Friday, September 22, 2023
President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey Thursday expressed his unease regarding what he thought were the LGBTQ colours being used at the United Nations this week, where the organisation is adorned with vibrant hues promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Reuters reported.
Erdogan conveyed his desire to address this matter with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as reported by Turkish media.
It is noteworthy that Turkey's government, led by Erdogan and his AK Party, has recently adopted a more stringent stance on LGBTQ rights and freedoms.
"One of the issues that bothers me the most ... is that when entering the United Nations General Assembly, you see the LGBT colors on steps and other places," Erdogan was quoted as saying by broadcaster Haberturk and others.
"How many LGBT are there in the world right now? However much right they have on these steps, those against LGBT have as much right as well," said Erdogan, who has frequently labelled members of the LGBTQ community as "deviants" and particularly toughened his rhetoric during his election campaign this year.
Nevertheless, a few UN diplomats have suggested that Erdogan may have confused the 17 distinct colours associated with the Sustainable Development Goals, which adorned parts of the UN headquarters, including its steps, for a summit held earlier this week, with the rainbow Pride colours symbolising LGBTQ rights.
It's worth noting that while Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights and has addressed issues of discrimination, there are no rainbow Pride colours displayed at the UN headquarters to promote LGBTQ rights.
As of now, there has been no response from a spokesperson for Guterres regarding Erdogan's comments.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were unanimously adopted by world leaders in 2015 with a target deadline of 2030, represent a global agenda aimed at addressing critical issues such as eradicating hunger, and extreme poverty, combating climate change, reducing inequality, and advancing gender equality.
In Turkey, homosexuality is not legally considered a crime, but societal hostility towards it remains widespread, and over the years, law enforcement's approach to Pride parades has become increasingly stringent.