Images posted on social media showed photographer Kilic pressed to the ground with police holding him down with their knees.
Reporters Without Borders in Turkey tweeted in support of Kilic, demanding his immediate release. AFP reported Kilic had been released later in the evening.
Authorities in Instanbul have banned Pride events since 2014 when 100,000 showed up for the festivities. Officials say “public safety” was a concern.
It’s been a rough year for LGBTQ advocates in Turkey as elected officials have grown more and more vocal in their opposition to queer communities.
“There is no such thing as LGBT,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in February during an address to his party. “This country is national, spiritual and walking toward the future with these values.”
The eight-part relationship drama was announced in March and was set to be made by Turkish production outfit Ay Yapim, with screen star Özge Özpirinçci leading the cast. But Netflix has scrapped the plans after producers were refused a filming license because of the existence of a gay character.
Per a translation in the Financial Times, If Only’s creator Ece Yörenç told Turkish film website Altyazi Fasikul: “Due to a gay character, permission to film the series was not granted and this is very frightening for the future.”
Responding to a request for comment from the FT, a spokesman for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party acknowledged that concerns were raised about If Only. Deadline understands that rather than caving to creative changes, Netflix decided to abandon the project.
Netflix hasn’t commented on the issue directly, but a spokesman told Deadline the streaming platform “remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey.”
“We currently have several Turkish originals in production — with more to come — and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world,” added the spokesman.
No word on if any of those other shows in production have LGBTQ characters or storylines.
Turkey is one of the more liberal countries in the Middle East. While homosexuality isn’t illegal, same-sex marriage is. Additionally, there are no legal protections for LGBTQ people in the areas of housing, adoption or employment, and gay Turkish citizens are no allowed to serve openly in the military.
Özpirinçci posted a photo on Instagram over the weekend from the set with a rainbow series of hearts.
A one-page letter from Trump to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (read it below) sounded fake when it first surfaced on Twitter, but was real:
“Let’s work out a good deal! You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will. … Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.”
During a meeting with the congressional leadership in the Cabinet room, according to a senior Democratic aide who provided a readout, Trump declared that Jim Mattis, a four-star Marine general and Trump’s first defense secretary, was “the world’s most overrated general. … You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month.”
Axios reports that Trump told Pelosi: “President Obama drew a red line in the sand. In my opinion, you are a third-grade politician.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said: “This is not useful.”
Pelosi and Hoyer stood and left the meeting.
Afterward, Pelosi told reporters as she was leaving the White House: “What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown — sad to say.”
PELOSI on Trump: “I think now we have to pray for his health. Because this was a very serious meltdown on the part of the president.” pic.twitter.com/ckhNSeDmrG
In response, Trump tweeted: “Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her ‘upstairs,’ or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!”
The Donald also tweeted a photo of Pelosi standing amid the room full of men. It was meant to ridicule her, but the move backfired. Standing in a bold blue suit with all the men seated, she was clearly the most powerful person in the photo.
During an appearance on Fox News ‘Face The Nation,’ Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Chris Wallace the United States is “preparing a deliberate withdrawal” of about 1,000 U.S. troops from northern Syria “as safely and quickly as possible.”
The move comes a week after Donald Trump announced the shifting of American troops embedded with Kurdish forces in northern Syria, a move that opened the door for Turkish forces to move against the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF).
The SDF has been the United States’ primary allies in the fight against ISIS.
Republicans and Democrats agree only bad will come from this ‘deliberate withdrawal.’
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a military veteran, said this on CBS’ Face The Nation:
And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) agreed with his colleague from across the aisle:
.@RepAdamSchiff on Syria troop withdrawal: “The consequences will be far lasting…this is just an unmitigated disaster.” He predicts withdrawal will lead to a resurgence of ISIS. pic.twitter.com/iLlLziyvGi
Turkey launched a planned military operation in northeastern Syria on Wednesday aimed at flushing out a Syrian militia backed by the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Erdogan said the operation aimed to “prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border,” but provided no other information about whether Turkish ground troops had entered Syria or how far in they would go.
A spokesman for the United States-backed militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces, said that Turkish warplanes had begun carrying out airstrikes.
Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria accelerated rapidly after President Trump seemingly gave a green light in a call with Mr. Erdogan on Sunday. The operation has sparked fierce debates in Washington and could open a dangerous new front in Syria’s eight-year-old war.
Donald Trump tweeted that he wants the Middle East to take care of itself:
Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East. Moved our 50 soldiers out. Turkey MUST take over captured ISIS fighters that Europe refused to have returned. The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending! https://t.co/Fbcem9i55Z
A Turkish military advance into Syria threatens to halt momentum against ISIS, directly assaults our SDF partners, and could give the likes of al-Qaeda and Iran new footholds in the region. Turkey should stop immediately and continue to work with the US to secure the region.
President Trump faced a swift torrent of Republican criticism Monday as lawmakers rebuked his plan to withdraw troops from northeast Syria, a move Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said would undermine America’s national security and potentially bolster Islamic State terrorists.
McConnell (R-Ky.), in a rare public split with Trump, said that a supermajority in the Senate disagreed with the president’s abrupt withdrawal announcement, raising the specter of veto-proof action to oppose the decision.
“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said in a statement Monday. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
McConnell’s statement, in which he called on Trump to “exercise American leadership” and reconsider his plan to withdraw troops from Syria’s border with Turkey, echoes the comments of other Republicans who have condemned the president’s decision Monday.
The Donald took to Twitter to try and defuse the criticism:
….the captured ISIS fighters and families. The U.S. has done far more than anyone could have ever expected, including the capture of 100% of the ISIS Caliphate. It is time now for others in the region, some of great wealth, to protect their own territory. THE USA IS GREAT!
It would also be DISGRACEFUL if we sat idly by while Turkey slaughters the Kurds, as public reports suggest that Turkish leader Erdogan explicitly told President Trump he intends to do. Kurds risked their lives—for many years—to fight alongside us.
Mr President: I am a SEAL who served as an assault element commander at SEAL Team Six. Twice in my life of service I have been embarrassed for my country. Once, when I dug bodies out the rubble of the Marine Barracks in Beirut. And this morning, when you abandoned the Kurds. pic.twitter.com/a4HjYfmfDN
Pat Robertson is “appalled” by Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria: “The President of the United States is in great danger of losing the mandate of Heaven if he permits this to happen.” pic.twitter.com/YGeNYpbGrF
Turkey is killing Kurds. Right now. Our allies in the fight against ISIS are dying. Because Trump – the unethical, stupid, delusional, megalomaniac – decided without input it was a neat idea to leave them at Turkey’s mercy.
The peace zone is gone. Here come Iran and Russia.
• Over 50 men have filed complaints against a gay pop star in Turkey for allegedly hooking up with them, then trying to blackmail them for money to keep their sexuality hidden.
• The point of a new alt-right video game titled Angry Goy II is to target and slaughter minority groups like LGBTQ people in a Pulse Nightclub-like setting. The creator of the game refers to gay men as “mongrels” and “degenerates” that should be destroyed by using “guns, knives, pepper spray, and more.” He sounds nice.
• Check out the latest from electronic duo Phantoms (aka Kyle Kaplan and Vinnie Pergola), alongside actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens, in their new single, “Lay With Me.”
The music video is inspired by the history of friendship between Phantoms and Vanessa, giving a wink to the TV/Film phenomenon, High School Musical.
Speaking of musicals, Hudgens is set to play the bisexual role of “Maureen” in the upcoming RENT Live! scheduled to air January 27.
I love how they get out of control (and the two girls kissing) the last minute of the video 🙂
Officials in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara have indefinitely banned all events hosted by LGBTI rights groups in a move one advocacy group called “a disgraceful breach of the freedom of assembly,” the Associated Press reported Sunday.
The ban took effect Saturday, according to the AP, and applies to any gathering or event hosted by an LGBTI group, including film screenings, panels and performances.
According to the BBC, the new ban was in direct response to a German-language gay film festival, Pink Life QueerFest, that had been scheduled to take place in Ankara and was sponsored by the German Embassy.
This is a disgraceful breach of the freedom of assembly and a further example of shrinking space for LGBTI civil society. https://t.co/eUy0o4lsa8
• For the comic book geeks (like me): Justice League had a disappointing showing at the box office as the super-hero flick only grossed $96 million domestically in its opening weekend. Compare that to rival Marvel Studios The Avengers which debuted in 2012 raking in a then-record $204.7 million domestically. Justice League earned $185.5 million from 65 markets internationally.