Site icon Turkish Minute

Gay social network Hornet app returns to Turkey based on court ruling

In a major win for Turkey’s LGBTQ community, an access ban imposed on Hornet, the world’s leading gay social network with more than 40 million users, has been lifted in line with a ruling from Turkey’s Constitutional Court, the Free Web Turkey platform announced.

The top court found earlier this month the violation of freedom of expression and the right to effective remedy in the ban imposed on the platform, which went into effect two-and-a-half years ago.

Hornet was removed by Apple from the Turkish App Store on August 6, 2021 by a court decision. On February 25, 2022, Hornet was reinstated in Apple’s App Store as a new app called Hornet Stories, custom-built for Turkey for their LGBTQ userbase, while the original app remained blocked.

Hornet, which boasts more than 3 million users inside Turkey, has long been the backbone of the country’s queer community. As the only remaining digital platform for the nation’s LGBTQ population, users rely on Hornet for the latest in LGBTQ-centric news and health resources in addition to personal connections, according to the website.

“We are thrilled to see the Turkish Constitutional Court affirming the constitutional rights of Hornet, its userbase, and the entire LGBTQ community, in their quest to freely express themselves,” said Hornet Founder and CEO Christof Wittig.

“What we are seeing take place in Türkiye — a gradual erosion of free speech, consistently queerphobic language from the government’s highest offices, apparently in violation of the country’s constitution. [It] is nothing short of disappointing.  We feel encouraged that the work Hornet does as the world’s queer social network is more vital today than ever before and we will continue to meet the needs of our community,” he added.

The website was also blocked in Turkey by an Ankara court on August 6, 2020 based on complaint from the Ankara Provincial Gendarmerie Command.

With the top court’s ruling, the ban on the has also been removed.

Lawyer Kerem Dikmen, who challenged the ban on Hornet at the Constitutional Court, told Free Web Turkey that Turkey not only violated the freedom of expression of its citizens but also of all Hornet users around the world.

A similar gay platform, Grindr, has been banned in Turkey since August 2013 on the grounds that it promotes obscenity and prostitution.

The ban on Grindr was also taken to the Constitutional Court in 2015, but the court still has not ruled on it.

Dikmen said the Constitutional Court could have merged both applications and removed the ban on Grindr, too. He described the court’s failure to rule on the Grindr application “very problematic” since nine years have passed.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout modern Turkey’s history, gay people regularly face harassment and abuse.

In recent years, LGBTQ events have been blocked including İstanbul Pride, which was banned in 2015 after taking place every year since 2003.

Officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan frequently engage in hateful rhetoric targeting the LGBTQ community, describing them as “freaks” and “degenerates.”

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Exit mobile version