ISTANBUL — It was just after sunset when patrons began to arrive, climbing a dark stairwell to the bar’s modest entrance. Here, in dimly lit corners, is where the mostly gay clientele come to canoodle and drink — but without the threat of violence or harassment. Turkey, with more than 74 million people, is one of 20 Muslim-majority countries where homosexuality is technically legal. And cosmopolitan Istanbul, the country’s largest city, is a hub for gay and transgender life. But conservative attitudes and a repressive government mean many gay Turks are still subject to persecution. And after the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando this month, members of the LGBT community here say they feel especially vulnerable to attack.
June 26 / The Daily Herald