At the center of recent protests over civil liberties and religious sensibilities in Turkey looms a half-woman, half-snake figure known as Şahmeran.

The mythical creature was included in a pro-LGBTQ poster on display at a recent exhibit at the prestigious Bosphorus University in Istanbul. Her image was superimposed over the Kaaba – a sacred black cuboid structure in Mecca that Muslims the world over face when praying.

Although the artist remained anonymous, several university students have been arrested and charged with insulting Islam in relation to the poster, which also included gender-identity flags. Accompanying the poster was a manifesto that called for respecting the rights of women, members of the LGBTQ community and nature itself.


Click to read full story on; originally published March 1st, 2021.