Turkish brewery serves up Pride in a bottle in defiance of nationwide bans

Turkish authorities ban Pride parades across most of the country; cops threw tear gas at people who tried to stage a parade in Istanbul last week

The Bomonti beer bottle in rainbow colors

A leading Turkish beer brand launched a special edition bottle for Pride celebrations in defiance of bans on marches across the country.

Bomonti, a brand stocked in bars and stores nationwide across the country is one of the most popular in Turkey. It is owned by Efes, a major player in the brewing industry that dominates 80% of the Turkish beer market.

The rainbow colored bottle was unveiled in an Instagram post by Harun Guven, head of branding agency Lotus Media.

The special edition Pride bottle will be stocked in all bars that carry the Bomonti brand, a bold move by a corporation in a country where Pride celebrations are constantly challenged.

Pride marches face violent backlash in Turkey

Reported in May that a student-led Pride march ended in violence and arrests in the Turkish capital city of Ankara, despite the ban on Pride related events in that city being lifted in April of this year.

Fotis Filippou, Campaigns Director for Europe at Amnesty International, had stated, ‘It is heartbreaking to hear that today’s Pride march, which should have been a celebration of love and solidarity, was so violently broken up by police using pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas, and that at least 25 people have reportedly been unlawfully detained.’

Pride marches have also been banned in Istanbul since 2015, and last week Police fired tear gas at those who assembled in defiance of the ban.

In addition to this, 17 people were arrested in the city of Izmir for reading a press release in lieu of the march.

Advocates call for Pride bans to be lifted

The launch of a Pride-colored bottle in Turkey comes on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City. Many credit that uprising with the birth of the modern Pride movement.

‘These discriminatory decisions are part of a widening and increasingly worrying suppression of LGBTI rights in Turkey,’ announced Filippou. ‘These events are a vibrant celebration of love, inclusion and diversity and the authorities have no place in applying unlawful and arbitrary bans.’

There has been no official statement from government agencies as to whether the beer company has broken any local laws by producing the product.

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Bradley Secker

@bradleysecker

It’s true, the Bomonti beers do exist! The first time I’ve seen a Turkish company embrace the rainbow, and the pink lira. Yes pride has become more corporate, but in some cases it helps with visibility and has greater political and social umpf.

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