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Two Students arrested in Turkey for Mecca poster with LGBT flag

Two students have been arrested in Turkey on charges of inciting hatred and insulting religious values over a poster depicting Islam’s most sacred site — the Kaaba — with LGBT flags.

Their arrest late on Saturday came after top Turkish officials slammed the poster, displayed at an exhibition in Turkey’s most prestigious Bogazici University. For weeks, students and faculty have been protesting the Turkish president’s appointment of a new rector with links to his ruling party and clashes have broken out with police.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soyle tweeted that the “LGBT metamorphosis” was detained for “disregarding the Great Kaaba.” A senior government official from the ruling party, based in Turkey’s conservative Islam, has accused the poster.The Kaaba in Mecca is the most sacred place in Islam, and believers around the world pray in that direction.


The poster placed half-female and half-snake mythical creatures found in Middle Eastern folklore in places of worship, along with LGBT, lesbian, transgender, and asexual flags. The text below states that the artwork is a critique of the traditional gender role.


Istanbul’s governor’s office said five people were initially detained and police are searching for two more suspects. One was released, two were under house arrest, and two were put in jail awaiting trial.


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