D5.2 Country Report | December 2022 

Author: Hasret Dikici Bilgin, Istanbul Bilgi University 

This report aims to uncover media representation and presentation of anti-gender discourse as well as the collective and ordinary displays against masculine radicalization. Its purpose is multifold. First, it shows that discrimination and attacks against non-heteronormative individuals and organizations are neither sporadic nor isolated. On the contrary, discrimination becomes organized and mobilized. The fact that the anti-LGBTQI+ march’s advertisement is accepted as public service broadcasting by RTÜK (Radio and Television Supreme Council, Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu) supports this argument. Hence, the expansion of anti-gender discourse is related to the overall closing of the political space and the rise of authoritarian populism. Second, this report shows with the same coin that there is an increasing awareness among the citizens and diverse oppositional groups that anti-gender discourse is related to authoritarian turn and state-led radicalization. The report elaborates on this argument by giving examples from collective agents against anti-gender radicalization and non-LGBTQI+ organizations’ increasing recognition that their agendas are not mutually exclusive. 

The anti-gender movement in Turkey is relatively recent, displays similarities with the movements in the other European countries and linked to the authoritarian turn. The report shows that anti-gender discourse is shaped by religious and conservative rhetoric, builds on masculine victimization and identifies non-heteronormative discourse as a direct and crucial threat to the family and the nation. This discourse is countered by the vibrant LGBTQI+ community in Turkey getting increasingly close collaboration with the opposition parties and diverse opposition groups especially of the leftist and pro-Kurdish leanings. The report also shows that there is also increasingly visible ordinary user activity on the social media to debunk the anti-gender discourse.