Social Issues

Rainbow colours spark debate over homosexuality in Turkey

Ankara, Jul 20 (efe-epa).- Comments made by a Turkish member of parliament of the ruling Justice and Development Party criticizing the use of the rainbow colours to “incite homosexuality” sparked controversy on social media on Monday.

Hamza Dag, AK party’s vice president, posted on his Twitter account photos of Izmir’s city hall, which was recently painted in red, yellow, green and blue, and accused its mayor, social democrat Tunç Soyer, of “legitimizing perversion”.

“Mr Soyer can paint his room with the LGBT colours, it is his personal choice. But he cannot paint a public office in colours that symbolize perversion and seek to legitimize paedophilia and incest,” he tweeted.

The tweet was welcomed by his supporters, who took the opportunity to criticise milk cartons delivered free of charge to school students in Izmir for featuring a rainbow over grass and cows.

In response, many Twitter users posted photos of objects with similar colours and added the phrase “Now you are gay”.

The list of objects included different ice creams, fruits, wool, pens, logos of paint companies and television networks, electric cables, a Peruvian landscape and even a traditional collection of Ottoman sugar.

“If we let them, those people would paint everything black,” the Izmir mayor told Efe on the phone referring to the Islamic conservatives represented by the AK party, which has been ruling the country since 2002.

“They have a totally different mind to ours. They are against a colourful city. They are even debating the withdrawal of the Istanbul Convention (which prevents and combats gender-based and domestic violence) signed 9 years ago,” he lamented.

This is not the first time the rainbow colours have sparked controversy. During the 2013 anti-government protests in Gezi, a group of activists painted a large staircase in Istanbul’s Taksim neighbourhood with the rainbow colours, a move that was quickly reversed when a municipal brigade painted over it in grey.

The controversy made the front pages, leading to AK party’s local authorities to make it colourful again.

Since then, the “rainbow staircase” has become a popular meeting point for tourists and local youth. EFE/EPA


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