Recently colours of the rainbow have become a political issue in Turkey.
A few months ago Egitim-Sen, the Teachers’ Trade Union in Turkey announced that school principals were receiving orders from local education directorates raising concerns about rainbow drawings. According to the Union’s statement, the Ministry of National Education has ordered teachers not to allow students to draw rainbows during the COVID-19 pandemic, amid fears that the drawings will “turn children gay.”
The Ministry of Trade has also ordered the mandatory registration of rainbow coloured goods as “+18 label required products.”
Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, yet this attempt of the ministry is based on the decision of the “Board of Advertisement”- to ban the patterns that resemble LGBT colours with the aim of “saving the kids” from the “sexual inversion”.
Under the rule of Erdogan’s Islamist party, Turkey has become more and more conservative in recent years. Lately hate speech towards the LGBT community has become a permanent fixture of the AKP’s conservative political rhetoric. This +18 age warning on rainbow themed products is the latest example of the government’s attempts to suppress Turkey’s secular public.
In addition to these homophobic regulations and political narratives of the AKP, other controversial changes which have sparked anger amongst the public include religion oriented new education curriculums and restrictive regulations on the sale of alcoholic beverages.
These overwhelming examples reflect the reality of living under the AKP regime, which has made significant moves away from being a secular state.