Journalists, Rights Activists Warn of Damage From Anti-Gay Rhetoric in Turkey

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08/05/2023

For staff at the Turkish LGBTQ online magazine Velvele, the worry that content will be censored is constant. “That’s one of the biggest threats that we might face in the near future,” said Ilker Hepkaner, an editor at Velvele. “They might block an essay — or the whole website,” he said, referring to Turkish authorities. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made attacking the LGBTQ community a focal point of his political agenda in the run-up to his reelection this year, and Ankara has long used internet blocks and legal threats to silence critical outlets. In an environment that already has a poor media freedom record, questions over whether a journalist may be targeted are “always in your head,” Hepkaner said. “But you still continue.”

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