Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( AFP )
Erdogan receives accusation of driving officially secular Turkish nation on a conservative path in last two decades
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at country's LGBT movement and accused it of "vandalism". He also said that the movement was distancing his party's youth from its cause. His comments came after Turkish police detained four people for depicting Islam's holy sites with pictures of LGBT flag amid student protests. Students organised more protests after Erdogan's remarks
"We will carry our young people to the future, not as the LGBT youth, but as the youth that existed in our nation's glorious past," Erdogan said during a televised video linkup with members of his ruling AK Party.
"You are not the LGBT youth, not the youth who commit acts of vandalism. On the contrary, you are the ones who repair broken hearts," he said.
Erdogan receives accusation of driving officially secular Turkish nation on a conservative path in last two decades.
Homosexuality has been legal throughout modern Turkey's history.
But gay people often face harassment, and LGBT events -- including Istanbul Pride -- have been blocked under Erdogan.
Turkey was hit by a wave of student protests last month after Erdogan appointed a loyalist as the head of Istanbul's prestigious Bogazici University.
They spread to some other universities before subsiding after the deployment of a heavy Turkish police presence around campuses and on the streets.
During one demonstration last Friday protestors hung an artwork opposite the new rector's office depicting the holy site in Mecca and images of the LGBT movement's rainbow flag.
Turkish police accused four people of "inciting hatred in the population". Two of them have been remanded in custody and the other two placed under house arrest.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu branded the suspects "four LGBT freaks".
(With AFP inputs)