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Erdoğan mistakes colors representing UN goals for LGBTQ flags: report

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan complained on Thursday that he was uncomfortable with the use of what he described as “LGBT colors” at the United Nations, which is decorated this week with bright colors promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, Reuters reported.

Erdoğa said he would have liked to discuss it with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Turkish media reported on Thursday. Turkey’s government — led by Erdoğan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party — has toughened its stance on LGBTQ 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,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying by broadcaster Habertürk 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 Erdoğan, who has frequently labeled members of the LGBTQ community as “deviants” and particularly toughened his rhetoric during his election campaign this year.

However, some UN diplomats suggested Erdoğan might have confused the 17 different colors associated with the Sustainable Development Goals — and decorating parts of UN headquarters, including steps, for a summit that was held earlier this week — with the rainbow Pride colors associated with LGBTQ rights.

While Guterres has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights and spoken out about discrimination, there are no rainbow Pride colors at UN headquarters promoting LGBTQ rights.

A spokesperson for Guterres did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment on Erdoğan’s remarks.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in 2015 with a deadline of 2030, are a global “to do” list that includes wiping out hunger, extreme poverty, battling climate change and inequality, and promoting gender equality.

Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but hostility to it is widespread, and police crackdowns on Pride parades have become tougher over the years.

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