The European Pride Organisers Association has today (Thursday 9 June 2022) written to the President of the Middle Eastern Technical University (METU) in Ankara to express its disappointment that the planned METU Pride March, due to take place tomorrow, has been banned by the University authorities.
In a letter to Professor Dr Mustafa Verşan Kök, EPOA explained that the ban is a clear breach of human rights and contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Amid growing condemnation of the University’s ban, Kristine Garina, President of EPOA, said:
We write to you to express our deep concern over your attempt to ban the METU Pride march due to take place tomorrow (Friday 10 June 2022). Your decision breaches fundamental freedoms and human rights of LGBTI+ students in your university, and is contrary to European law.
You may not be aware, but the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2007 in the case of Poland v Baczkowski that the banning of a Pride march in Warsaw was a breach of Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Attempts by municipal authorities and mayors to ban Pride marches have been overturned many times due to this judgment.
The international community was shocked by the case of the 18 METU students and one academic who were prosecuted following the 2019 Pride march. This caused damage to the international reputation of your University, your city and your country and it was wholly unnecessary. Pride marches are peaceful, joyful inclusive events that threaten no-one and no organisation.
There is no justification for restricting the right of LGBTI+ students to come together peacefully and to hold a Pride event. The only possible reason for attempting to ban such an event is homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
We urge you to withdraw your ban on METU Pride’s event and ensure appropriate security and safety measures are in place to guarantee a safe event for everyone involved.
EPOA has offered its support to the METU Pride organisers and will monitor the situation.