A criminal complaint has been filed against Kaos GL, one of the oldest LGBTI+ rights groups in Turkey, over an advertisement filmed inside a train car in the Marmaray, the undersea tunnel below the Bosporus, local media reported on Monday.
Kaos GL over the weekend unveiled the advertisement that aims to combat sexual discrimination and hate crimes while promoting unity and solidarity with the slogan “Hand in Hand Against Discrimination, Oppression, Violence and Hate.”
In the advertisement two young girls, holding hands, grow uncomfortable under the intense gaze of a man fixated on them and release each other’s hands. In response, everyone in the car simultaneously joins hands, sending a powerful message of unity and support.
🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈KAMU SPOTU: Ayrımcılığa, baskıya, şiddete, nefrete karşı el ele!
29. yaşımızda elimizi uzatmaya devam ediyoruz. Biliyoruz ki o el havada kalmadı, bundan sonra da kalmayacak. El ele büyüdük, el ele yürüdük, el ele verirsek hayat bayram olur… pic.twitter.com/uXvJjJDWRS
— Kaos GL (@KaosGL) September 23, 2023
After its release, the advertisement faced criticism from certain newspapers and individuals with close ties to the government, who targeted it due to the fact that it was filmed in the Marmaray, operated by Turkish State Railways (TCDD) under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transportation.
An announcement was made Monday on the official account of Marmaray on X, formerly known as Twitter, that a complaint had been filed against Kaos GL due to the public advertisement.
A deviation from the purpose stated on the application for a permit to film was cited in the criminal complaint.
The statement said the advertisement was shot on Nov. 30, 2019 in an empty train and that the request for the filming said it would be produced for a social media platform.
“However, the film was later released for a different purpose, four years after its production,” the statement added.
Bazı sosyal medya platformlarında bir gruba ait X hesabından kısa film yayınlanmaktadır.
Söz konusu kısa film 30 Kasım 2019 tarihinde mekan kullanma ücreti karşılığında park yerinde bekleyen boş bir tren setinde çekilmiştir.
Sözkonusu filmin çekimleri için kurumumuza yapılan… pic.twitter.com/hoRLjBkYNT
— Marmaray (@Marmaraytcdd) September 25, 2023
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, but homophobia is widespread. After a spectacular Pride March in İstanbul drew 100,000 people in 2014, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government responded by banning future events in the city, citing security concerns.
It is common for Erdoğan and other politicians from the AKP to attack LGBT individuals and accuse them of perversion and ruining family values. He also made anti-LGBT propaganda a central part of his re-election campaign in May.