|A human rights group has condemned a Turkish court ruling ordering the dissolution of a gay rights organization as a threat to democratic rights and a sign of prejudice, in a statement Tuesday.
The ban against LambdaIstanbul was ordered by an Istanbul court last week after a complaint by the governors office accused it of violating the constitutional protection of the family and an article banning bodies "with objectives that violate law and morality."
LambdaIstanbul said they will appeal the ruling.
"The judges arbitrary decision highlights the prejudiced proceedings," Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in a statement received Tuesday.
"If the authorities can close one organization on procedural pretexts, all of civil society is in danger," she added.
The ruling against LambdaIstanbul is the latest in a series of moves targeting associations defending lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, HRW said.
The Ankara governor's office accused the gay-lesbian group KAOS-GL in 2005 and the transgender rights group Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) in 2006 for violating morality, but, in both cases, the charges were thrown out by prosecutors.
"The Turkish authorities must decide whether nongovernmental organizations are fair game for harassment, or full partners in a free society," said Sinclair-Webb.
Same-sex relationships have never been criminalized in Turkey, but there are no laws protecting homosexual rights and prejudice against gays and lesbians remains strong in daily life.
Turkish homosexuals have become increasingly outspoken in recent years, expanding their networks and organizing public events to raise their voices.