28th Istanbul Pride Week has been celebrated online this year due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with the theme “Where am I”. Hundreds of thousands of people shared their support for the LGBTI+ individuals online, including their social media platforms. However the reactions against LGBTI+ identities was also loud on social media timelines. Head of Turkish Red Crescent and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Vice President, Kerem Kınık published a tweet, “we will continuously fight against anyone that penetrates into young minds claiming it as modernity in the dreams of pedophilia, presenting abnormalities as normal through communications, disturbing the healthy creation. We will not allow human-pride be trampled.”

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Istanbul’s pride week has been observed 28th time under coordination of a voluntary Pride Week Organization Committee. The digital Pride March has taken place online as people shared their messages on a board.

While the positivity surrounded the rainbow flags on profiles and hundreds of thousands of users declared their support for recognition of LGBTI+ identities and calling for equality, there were also many homophobic statements targeting the LGBTI+ individuals usually reverting to hate speech and violent threats on social media.

RED CRESCENT CHAIRPERSON TARGETS LGBTI+ IDENTITY

Turkish Red Crescent chairperson and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Vice President Kerem Kınık was also among those who shared a statement on his social media account that is considered hate speech. Kınık said “We will not allow human-pride be trampled. We will defend the creation and our children’s spiritual wellness. We will continuously fight against anyone that penetrates into young minds claiming it at modernity in the dreams of pedophilia, presenting abnormalities as normal through communications, disturbing the healthy creation. There is no such thing!”


Following Kınık’s statement, hundreds of users responded asking whether or not Turkish Red Crescent would actually start fighting against the Islamist Ensar Foundation with whom the Red Crescent shared over $7 million donation before. Ensar Foundation’s cooperation with the Red Crescent had caused reactions for the Ensar Foundation having previously being involved in a series of child-rape cases.

IFRC ISSUED A STATEMENT ON DR. KINIK’S STATEMENT

In a statement, IFRC said that it condemned homophobia and hate speech of all kinds and stood in solidarity with the global LGBTIQ+ communities; adding that “the views expressed by Dr. Kınık do not represent the views of the IFRC”.