Head of Turkish Red Crescent at centre of storm over ‘anti-gay’ tweet

Kerem Kinik

The Turkish authorities have defended the head of the Turkish Red Crescent after he criticised LGBTQ activists on International Pride Day. 

Kerem Kinik, chairman of the Red Crescent Society of Turkey, told LGBTQ activists on Twitter on Sunday: “We will not let you step on human dignity.”

“We will protect nature and the mental health of our children. We’ll fight against those who violate healthy creation, who make abnormal look normal by using their power of communication and impose their paedophiliac dreams cloaked as modernity on young minds.”

Kinik’s comments drew a rebuke from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), where he serves as one of five vice presidents.

“The views expressed by Dr. Kinik do not represent the views of the IFRC: these words are both wrong and offensive,” it said, adding that it was assessing its next step.

“The IFRC has clear code of conduct which forbids any form of homophobia, hate speech or prejudice, and all staff and representatives are bound by that code, including Dr. Kinik.”

Kinik responded to IFRC’s criticism in another tweet, saying his approach was “fully coherent” with the IFRC’s principles because he opposed paedophilia.

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“My personal views from yesterday is to advocate for protection of our children from any harm. I trust this is our responsibility towards their silent scream,” Kinik wrote.

And Fahrettin Altun, Turkish presidency’s communications director, said on Twitter that “LGBT propaganda poses a grave threat to freedom of speech,” adding that the IFRC “became complicit in that attack by targeting” Kinik. “We won’t be silenced!” he wrote.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey but social hostility to it is widespread due to Islam’s prohibition of the practice.

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