President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has expressed discomfort with what he described as the use of “LGBT colors” at the United Nations (UN) during a week when the organization was adorned with bright colors promoting the Sustainable Development Goals.
Erdogan stated his desire to discuss this matter with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In recent times, Turkey’s government, led by Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party, has taken a harder stance on LGBTQ freedoms.
Erdogan remarked, “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.” He further argued that those opposed to LGBTQ issues should have their rights equally respected.
However, some UN diplomats have suggested that Erdogan may have confused the 17 different colors associated with the Sustainable Development Goals, which were decorating parts of the UN headquarters for a summit held earlier in the week, with the rainbow Pride colors symbolizing LGBTQ rights.
It’s important to clarify that there are no rainbow Pride colors at the UN headquarters promoting LGBTQ rights. Although Antonio Guterres has been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ rights and has condemned discrimination, Erdogan’s comments appear to be based on a misunderstanding.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in 2015 with a target date of 2030, constitute a global agenda encompassing objectives such as eradicating hunger, extreme poverty, addressing inequality, and promoting gender equality.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey; however, societal hostility towards LGBTQ issues remains widespread, and there has been an increase in police crackdowns on Pride parades in recent years.