Turkey: Gay and Lesbian
Bridging the East and West
Although Turkey is an Islamic country, being straddled between two cultures has made it more accepting to homosexuality. Gay and lesbian holidays in Turkey are quite common now, although respect for the local culture is expected from visiting tourists. Turkey is the only Muslim country where homosexuality is not illegal. This makes Turkish gay life unique in the world. Gay culture in Turkey is slightly different from the rest of the European countries, and gay holidayers should familiarize themselves to the different surroundings. Istanbul has a thriving gay community, and is the center of gay life in Turkey, concentrated mainly in the Pera and Taksim districts of the city. There are many modern or traditional gay clubs, bars, saunas and hamams near the Taksim/Beyoglu area. There are also many clubs for transvestites and transsexuals in Taksim district. Indeed, the gay life of Istanbul is very colorful and vibrant. The first gay and lesbian organization of Turkey is also in Istanbul. If you want to spend a gay and lesbian holiday in Turkey’s other cities, many tour packages are available. Bodrum is popular with the gay community as well. Turkey scores 5 on 10 as a gay and lesbian holiday destination.