ANKARA — With only 10 days to go until Turkey's consequential elections, embattled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on Thursday that the LGBTQ community is “the strongest current threatening the future of Western nations" as part of his efforts to weaponize homophobia against the opposition.
Speaking at a rally in Turkey's Black Sea region, a stronghold of conservative nationalists, Erdogan reiterated his homophobic messages to slam the main opposition six-party opposition bloc, led by the Republican People’s Party (CHP). “LGBT cannot get into the AKP [Erdogan's Justice and Development Party],” he said, adding “But is CHP pro-LGBT? Yes! Is the Good Party pro-LGBT? Yes! Can others [in the alliance] speak up against this? No!”
Though divisive and polarizing rhetoric has long been a campaign staple for Erdogan, the ruling party’s current election campaign has featured unprecedented levels of homophobic narrative ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls on May 14. Earlier in the day, Erdogan wrote on Twitter that LGBTQ movement is “the strongest current threatening the future of Western nations.”
Over the past two months, Erdogan and his government officials have galvanized homophobic sentiments among their conservative voter base.