Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since 1858, however that is as far as gay rights go. Turkey is one of the most democratic Muslim countries in the world and its engagement with Europe is influencing its liberalism. The culture in Turkey is reminiscent of that of ancient cultures, the traditional views means there are those who consider themselves gay and those who will choose gay or more feminine partners, in other words it is still based on active-passive partnerships.
Istanbul is the center of gay life in Turkey, the heart of the city’s gay district is off Istiklal Street with a number of café bars and clubs that have a new European atmosphere, if you want to experience a more local and traditional Turkish gay bar then visit Ekoo Bar. There is also a small yet developing gay scene in Bodrum in the South West, a popular tourist spot for Europeans there is more visibility of gay people in recent years.
Turkey’s Istanbul Pride festival is held in June and in September is IstanBear Autumn Festival, a popular bear event. For more gay life walk along the long beaches and coastline where you will find small spots of gay beaches or discover the history of homosexuality through the Ottoman Empire.There are plenty of historical places to visit including Aspendos Theatre built in 155 AD, Mount Numrut to explore the tomb-sanctuary of King Antiochus, or the Blue Mosque with its six Minarets.