Grindr Fights Back After Turkish Ban

The Turkish government blocked Grindr last week. Now the app is fighting back with help from All Out and the Turkish LGBT rights group KAOS GL.

Participants attend a gay pride parade in central Istanbul June 30, 2013. Umit Bektas / Reuters

When Turkish men tried to log into the hook-up app Grindr late last week, they were greeted by a message that said the network was being shut down as a “protection measure.”

The Turkish LGBT rights group KAOS GL quickly linked the blackout to broader efforts by the government to surpress “any lifestyle or identity” that “does not fit to the state’s ideology.”

“Censoring Grindr is the last step in arbitrary limitations of freedom in Turkey,” said KAOS GL media coordinator Ömer Akpınar in a statement posted on the organization’s website. “This is part of a larger trend of blocking the freedom of information in the wake of the Gezi Park demonstrations.”

Now Grindr is trying to mobilize users to put pressure on the Turkish authorities to reverse the decision. On Wednesday, it called on its members to sign a petition launched by All Out demanding that Turkey, “Repeal the order of the 14th Criminal Court of Istanbul blocking Grindr as a ‘protection measure’ and abide by European Court of Human Rights rulings on freedom of speech and information.

“All Out members won’t stand for Turkey’s censorship of the gay community,” said All Out Communications Director Joe Mirabella in a press statement. “If we don’t speak out now, this won’t stop with Grindr because it’s just one part of the Turkish government’s crackdown against freedom of speech across the entire country.”

J. Lester Feder is a BuzzFeed contributor and 2013 Alicia Patterson journalism fellow.

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