Turkish rectors participate in anti-LGBTI+ rally with hateful messages

Wall English

Audiovisual messages sent by İzmir Kâtip Çelebi University rector Saffet Köse and Üsküdar University rector Nevzat Tarhan were released during the “Great Family Gathering” on Sep. 17, an anti-LGBTI+ rally organized by several hundred Islamists and nationalists in Istanbul, according to LGBTI+ association UniKuir.

Köse defined the LGBTI+ community as a threat to the family institution, and said “For the salvation of our generation, the survival of our society, the peace of our nation and the continuation of humanity; I call on everyone to protect the family institution, to be one heart against the LGBT imposition.”

In addition to his role as a rector, Köse is also a member of the board of trustees of Foundation for Marriage of Young People, one of the supporters of the hate rally.

Köse called on state officials to take steps against LGBTI+ individuals, which he described as “a threat to all humanity, a challenge to the natural order and an attempt at social corruption.”

Köse had previously taken part in the Izmir leg of the anti-LGBTI+ rallies and made a speech there. In 2020, it was revealed that Köse hired 27 people from his relatives to the university, and in 2022, he prevented İzmir Municipality from providing free meals to students at the university.

Founding Rector of Üsküdar University Tarhan targeted the community once again under the guise of “science” and explained the ways of “correcting” LGBTI+s.

He is known for his discriminatory statements targeting LGBTI+ community in the TV programs and the articles.

Tarhan attributed being LGBTI+ to having weak family ties and said, “Even if there is such an orientation in children with good parental relations, the child gives up later. Therefore, this situation is seen in weak families. Weak family ties and bad friends affect this situation; hence, it is important to correct these.”

Notorious mafia leader Sedat Peker had claimed that Tarhan was connected to the private defense consultancy company SADAT, described by the Turkish opposition as a “paramilitary organization”, and shared documents about his shares in the company.

The rally was allegedly organized with the cooperation of more than 200 NGOs and publicized by the Turkish government on national channels. Even though the organizers claimed that “tens of thousands” participated in the gathering, footage showed that only a few hundred people attended.


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