ISTANBUL, Turkey – A Turkish media report indicates members of the so-called Islamic State were planning to attack an LGBTQ organization in the country.
CNN Türk last week reported authorities arrested four ISIS militants in Ankara, the Turkish capital. The media outlet said the militants were preparing to attack the organization, but CNN Türk did not specifically identify which one.
“Police have also found lots of weapons and knives with them, and messages on their phone on how to plan their attack,” reported CNN Türk.
CNN Türk reported authorities found videos and pictures of the 2015 shooting inside the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and other terrorist attacks for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
‘Situation is very concerning for everybody’
ISIS, which previously controlled large swaths of Syria and Iraq, publicly executed men who were accused of committing sodomy.
An LGBTQ activist in Lebanon told the Los Angeles Blade in 2014 that ISIS militants once hanged a transgender woman by her breasts in a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus. Reports from Syria also indicated they also decapitated gay people.
ISIS in April 2017 claimed responsibility for an attack on Paris’ Champs-Élysées that left Xavier Jugelé, a gay police officer, dead. French authorities a few months later announced they uncovered an ISIS plot against gay nightclubs in Paris.
The gunman who killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in 2016 pledged his allegiance to ISIS, but there is no evidence that suggests the group directed him to carry out the massacre.
Marsel Gündoğdu of the Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association, an Istanbul-based LGBTQ organization, on Saturday noted to the Blade that ISIS has been threatening the LGBTIQ community in Turkey since 2016.
ISIS has used posters and brochures to threaten Kaos GL, another LGBTQ organization.
Gündoğdu said a group of Islamic militants in June “targeted LGBTI+ organizations and Istanbul” and “called for violence and physical raids of the offices of LGBTI+ organizations on Twitter.” He said the Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association requested police protection.
“LGBTI+ organizations in Ankara and Istanbul have shut down their offices and staff and volunteers can’t enter their offices due to these threats,” Gündoğdu said. “We don’t have experience on how to deal with this kind of threat, it’s a bit beyond our capacity and skills, and it enables staff of those organizations work under serious risks and stress. The Turkish government should protect all its citizens from the threats and attacks of terrorist organizations.”
“The situation is very concerning for everybody,” he added.