By Gul Tuysuz
Roughly one hundred people demonstrated on Istiklal Street in Istanbul on Saturday in a creative and lively protest against recent controversial comments by a government minister that have drawn significant attention in Turkey and abroad.
State Minister in charge of families and children, Selma Aliye Kavaf, angered Turkey’s gay rights alliance Lamda, when she told daily Hurriyet in an interview earlier this month “I believe homosexuality is a biological disorder, a disease.”
“I believe [homosexuality] is something that needs to be treated,” she also told the daily.
In the statement it released at the protest, Lambda countered that it believes that it is not homosexuality but homophobia, transphobia and discrimination more generally that are disease in need of treatment.
Lamdaistanbul has also announced that it has nominated the minister Kavaf for its annual “Hormone Tomatoes Homophobia Award.”
The theme of the Hormone Tomatoes Award also carried over to Lamba protest. Participants threw rotten, genetically modified tomatoes at Kavaf in effigy. Protestors also chanted and carried signs that read “Resign Kavaf.” Nonetheless, the demonstration remained low key and light-hearted.
“We want the State Minister to look at these tomatoes and think about how prejudiced and discriminatory her remarks are towards gays, to whom she has yet to make an apology,” the statement read.
The statement added that if the minister does not wish to win the Hormone Tomatoes Award, she should apologize to the gay community. “Otherwise, to present her with her award, we will personally visit her in Parliament.”