Turkish police use water cannon (illustration)
Turkish police use water cannon (illustration)Reuters

The cultural tension of Turkey was put on display this Sunday as police used force to disperse a gay pride parade, illustrating how the liberal bent of the European Union (EU) Turkey is part of is at odds with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Muslim religious vision for the state.

The Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported that the 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade had been set to leave from Istanbul's central Taksim Square to the neighborhood of Tunel, but before it got off the ground police took action to end the event.

Tear gas and water cannons were turned on the pro-homosexual activists who bore rainbow flags and signs.

The event had "suddenly been banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office using the month of Ramadan as the reason without any announcement," said the Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week Committee which organizes the events, according to the Turkish paper.

It further claimed police used rubber bullets in addition to tear gas and water cannons, and said all entries and exits to Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue had been closed.

From a turnout of only 30 people at the first gay pride parade in Turkey in 2003, a full 50,000 people took part in 2013, a year when demonstrations against the government took place in Gezi Park protesting the demolition of a park near Taksim Square in central Istanbul to build a massive shopping mall.

In Israel gay pride parades have been held regularly, despite the fact that homosexuality is forbidden by Jewish law.

Former MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) argued in 2012 that the repeating and overly visible parades are meant to force a culture of homosexuality on Israel, warning against the negative effects both in terms of insensitivity to Judaism as well as subversion of the family structure, which he noted is the basis of civilization.