Human Rights Watch Reports
Turkey: Events of 2016
January 2017 / (8 Pages)
On July 15, 2016, elements of the military attempted to carry out a coup d’état against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. In the aftermath, the government declared a state of emergency, jailed thousands of soldiers and embarked on a wholesale purge of public officials, police, teachers, judges, and prosecutors. Most of those jailed, dismissed, or suspended were accused of being followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. However, the crackdown also extended to the pro-Kurdish opposition party, with two leaders and other MPs arrested and placed in pretrial detention, along with many of its elected mayors, denying millions of voters their elected representatives.
In Custody: Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey
October 2017 / (49 Pages)
Based on interviews with lawyers and relatives, and on a review of court transcripts, this report looks in detail at ten cases in which security forces tortured or ill-treated a total of 22 people, and an eleventh case in which police beat scores of villagers, 38 of whom lodged formal complaints of torture. The report also presents details of five individual cases of abduction that likely amount to enforced disappearance by state authorities since March 2017.
Silencing Turkey’s Media: The Government’s Deepening Assault on Critical Journalism
December 2016 / (81 Pages)
The attacks on independent media after the attempted coup was defeated in July marked an intensification of a crackdown on media freedom that had already been going on for over a year. Censorship of journalism has been going on for much longer. The authorities use ever more creative ways to silence serious reporting and news coverage that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party government disagree with.
A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against Torture
October 2016 / (54 Pages)
Based on interviews with more than 40 lawyers, human rights activists, former detainees, medical personnel and forensic specialists, this report looks at how the state of emergency has impacted police detention conditions and the rights of detainees. It also details 13 cases, in one case involving multiple detainees, of alleged abuse including torture.
Turkey’s Human Rights Rollback: Recommendations for Reform
September 2014 / (44 Pages)
The report outlines some of the areas where the government needs to take urgent steps to reverse this authoritarian drift. It focuses on four areas: human rights steps in the peace process with the PKK; threats to the rule of law; the reinforcement in the present of a culture of impunity, including a pattern of impunity for violence against women; and restrictions on speech and media, and on the rights to assembly and association.
World Report 2018: Turkey
January 2018 / (7 Pages)
The new presidential system, which consolidates the incumbent’s hold on power, is a setback for human rights and the rule of law. It lacks sufficient checks and balances against abuse of executive power, greatly diminishing the powers of parliament, and consolidating presidential control over most judicial appointments. The presidential system will come fully into force following elections in 2019.
Journalists and Writers Foundation Reports
Escaping the Witch Hunt From Turkey and Around the World
April 2018 / (96 Pages)
The present report discusses the right to freedom of movement, with a particular focus on the right of Turkish citizens, dual citizens and also foreigners—to leave Turkey in the aftermath of the attempted coup of July 15, 2016. It outlines the plausibility of a claim that continuing human rights violations by the government of Turkey have now turned the country into an open-air prison for many, regardless of whether or not individuals are formally deprived of their liberty. Being denied any future in Turkey and facing, inter alia, arbitrary detention, no prospect of a fair trial, unemployability and persecution, an increasing number of civil servants, teachers, professors, lawyers, journalists, judges,police officers, military personnel and other professionals at risk, are trying to leave the country and ask for international protection.
The State of Turkey`s Children: Victims of Unlawfulness
October 2017 / (32 Pages)
The findings of the report reveal a disturbing pattern of human rights abuses against innocent children in Turkey and abroad. By the end of August 2017, 688 children under the age of six are in jails across Turkey with their mothers. The report aims to highlight and raise awareness about the plight of thousands of children in Turkey and abroad subject to discrimination on several grounds prohibited by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Women’s Rights Under Attack in Turkey
May 2017 / (56 Pages)
In recent years, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule Turkey has experienced a sharp declining trend in almost all democratic indicators, including the rights of women, civil, economic and social rights, freedom of expression and media, free and fair elections, government accountability and corruption. Since the breakdown of the Kurdish peace process in July 2015 and the July 2016 attempted coup, Kurdish and other minority women, as well as women allegedly linked to the Hizmet movement suffer disproportionate multi-faceted discrimination, in particular as regards equal access to political participation, health, education, employment and justice, both in law and practice.
Assault on Education In Turkey And Abroad
March 2017 / (196 Pages)
The present report examines the systematic legislative, administrative, and other efforts by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) since the beginning of its rule, in particular since 2011 and the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt – to permanently Islamize Turkey’s education system. İmam-Hatip schools, crucial in their role to further the AKP’s political Islam agenda as a breeding ground for radical elements, continue to receive extensive political and material support, including through unlawful seizure (theft) of thousands of closed private educational institutions and land. Despite this aid, these schools still perform extremely poorly in all state tests. The mushrooming of İmam-Hatip schools, the current rise in homegrown radicalization along with the surge in the number of terrorist attacks and victims caused by terrorism show that Turkey’s social fabric is undergoing a very harmful change.
Post-Coup Turkey: State Of Emergency, Torture and Impunity
October 2016 / (46 Pages)
The failed coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey was followed by an unprecedented purge targeting citizens from all walks of life, in particular in the education, media, business, military and justice sectors. The ongoing purge and measures introduced under the umbrella of the state of emergency have severely limited individual rights and liberties. The state of emergency imposed in the aftermath of the attempted coup granted the Prime Minister and his cabinet the power to rule by decree and bypass Parliament.
Amnesty International Reports
Turkey: no end in sight: purged public sector workers denied a future in Turkey
May 2017 / (23 Pages)
This report focuses on the dismissal of public servants, among them police officers, teachers, soldiers, doctors, judges, prosecutors and academics, by executive decree issued under the powers of the state of emergency in Turkey, which continues 10 months after it was first introduced. The mass dismissals have been carried out arbitrarily on the basis of vague and generalized grounds of “connections to terrorist organizations”. Dismissed public sector workers have not been given reasons for their dismissal nor do they have an effective means to challenge the decisions.
Turkey: journalism is not a crime: crackdown on media freedom in Turkey
May 2017 / (16 Pages)
Since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, at least 156 media outlets have been shut down and an estimated 2,500 journalists and other media workers have lost their jobs. Journalists have been arrested and charged with terrorism offences as a result of posts they have shared on Twitter, cartoons they have drawn or opinions they expressed. This is taking place within the context of a wider crackdown against perceived government critics which has seen 47,000 people remanded in prison and more than 100,000 public sector employees summarily dismissed.
Turkey: displaced and dispossessed: Sur residents’ right to return home
December 2016 / (31 Pages)
Amid the crackdown on opposition Kurdish voices by the Turkish government, this report focuses on the forced displacement of residents of Sur in Diyarbakır, southeast Turkey’s most populous city. Displaced and dispossessed of their homes, around 24,000 former residents of Sur are unable to return one year after the outbreak of heavy clashes in the district and other towns across the southeast of the country.
Stockholm Center for Freedom Reports
Abuse of the Interpol System by Turkey
September 2017 / (41 Pages)
The Turkish government’s blatant abuse of the criminal justice system to persecute, harass and intimidate its opponents and critics has recently escalated to include manipulation of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). The dubious and false charges filed en masse with Interpol to hunt down political enemies of Turkey’s strongman President Erdoğan sparked an international crisis when Turkish nationals and foreign nationals of Turkish origin were caught in a quagmire. Cases of abuse by Turkey of Interpol for political purposes, including the persecution of civil society members, social groups, human rights activists, political opponents, and journalists, were documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) on its tracking website.
Turkey’s Contempt for the Rule of Law
September 2017 / (43 Pages)
The Turkish government appears to enjoy governing the country with interim decree-laws that effectively sideline Parliament and have dismantled the independent judiciary under emergency rule, which has been repeatedly extended for over a year since a controversial July 15, 2016 coup bid. The government has implemented measures that have gone beyond addressing urgent security needs. Many violations have been reported about the infringement of basic principles of law and fundamental rights enshrined in the international conventions with which Turkey is under obligation to comply. Arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and suspicious deaths under detention and in prisons have increased.
Hate Speech Against Christians In Erdoğan’s Turkey
August 2017 / (63 Pages)
Turkey has seen an unprecedented rise in xenophobic, intolerant and hateful speech by the nation’s political rulers, driven primarily by the outspoken president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who uses incessant and vile speech inciting hostility, deepening divisions and expanding polarization in the 80-million-strong nation for short-term political gains. SCF has been documenting cases of hate speech and hate crime that represent a threat to diversity and pluralism in Turkey. As a case study in this report, SCF picked Erdoğan and his associates’ hate speech patterns demonizing Christians in Turkey and abroad. The alarming situation in Turkey amounts to violation of freedom of thought, conscience and religion and thereby puts Turkey in breach of its commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
More Turks Report Anxiety, Stress and Depression Under Erdogan’s Rule
August 2017 / (14 Pages)
The escalating clampdown on fundamental rights and freedoms in an increasingly repressive regime of Turkey under the autocratic leadership of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan might have very well contributed to the spike in the prevalence of stress, depression and anxiety in Turkish society, a recent poll done by Stockholm Center for Freedom has revealed. Among the polled, 86.3 percent of respondents said they experience high level of depression, followed by 78.8 percent stating they struggle with stress and 72.1 percent reporting they tackle with anxiety. The present findings suggested that a significant proportion of Turks in the sample group has suffered from depression, stress and anxiety leading to a low-level of happiness. Instead of addressing the root causes of this growing problem in Turkey, president Erdogan, the government officials and the pro-government media continue to fuel hysteria and paranoia in Turkish society
Tortured to Death: The case of the torture and death of history teacher
November 2017/ (62 Pages)
Investigators from the Stockholm Center for Freedom have laid bare the appalling facts behind the death of Gökhan Açıkkollu, a 42-year-old history teacher who died after enduring 13 days of torture and abuse. None of the people responsible for his death have yet been punished, and no effective or thorough investigation has been conducted into the circumstances that led to his death. Contradictory testimonies and discrepancies in official records have not yet been fully investigated by the public prosecutor, who dropped the probe even before receiving the autopsy results and without talking to key witnesses.
July 15: Erdogan’s Coup
July 2017 / (185 Pages)
The July 15th failed coup attempt in Turkey was a false flag operation orchestrated by Erdoğan in partnership with a cadre of military and intelligence officials to consolidate his power. The attempt, doomed to fail from the start, was hailed by Erdoğan as a “gift from God” and should be considered a successful bid from his perspective, judging by the results. More than 150,000 government employees have been dismissed from their positions on the basis of their critical views without any effective judicial or administrative probes. SCF strongly believes there is an urgent need to put in place measures and policy actions to put an end to the autocratic Erdoğan regime’s anti-democratic policies.
Enforced Disappearances in Turkey
June 2017/ (32 Pages)
The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has so far documented 11 individual cases of disappearance since 2016 that show a systematic and deliberate campaign of kidnappings by elements within the Turkish security and intelligence services as part of the persecution launched by Turkish President Erdoğan and his government, primarily against participants of a civic group known as the Gülen movement. According to the Human Rights Association (İHD), there have been 940 cases of enforced disappearance in Turkey. In addition to that, the İHD believes 3,248 people who were murdered in extrajudicial killings are buried in 253 separate burial places.
Mass Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkey
June 2017 / (58 Pages)
Torture, abuse and ill treatment of detainees and prisoners in Turkey has become the norm rather than the exception under the repressive regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has publicly vowed to show no mercy to his critics, opponents and dissidents amid a mass persecution that has landed over 50,000 people in jail on trumped-up charges in the last ten months alone. The dozens of cases cited in this report are just the tip of the iceberg in what SCF believes to be monumental problems of ongoing torture in Turkey.
Erdogan’s Vile Campaign of Hate Speech Case Study: Targeting of the Gulen Movement
May 2017 / (52 Pages)
Turkey has seen an unprecedented rise in xenophobic, intolerant and hateful speech by the nation’s political rulers, driven primarily by the outspoken president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who uses incessant and vile speech inciting hostility, deepening divisions and expanding polarization in the 80-million-strong nation for short-term political gains. As a case study in this report, SCF picked Erdoğan’s hate speech pattern demonizing members of the Gülen movement, which has borne the brunt of incessant vicious attacks by Erdoğan and his associates in the government that resulted in a mass persecution and witch-hunt, unparalleled to anything in modern Turkish history.
Erdogan’s Long Arms: The Case of Malaysia
May 2017 / (32 Pages)
In this report, which takes Malaya as a case study, SCF reveals a new and highly controversial method employed by the Turkish government – snatching Turkish nationals from a foreign country in a blatant breach of well established principles of international law. Several participants in the Gülen Movement have been kidnapped by Turkish government operatives from Malaysian soil, and the remaining ones were subjected to threats of abductions, forcible removals and detention on false charges. The pattern suggests the use of abduction is systematic. Coupled with some dozen cases of enforced disappearance of persons in Turkey in the last two months, abductions of Turkish nationals from overseas require scrutiny and investigation.
Jailing Women in Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear
April 2017 / (32 Pages)
SCF cited well-documented cases in this report to draw a picture of a larger pattern of institutionalized abuse of jailed women in Turkey as the art of systematic targeting by the authorities to crack down on the right to dissent, the right to freedom of speech and the right to hold differing views from the prevailing ideology of the current Islamist government. SCF believes the torture and ill-treatment of women in detention and jails are worse than what is publicly reported since many victims fear that coming forward and sharing their horrific stories about the abuse would lead to further negative repercussions from the authorities.
Turkey’s Descent Into Arbitrariness: The End of Rule
April 2017 / (44 Pages)
A growing consensus among jurists and analysts who have observed the rapid democratic backsliding in Turkey, a member of the Council of Europe (CoE), is that the rule of law has been effectively suspended under the renewed emergency rule and that the courts are practically controlled by the authoritarian regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who does not hesitate to abuse the criminal justice system to persecute his critics and opponents. In this context, this report provides examples suggesting that the rule of law is no longer applicable in Turkey and that domestic remedies have been rendered ineffective.
Suspicious Deaths and Suicides in Turkey
March 2017 / (37 Pages)
Following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, there has been a massive increase in cases of ill-treatment and torture, along with unprecedented mass arrests and detentions in Turkey. In statements and criminal complaints made by defendants and their family members, widespread torture practices have been uncovered in detention centers and prisons. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has investigated and documented 53 suspected deaths in the last six months alone.
Erdogan’s Long Arm in Europe: The Case of the Netherlands
February 2017/ (39 Pages)
SCF mapped out ways and methods of the Turkish government’s intimidation campaign targeting critics and dissidents abroad and studied examined Netherlands, a European country that is home to over 400,000 Turks, as a case study to decode what is being called ‘Erdogan’s long arm’ in Europe. Turkish president openly stated that no country in the world would be safe for members of Hizmet, vowed to pursue them wherever they are. This has led to physical attacks on lives and properties of critics, calls for boycott for their businesses, death threats and punishments of their relatives back in Turkey.
Freedom of the Press in Turkey: Far Worse Than You Think
January 2017 / (36 Pages)
This report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) is about journalists, who were arrested, convicted, exiled or otherwise faced harassment in Turkey’s abusive criminal justice system. The main focus is naturally on those who have lost their freedom and are behind bars, although many others suffer in one way or another from the relentless persecution perpetrated by the Turkish government against critical, independent and opposition journalists SCF is seriously concerned that 2017 might be worse in terms of fundamental rights and freedoms, particularly freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
Committee to Protect Journalists Reports
Turkey’s crackdown propels number of journalists in jail worldwide to record high
December 2016 / (5 Pages, Video)
Turkey is experiencing an unprecedented rate of press freedom violations. At least 81 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, all of them facing anti-state charges, in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown that has included the shuttering of more than 100 news outlets. The 259 journalists in jail worldwide is the highest number recorded since 1990. In Turkey, media freedom was already under siege in early 2016, with authorities arresting, harassing, and expelling journalists and shutting down or taking over news outlets.
Freedom House Reports
Freedom in the World 2017: Turkey
2017 / (28 Pages)
Turkey’s political rights rating declined from 3 to 4, its civil liberties rating declined from 4 to 5, and it received a downward trend arrow due to the security and political repercussions of an attempted coup in July, which led the government to declare a state of emergency and carry out mass arrests and firings. Over 150,000 people—including soldiers, police, judicial officials, civil servants, academics, and schoolteachers—were detained, arrested, or dismissed from their positions in a massive purge of suspected coup plotters and other perceived enemies of the state.
Freedom of the Press 2017: Turkey
April 2017 / (32 Pages)
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have overseen a substantial decline in press freedom over the past decade, aggressively using the penal code, criminal defamation laws, and antiterrorism legislation to jail large numbers of journalists and punish critical reporting. More than 150 media outlets—including newspapers, television and radio channels, news agencies, magazines, publishing houses, and news websites—were forcibly shut down and had their assets seized in the months following the coup bid. More than 2,700 media workers were fired or forced to resign, hundreds lost their press credentials, an unknown number had their passports revoked and were forbidden from leaving the country, and 54 journalists had their property confiscated.
Freedom on the Net 2017: Turkey
November 2017 / (48 Pages)
Internet freedom sharply declined in Turkey in 2017 due to the repeated suspension of telecommunications networks and social media access. The government has implemented a massive purge in which more than 60,000 citizens have been arrested for alleged connections to Gülen or other banned groups, while over 140,000 have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs. At least 5 news agencies, 62 newspapers, 16 television channels, 19 periodicals, 29 publishing houses, and 24 radio stations have been forcibly closed down by decree. The government has repeatedly suspended access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WhatsApp on national security grounds, while Wikipedia has been permanently blocked due to articles related to Turkey’s role in the Syrian civil war. Popular services offering virtual private networks (VPNs) and the Tor anonymity network have been blocked to prevent users from accessing censored content.
Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey
February 2014 / (24 Pages)
Police raids that revealed corruption scandal on December 17 have sparked a frantic crackdown by the ruling party. More journalists have been fired for speaking out. Amendments to the Internet regulation law proposed by the government would make it possible for officials to block websites without court orders. Over the past seven years, the government has increasingly employed a variety of strong-arm tactics to suppress the media’s proper role as a check on power. Some of the most disturbing efforts include the following: intimidation, mass firings, buying off or forcing out media moguls, wiretapping and imprisonment.
Freedom in the World 2018: Turkey
January 2018 / (24 Pages)
Turkey’s passage over the threshold from Partly Free to Not Free is the culmination of a long and accelerating slide in Freedom in the World. The country’s score has been in free fall since 2014 due to an escalating series of assaults on the press, social media users, protesters, political parties, the judiciary, and the electoral system, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fights to impose personalized control over the state and society in a deteriorating domestic and regional security environment. Erdoğan has pushed out his rivals and former allies within the ruling party, reshaped media ownership to fit his needs, and rammed through an unpopular constitutional referendum to create a “super-presidential” system without meaningful checks and balances.
State Department Report on Turkey
Turkey 2017 International Religious Freedom Report
May 2018 / (22Pages)
From July 2016 through the end of the year, police arrested more than 50,000 individuals for alleged ties to the Gulen movement or related groups. During the year the government suspended or dismissed thousands of public officials from state institutions, including more than a thousand Diyanet employees. The government continued to prosecute individuals for “openly disrespecting the religious belief of a group” and continued to limit the rights of non-Muslim minorities, especially those not recognized under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.
Turkey 2017 Human Rights Report
April 2018 / (64 Pages)
The most significant human rights issues included alleged torture of detainees in official custody; allegations of forced disappearance; arbitrary arrest and detention under the state of emergency of tens of thousands, including members of parliament and two Turkish-national employees of the U.S. Mission to Turkey, for alleged ties to terrorist groups or peaceful legitimate speech; executive interference with independence of the judiciary, affecting the right to a fair trial and due process; political prisoners, including numerous elected officials; severe restriction of freedoms of expression and media, including imprisonment of scores of journalists, closing media outlets, and criminalization of criticism of government.
Turkey 2016 Human Rights Report
March 2017 / (75 Pages)
Following the July 15 coup attempt, the government on July 20 declared a three-month state of emergency, which was renewed in October. The government suspended and dismissed tens of thousands of civil servants, who generally had little access to legal recourse or appeal, and closed thousands of businesses, schools, and associations. The government interfered greatly with freedom of expression. There is clear evidence of inadequate protection of civilians. Human rights groups reported that security forces killed and injured persons who attempted to cross illegally from Syria into Turkey and documented reports of torture and abuse of prisoners following the coup attempt. The government impeded access by international media and observers to conflict areas, limiting independent reporting about conditions.
Turkey 2015 Human Rights Report
April 2016 / (74 Pages)
The most significant human rights abuses include governmental interference with freedom of expression, impunity and weak administration of justice and inadequate protection of civilians. Multiple provisions in the law created the opportunity for the government to restrict freedom of expression, the press, and the Internet. Government pressure on the media continued. Representatives of Gulenist and some liberal media outlets were denied access to official events and in some cases, denied press accreditation. Authorities applied the broad antiterror laws extensively with little transparency to arrest opposition political party members and individuals accused of association with the PKK or the Fethullah Gulen movement. Other human rights problems included overcrowding and substandard conditions in prisons.
European Union Reports
Turkey 2018 Report
April 2018 / (112 Pages)
The broad scale and collective nature, and the disproportionality of measures taken since the attempted coup under the state of emergency, such as widespread dismissals, arrests, and detentions, continue to raise serious concerns. Turkey should lift the state of emergency without delay. Since the introduction of the state of emergency, over 150 000 people were taken into custody, 78 000 were arrested and over 110 000 civil servants were dismissed whilst, according to the authorities, some 40 000 were reinstated of which some 3 600 by decree. Civil society came under increasing pressure, notably in the face of a large number of arrests of activists, including human rights defenders, and the recurrent use of bans of demonstrations and other types of gatherings, leading to a rapid shrinking space for fundamental rights and freedoms.
Turkey 2016 Report
November 2016 / (102 Pages)
Following the coup attempt, very extensive suspensions, dismissals, arrests and detentions took place over alleged links to the Gülen movement and involvement in the attempted coup. The measures affected the whole spectrum of society with particular impact on the judiciary, police, gendarmerie, military, civil service, local authorities, academia, teachers, lawyers, the media and the business community. Multiple institutions and private companies were shut down, their assets seized or transferred to public institutions. There has been backsliding in the past year, in particular with regard to the independence of the judiciary. The extensive changes to the structures and composition of high courts are of serious concern and are not in line with European standards Many allegations of serious violations of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and of procedural rights were reported in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt. In the wake of the post-coup measures, the EU called on the authorities to observe the highest standards in the rule of law and fundamental rights.
Turkey 2015 Report
November 2015 / (92 Pages)
There was significant backsliding in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Legislation on internal security contradicts the measures outlined in the March 2014 action plan on the prevention of violations of the ECHR by granting broad discretionary powers to the law enforcement agencies without adequate oversight. After several years of progress on freedom of expression, serious backsliding was seen over the past two years, with some level of preparation in this field. While it had been possible to discuss some sensitive and controversial issues in a free environment, ongoing and new criminal cases against journalists, writers or social media users are of considerable concern. Changes to the Internet law, which are a significant setback from European standards, increased the government’s powers to block content without a court order on an unduly wide range of grounds.
International Court of Justice Reports
Turkey: the Judicial System in Peril
June 2016 / (28 Pages)
The ICJ raises concerns at measures eroding the independence of the judiciary, prosecution, and legal profession in Turkey, with serious consequences for protection of human rights. It analyses developments in law and practice that have affected the independence of both the governing institutions of the judiciary and prosecution, and the security of tenure and independence of individual judges in practice. It urges the executive and legislative authorities to refrain from all actions and rheto¬ric contrary to the separation of powers, and emphasizes the need to protect the safety of lawyers and other human rights defenders, and to undertake a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the killing of the President of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, Tahir Elçi.
United Nations Reports
Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East
March 2018 / (29 Pages)
The present report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) provides an overview of key human rights concerns in Turkey in the period between January and December 2017, with a focus on the consequences of the state of emergency on the enjoyment of human rights. The findings of OHCHR point to a constantly deteriorating human rights situation, exacerbated by the erosion of the rule of law. OHCHR notes with concern that the emergency decrees foster impunity and lack of accountability by affording legal, administrative, criminal and financial immunity to administrative authorities acting within the framework of the decrees.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression on his mission to Turkey
June 2017 / (21 Pages)
In the aftermath of the coup attempt, the government declared a state of emergency, announced derogation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, and adopted a series of decrees, which, it averred, were meant to address the security threats that gave rise to the coup attempt. Those decrees supplemented an already dense network of anti-terrorism laws and proscriptions on expression, such as expression critical of the president and other government officials. Cumulatively, the laws preceding the coup attempt and those that followed give authorities broad and increasingly unreviewable discretion to take measures against the press, writers, universities, jurists, civil servants, human rights defenders and many others. They have established one of the worst environments for freedom of expression in Turkey in decades, if not one that is unprecedented in its modern history. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to release all those detained in recent years on the basis of their exercise of the right to freedom of expression.
Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on its mission to Turkey
July 2016 / (19 Pages)
Turkey has not come to terms with past-enforced disappearances in all relevant areas, namely truth, justice, reparation, and memory of the victims. There has been no comprehensive policy to address disappearances. Many families do not know the truth about what happened to their loved ones, there has hardly been a single case of criminal responsibility or civil liability for an act of enforced disappearance, there are no reparation programmes independent from the compensation that may be awarded by a court, nor any effective and accessible social or psychological support for families, and there is no public memorial site or symbolic place for the families — and for society as a whole — to remember the victims and pay tribute to them. This lack of measures to address disappearances results from a combination of factors: mainly the lack of clear political will in all spheres to seriously tackle the issue, combined with legal and other obstacles.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns
May 2015 / (23 Pages)
During the period under review, killings due to excessive use of force by security officers and killings of members of vulnerable groups persisted. Some measures taken by the State, including a draft law that would increase the powers of the police to use force, appear to take regressive steps. The Government of Turkey has introduced measures in an attempt to reduce domestic violence, but efforts need to be further intensified and properly implemented. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons remain particularly vulnerable to violence and lack protection, in law and in practice. The fight against impunity remains a serious challenge and the effectiveness of investigations and the length of proceedings should be addressed. The effect of the application of the statute of limitations and the lack of fully independent mechanisms for accountability further aggravate the climate of impunity.
Alliance for Shared Values
What Really Happened in Turkey on July 15, 2016?
July 2017 / (39 Pages)
The failed coup attempt provided Erdogan with an excellent excuse to consolidate his power. In addition to purging more than 6,000 members of the Turkish military, Erdogan also changed the military’s recruitment, reporting and education structures. In its wake, he reignited the idea of an executive presidency, and he secured a narrow victory in a constitutional referendum in April 2017 — despite many reported electoral irregularities — to open his path to becoming the executive president of Turkey in 2019.
The Failed Military Coup in Turkey & the Mass Purges a Civil Society Perspective
October 2016 / (25 Pages)
The actions of President Erdogan’s government in the immediate aftermath of the coup constitute a mass purge rather than a proper investigation. In addition to the officers who were accused of taking part in the coup, thousands of soldiers who did not take part in the coup, as well as tens of thousands of civilians including journalists, teachers and judges were detained and arrested within days of the attempt. Individuals and organizations sympathetic to the Hizmet movement are not the only victims of the post-coup purges. Liberal, nationalist, Kurdish, leftist and Alevi individuals and organizations have been targeted as well.
Advocates of Silenced Turkey
The Last Exit Before Illegal Legality: Snap Elections in Turkey as the Final Step on the Road to Authoritarianism
May 2018 / (16 pages)
Following months of speculation about possible early elections, on April 16, 2018, the anniversary of the controversial 2017 referendum, Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), called for early elections to be held on August 26, the national holiday. One of the main reasons for early elections is to ensure they take place before the upcoming economic depression. There are concerns that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will commit electoral fraud. Following the April 18 announcement of the decision to hold early elections, on April 24 the Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) recommended that Turkey postpone the elections.
Turkey’s New Normal: Torture and Ill-Treatment
April 2018 / (8 pages)
This report prepared by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey’s Right to Life Committee provides an overview of official reports published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the US Department’s State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. According to the Human Rights Association, the total number of human rights violations amounted to 7,907 since 2016. 2,278 victims faced torture and maltreatment while 423 of such cases took place under police detention.
Turkey Must Ensure Freedom of Religion Under Its Jurisdiction
April 2018 / (11 pages)
Especially in recent years, freedom of religion has been under attack in most countries with the rise of oppressive regimes. Turkey is also one of these states limiting religious freedoms. Different religious communities took their shares from the government’s arbitrary implementations. This paper elaborates on the different types of discriminatory practices religious groups have been facing in Turkey recently. It will be evaluated whether freedom of religion and belief is respected at the level required the internationally accepted standards. Therefore, for the purpose of this paper different statements from government officials as well as the government’s actions targeting religious groups will be mentioned below.
Türk Hükümetinin Yeni Hamlesi: Yurtdışında Bulunan Hizmet Gönüllülerinin Sahte Belge ve Gerçek Dışı İddialarla İadeleri Talebi (TÜRKÇE)
Mart 2018 / (15 sayfa)
Erdoğan hükümeti, iktidardaki varlığını 2013 yılında hakkında çıkan yolsuzluk iddialarından beri kutuplaşma ve oluşturulan kontrollü siyasi krizlerle sürdürüyor. İki yıla yakın bir süredir OHAL ile yönetilmekte olan Türkiye’de artık hukukun üstünlüğü değil, hükümet tarafından sınırsızca kullanılan “Devletin Ezici Gücü” ülkeye yön verir oldu. Adalet teşkilatının yarısının görevden alınıp binlerce hakim ve savcının terörist suçlamasıyla hapse atıldığı Türkiye’de, hükümetin istemediği yönde tek bir karar dahi almak mümkün değil.
Turkish Government’s New Strategy: Request Extradition of Hizmet Sympathizers Using Fabricated Documents And False Claims
March 2018 / (16 Pages)
It can be seen that Mr. Erdogan’s government, acting without any consideration of rules, the Turkish judiciary and other executive organs which do not raise against any of Mr. Erdogan’s political claims are ready to take any action in order to somehow extradict the people from abroad. For this reason, any future requests to be made through the Turkish government, especially regarding extraditions of lawbreakers and limitations of traveling abroad, are subject to be investigated to the maximum extent so that to prevent abuses.
Erdogan’s Tool to Take Over Hizmet Schools Illegally: The Maarif Foundation
March 2018 / (8 Pages)
The report talks mainly about the recent activities of the Turkish government putting education at risk through illegal takeovers by Turkish government sponsored Maarif Foundation. The government for a long time has been trying to “Islamize” Turkey’s education system by placing imam hatip high schools in the center of the education policies. Nearly for one and a half year, the Turkish government has also been attempting to export its policy abroad by taking over Turkish schools founded years ago around the world by participants of the Hizmet Movement. Following the excerpt from the JWF’s report which will provide background information on the case, new information acquired by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey will be provided aiming to illustrate the current situation.
Women’s and Children’s Rights are Under Attack in Turkey
January 2017 / (8 Pages)
Oppressive attitude of the Turkish government has been becoming harsher as the time goes. A process of targeting dissident groups, especially the Hizmet Movement, started in 2013 and the government became even stricter than one can expect since July 15, 2016 when the so-called attempted coup occurred. The Movement has been the main group targeted by the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is unfortunately true that vulnerable groups have suffered more than others in this process. Women and children have been affected by Erdogan’s and the government’s measures disproportionately. This paper lists below some statements taken from the most important human rights organizations working about the recent events taking place in Turkey.
Comparative Analysis of Different Countries’ Approaches Towards Turkish Asylum Seekers Linked to the Gulen Movement
December 2017 / (12 Pages)
Turkish government has been targeting dissidents from various ideologies recently. One of these opposition groups, the Gulen Movement, has been the main target since 2013. The supporters of the Movement have been dealing with different strict measures perpetrated directly by the state authorities such as arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, denial of fair trial, confiscation, passport cancellations and labeling. These asylum seekers have been receiving affirmative responses in many countries, four of which are explored in this study.
REPORT: “I CANNOT SAY WE ARE ABSOLUTELY SAFE, EVEN ABROAD
Report on the Current and Possible Threats Supporters of the Gulen Movement Face Abroad
December 2017 / (15 Pages)
Gulen Movement (also known as “Hizmet Movement,” meaning service in Turkish) has been the main target of the government, which is a faith-based group of people engaging in different voluntary activitiessuch as education, business and health. Alleged supporters of the Movement in Turkey have been dealing with arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, confiscation and passport seizure. Regrettably Turkish government’s actions against the Gulen Movement are not limited to Turkish borders but are also extraterritorial. There are many examples of abductions and physical violence incidents in several countries as well as threats by pro-government people referring to the supporters abroad.
European Court of Human Rights Should Reconsider Judicial Independence in Turkey Before Referring Cases to Domestic Authorities
November 2017 / (8 Pages)
In recent years and in particular in the aftermath of attempted coup of July 15, 2016, the Turkish government has been targeting dissidents belonging to different ideologies. Among the many dissident groups, in particular the Gulen Movement has been the primary target. The far-reaching, increasingly repressive and almost unlimited discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish authorities during the state of emergency – now in its 15th month – endanger the general principles of rule of law and human rights safeguards, the ones the state of emergency is designed to protect.
Platform for Peace and Justice
Construction of a New Regime by Decree Laws
January 2018 / (31 Pages)
In the early years of his political career, Turkish President Erdogan said that “democracy is like a train; you get off once you have reached your destination.” However, the authoritarianism of Justice and Development Party (AKP) has entered into a new phase of ideology construction and regime building. The new regime is being established making use of the state of emergency decree-laws. Under this regime, the dissents have been facing repression and persecution. This report discusses how the decree laws are destroying democracy, the rule of law and the fundamental human rights in order to establish a new authoritarian regime.
World Justice Project
World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2017–2018
January 2018 / (194 Pages)
Turkey has fallen to the 101st position out of 113 countries in the World Justice Project’s 2017-18 Rule of Law Index. There has been widespread concern that fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law in Turkey have eroded since state of emergency was announced in July 2016. Turkey was ranked in the bottom tercile in six of these eight areas. The two areas in which it achieved an average grade were absence of corruption and criminal justice. Turkey’s record on fundamental rights, too, was near the bottom of the list, in 107th position, one above China and one below Bangladesh. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression achieved particularly dismal results in this category.
Academics at Risk
The Deterioration of Higher Education: Perils of Persecuting Academicians
May 2018 / (5 Pages)
On July 23, two days after the declaration of the state of emergency, the state ordered 15 universities closed, displacing some 60,000 students and leaving 2,808 academic personnel unemployed. Since then, the state has issued nine separate decrees ordering the dismissals of higher education personnel and expulsions of students. To date, these actions have rendered jobless some 8,535 academic personnel (see chart above), as well as at least 1,349 administrative personnel.
Lawyer Rights Watch
Turkish Law is Diminishing Day by Day
May 2018 / (12 Pages)
In particular, the expulsion of lawyers and judges from their respective jobs and their prosecution is undermining faith in the legal institutions in Turkey. It is unacceptable in the framework of a modern state of rule of law to expel prosecutors and high judicial personnel from their profession without regard for their immunity or human rights on the grounds that they are connected with the Hizmet movement or have taken on the cases of individuals charged in reference to the alleged FETO/PDY.
Hak ve Adalet Platformu (Rights and Justice Platform)
Social Burdens of “the State of Emergency” in Turkey (2016-2017)
January 2018 / (240 Pages)
The research was carried out to measure and document primary, secondary and tertiary victimisations and violations of human rights in Turkey after the failed coup of 15 July 2016. After the coup, Turkey declared a state of emergency (SoE) to deal with putsch and putschists. Yet the government policies and practices far exceeded its declared aims or objectives and created hundreds of thousands of victims such as academics, teachers, journalists, doctors, workers, women, children, babies, elderly, disabled etc. that have nothing to do with the putsch.
15 Temmuz 2016 Sonrası “OHAL” de Yaşanan Toplumsal Sorunlar ve Hak İhlallerinin Sosyal Boyutları (TÜRKÇE)
Aralık 2017 / (487 Sayfa)
Bu çalışma 15 Temmuz 2016 menfur darbe girişimi ve OHAL ilanı sonrasında ortaya çıkan toplumsal ve bireysel mağduriyetler ile OHAL kapsamında yaşanan, baskı ve hak ihlallerinin sosyal boyutlarını araştırmak üzere “Hak ve Adalet Platformu” tarafından tasarlanmış ve yürütülmüş sosyal bir araştırmadır. Araştırmanın, toplumdaki tüm kesimlerin sosyal problem ve algılarını içerebilmesi için, tüm toplumsal kesimleri kapsayabilecek şekilde bir çerçeve belirlenmiştir.