It’s going to be a lonely fall for Turkish gays now that the government has banned and blocked gay dating app Grindr.
Both the app’s online database and website have been censored by the 14th Criminal Court of Istanbul as a “protection measure.” According to Hayriye Kara, a lawyer with Turkish LGBT association KAOS GL: “The court decision is not published online and so we have no access to the procuration and therefore do not yet know what was the reason for the censorship. It is most likely related to ‘general morality’, an ambiguous term used often against trans sex workers.”
Users, when trying to access the site, are met with the following message:
The decision no 2013/406 dated 26/08/2013, which is given about this website (grindr.com) within the context of protection measure, of “?stanbul Anadolu 14. Sulh CM” (?stanbul Anatolia 14th Criminal Court of Peace) has been implemented by ‘Telekomünikasyon ?leti?im Ba?kanl???’ (Telecommunications Communication Presidency).
KAOS GL’s Media Coordinator Ömer Akpinar called the court’s action “the last step in arbitrary limitations of freedom in Turkey. Any lifestyle or identity, which does not fit to the state’s ideology, is being deprived of their rights and freedoms. The Turkish government, through Ministry of Family and Social Policies, uses the discourse on the ‘traditional heterosexual family’ increasingly as a pretext to suppress LGBT rights.”
In a statement, Grindr CEO Joel Simkhai said he was “very upset” about the Grindr block and hoped that it was only temporary as “Grindr was created to help facilitate the connection between gay men — especially in countries where the LGBT community is oppressed.”