Turkey’s general election on May 14 may be one of the most vigorously contested races in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 20-year rule, so it’s no surprise the conservative leader is continuing the decades-long crusade against LGBTQ people in an attempt to rally his base and claim another victory.
As the country grapples with years of economic mishandlings and the repercussions of an earthquake that killed 50,000 people in February, Erdoğan has intensified police crackdowns against LGBTQ safe spaces and events, jeopardized public health through HIV discriminatory policies and made it known through public records that LGBTQ people are second-class citizens.
He even went as far as withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul Convention — an international treaty designed to protect women from domestic abuse — claiming it promotes marriage equality despite no mention of it in the agreement.
This is a far cry from a nation that was once hailed as a shining example of a thriving democracy in the Muslim world. In fact, Turkey’s human rights record has worsened in the last decade, ranking 48 out of 49 countries in Rainbow Europe’s 2022 Map and Index, ranking countries based on their LGBTQ rights and policies.