Turkey bans all LGBTI events in Ankara, citing security

Turkey has banned all events by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups in the country's capital, in a move that LGBT civil rights organizations have called illegal and bigoted. 

The ban took effect Saturday for an "indefinite" period and applies to all LGBTI film screenings, theaters, panels and exhibitions.

The Ankara governor's office announced Sunday that the ban was imposed to protect "public security." It said the events may cause animosity between different groups and endanger "health and morality" as well as the rights and freedoms of others.

The governor's office warned that some groups may be provoked by LGBTI events and take action against participants because of "certain social sensitivities."

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Plainclothes police officers detain LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - S1BETMDTMSAA

Plainclothes police officers detain LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 26, 2016.  (REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

Although homosexuality isn't banned in Turkey and numerous LGBTI associations are legally registered with the state, rights activists say LGBTI individuals face discrimination and stigma.

The move follows an announcement last week that a German gay film festival would be banned from Ankara as well. 

Two Ankara-based LGBTI associations slammed the "arbitrary" ban in a statement late Sunday, saying it violates domestic and international laws.

Kaos GL and Pink Life organizations argued the vagueness and wide scope of the decision would legitimize rights violations against LGBTI individuals and turn them into targets.

The organizations said the decision would cripple their work to combat discrimination and hate crimes, calling on officials to withdraw the ban.

ILGA, a global organization for LGBTI rights, called the ban "a disgraceful breach of fundamental rights and freedoms" and warned that it constituted an example of the "shrinking space" for LGBTI civil society in Turkey.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.