Red Cross/Crescent says LGBT tweet by its Turkey head is 'offensive'

by Reuters
Monday, 29 June 2020 14:12 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kinik is pictured at his office during an interview with Reuters in Istanbul, Turkey January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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Kerem Kinik accused LGBT+ people of making "abnormal look normal" and compared homosexuality to paedophilia in the tweet posted on International Pride Day

ANKARA, June 29 (Reuters) - The global Red Cross and Red Crescent network said on Monday that comments about the LGBT+ community by one of its vice-presidents, who also heads its Turkish unit, were "wrong and offensive".

Kerem Kinik, chairman of the Red Crescent Society of Turkey and one of five VPs at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), made the comments on his official Twitter account on Sunday, international Pride Day.

"We will not let you step on human dignity," Kinik wrote.

"We will protect natality 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."

Although homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, hostility to it is widespread. Authorities have cracked down on LGBT+ events and banned Pride marches.

The IFRC said in a statement that it condemned homophobia and hate speech of all kinds and stood in solidarity with the global LGBTIQ+ community - an acronym standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning and other variations of non-binary gender identity or sexual orientation.

"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 was not immediately available to comment.

Turkey's AK Party government says it has improved rights and freedoms since coming to power in 2003, but a 2019 report on LGBT+ rights from the advocacy group ILGA Europe ranked Turkey second to last out of 49 countries.

In April, Ali Erbas, head of Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, said Islam condemned homosexuality because "it brings illnesses and corrupts generations".

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Kevin Liffey)