The Freedom Convention Turkey 2023 will shed light on critical issues that have garnered international attention in Turkey addressing the democratic backslide, collapse of the rule of law, abuse of anti-terror laws, ramifications of restricted freedom of expression and multifold dwindling human rights.
The unforgettable AST (Advocates of Silenced Turkey) Human Rights Festival, which took place in Greenview Park in New Jersey, emphasized justice and awareness by taking a stand against the injustices in Turkey. The event held amidst the greenery drew attention to human rights violations on a warm summer day.
The Origins of the Problem
Turkey’s pursuit of alignment with the principles of the European Union has been marred by the government’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies, particularly since 2011. Regrettably, the country has witnessed a rapid decline, distancing itself further from the realm of modern democracy. Since 2014, Turkey’s Freedom Index score has plummeted due to a series of escalating assaults on press freedom, social media users, protesters, political parties, the judiciary, and the electoral system. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sought to establish personalized control over the state and society within a deteriorating domestic and regional security environment.
When the Turkish President declared in an infamous speech that “Old Turkey no longer exists. This Turkey is new Turkey”, the story of Turkish authoritarianism had once and for all taken on a new character. Since July of 2016, the Turkish government has improperly imprisoned 160,000+ homemakers, teachers, NGO workers, academics, judges, prosecutors and journalists.
Since the failed coup attempt in 2016, Turkish government has been carrying out profound human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people – from arbitrary deprivation of the right to work and to freedom of movement, to torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions and infringements of the rights to freedom of association and expression.
AST, deeply concerned about Turkey’s government’s disregard of human rights, has been organizing The Freedom Convention since 2020. Remarking on the international covenants, of which Turkey is a state party, this year the convention will address the arbitrary deprivation of civil and political rights and crack down on freedom of expression in Turkey.
Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) prepares reports to record and document crimes against human dignity, such as torture and ill-treatment, which have become systematic in Turkey. The report in your hand is the second part of the study, which was prepared in order to register those who were involved in this crime, their instigators, those who encouraged the crime by praising it, and those who protected the torturer public officials by abuse of power. The report aims to be a record so that torturers will one day be held to an independent legal account.
You are Cordially invited
As Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), we are thrilled to announce “The International Solidarity Day for Human Rights” that will be held on June 5, 2022.
This special event aims to draw attention to human rights violations in various parts of the world, particularly in Turkey, and amplify the silent scream of the victims to reach a wider public recognition.
We cordially invite you to this significant forum that will be held at Baymont by Wyndham Hotel, Wayne, NJ on June 5, 2022 at 5pm – 8:30pm.
Turkey, which was once touted as a model country, has now become a case study of what can happen to a country that moves away from the rule of law and human rights. The painful cries of people groaning at the face of oppression, cruelty and injustice are rising all over Turkey, and what’s worse is that the society in general is blind and deaf to these grievances. While Turkey’s once-faulty democratic regime is rapidly evolving into a one-man dictatorship, economic and social indicators show that the country is precipitating into a ditch.
RE: AST URGES TURKISH AUTHORITIES TO RELEASE AHMET ÖZKAN and ALL THE ELDERLY and SEVERELY SICK INMATES IN TURKEY’S PRISONS.
Ahmet Zeki Özkan, a 65-year-old stage 4 cancer patient, has been arbitrarily imprisoned despite the medical reports stressing the severity of his condition.
Ahmet Zeki Özkan was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison for his alleged ties with the Gülen Movement and taken to Antalya L-Type Prison, after the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Özkan had to stay in the quarantine cell for a week and because there was no bed he had to lie down on the floor. He caught the flu there.
ON THE OCCASION OF NUSRET MUGLA’S TRAGIC DEATH AST BRINGS THE URGENT SITUATION OF ELDERLY AND SERIOUSLY ILL PRISONERS TO ATTENTION AND URGES THE GOVERNMENT OF TURKEY TO RELEASE THEM EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
84-year-old Nusret Sağlam died on February 14 due to COVID-19 he contracted in prison where he was held captive on the grounds of having an account at Bank Asya – one of the hundreds of companies shut down following the July coup attempt in 2016. States are obliged to protect the right to life of those deprived of their liberty and to ensure that they can benefit from health services at least as much as free individuals. The death of Sağlam, who struggled in the severely adverse conditions of prison despite his old age, is no different from a murder due to the reckless neglect of a most basic human right.