Non-Governmental Organizations

Human Rights Watch | Lawyers on Trial: Abusive Prosecutions and Erosion of Fair Trial Rights in Turkey
April  2019

Since the July 2016 coup attempt, Turkey has seen mass arrests and trials on terrorism charges of thousands of people not involved in any violent act. Among them are journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition politicians tried in proceedings which rights groups have documented as politicized and unfair. While lawyers always have a critical role to play in protecting the rights of suspects in police custody and defendants in court, their role in protecting the rule of law and human rights is all the more fundamental in the context of the current crackdown in Turkey. Yet, or more likely because of that, as this report demonstrates, authorities have also targeted lawyers, in particular criminal defense lawyers.

Freedom House |  Freedom in the World 2019
January  2019

Freedom of expression has come under sustained attack, through both assaults on the press and encroachments on the speech rights of ordinary citizens. Freedom in the World data show freedom of expression declining each year over the past 13 years, with sharper drops since 2012. This year, press freedom scores fell in four out of six regions in the world.

The explosion of criminal cases for “insulting the president” in Turkey—more than 20,000 investigations and 6,000 prosecutions in 2017 alone—is one of the most glaring examples of this global trend.

Human Rights Watch |  World Report 2019
January  2019

The June 2018 election campaign took place under a state of emergency imposed after the July 2016 attempted military coup and in a climate of media censorship and repression of perceived government enemies and critics that persisted throughout the year, with many journalists as well as parliamentarians and the presidential candidate from the pro Kurdish opposition in jail.

Terrorism charges continued to be widely used. As of June, almost one-fifth (48,924) of the total prison population (246,426) had been charged with or convicted of terrorism offences, according to the Ministry of Justice. Those prosecuted and convicted included journalists, civil servants, teachers, and politicians, as well as police officers and military personnel.

CORRECTIVE |  Blak Sites Turkey 
December  2018
In a near-repeat of the CIA’s ‘extraordinary renditions’, the regime of Turkish president Erdoğan is kidnapping dozens of members of the Gülen movement from around the world. Victims are now raising a serious accusation: secret torture sites are part of the repression. A team of nine media organizations from eight countries, coordinated by CORRECTIV, investigates.

Scholars at Risk’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project  | Free to Think 2018
October, 2018

Free to Think 2018 is the fourth installment of an annual report by Scholars at Risk’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, analyzing 294 reported attacks on higher education communities in 47 countries, from September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2018.

As in past years, armed groups and individuals continue to carry out severe, violent attacks on higher education communities. These include attacks in countries experiencing extremism or conflict, where higher education communities may be targeted as perceived symbols of state authority or sources of opposition to radical ideologies. These also include targeted attacks against individual scholars or students that are intended to retaliate against or deter inquiry and expression. Over the past year, SAR reported both violent attacks on campuses in Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan, and targeted attacks on individual scholars in India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Yemen

Amnesty International  | Purged Beyond Return? No Remedy for Turkey`s Dismissed  Public Sector Workers
October, 2018

During the state of emergency, the government had the extraordinary power to issue emergency decrees with the force of law. These decrees were used to enact a wide variety of measures, affecting diverse issues from detention periods and NGO closures to snow tyre requirements. Around 130,000 public sector workers were dismissed by emergency decrees. Those dismissed include teachers, academics, doctors, police officers, media workers employed by the state broadcaster, members of the armed forces, as well as people working at all levels of local and central government. Their dismissals did not include specific evidence or details of their alleged wrongdoing. Instead, the decrees offered a generalized justification that they ‘…had links to, were part of, were connected to, or in communication with…’ proscribed groups.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Clampdown on  foreign journalists in Turkey
August, 2018


Turkey, the most notorious country in the world in terms of jailing journalists, with 237 currently behind bars, has also come after foreign reporters in an ever-escalating crackdown on freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Dozens of foreign reporters have faced administrative and legal action including false imprisonment by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which is bent on silencing all critical voices in Turkey including local, regional, national and even foreign ones.

Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC)| Trial Observation Interim Report 
June, 2018

BHRC conducted a trial observation in Turkey in May and June 2018 at the closing stages of a trial in which terrorism charges have been levelled against 11 Defendants, 10 of whom worked, or wrote opinion pieces, for Zaman newspaper, in their capacity as journalists.

The Turkish daily newspaper Zaman was previously the most widely distributed newspaper in Turkey. Until its takeover by the Government in March 2016, its editorial line was viewed as being favourable to Fethullah Gülen, an exiled Turkish citizen and preacher who now lives in the United States. He is considered by the Turkish state to be the leader of an organization known as FETÖ/PDY (“Gülenist Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure”) whom it holds responsible for the violent attempted coup. It was closed down by the national authorities soon after the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, following the declaration of a national state of emergency.

Amnesty International | Weathering the Storm: Defending human rights in Turkey`s climate of fear
April, 2018

A chilling climate of fear is sweeping across Turkish society as the Turkish government continues to use the state of emergency to shrink the space for dissenting or alternative views. Those who are defending human rights are on the front line – both as the targets of authorities’ attacks and at the heart of courageous resistance to attempts to silence all opposition.

Human Rights Watch | World Report  2018: Turkey
January, 2018

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.

Freedom House (CPJ) |  Freedom in the World 2018
January, 2018

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.

World Justice Project | Rule of Law Index 2017-2018
January, 2018

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) |  Kurdish political movement under crackdown in Turkey The case of the HDP
January, 2018

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest political party by number of seats in the Turkish Parliament, has come under increasing pressure, with the government jailing its leaders, deputies, local elected representatives and members in large numbers. The HDP, once tapped by the government as an interlocutor with leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)1 to resolve armed clashes, has become demonized and vilified.

Platform for Peace and Justice (PPJ) |  Construction of a New Regime by Decree-Laws
January, 2018

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.

Freedom House (CPJ) |  Freedom on the Net 2017
November, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) |  Tortured To Death Holding Gokhan Acikkollu`s Killers To Account 
November, 2017

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.

Human Rights Watch | In Custody: Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey
October, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) |  Abuse of the Interpol System by Turkey
September, 2017

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.


Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) |  Turkey’s Contempt for the Rule of Law
September, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | More Turks Report Anxiety, Stress and Depression Under Erdogan’s Rule
September, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | July 15: Erdogan’s Coup
July, 2017

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.

Alliance for Shared  Values (AFSV) | What Really Happened in Turkey on July 15, 2016?
July, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Enforced Disappearances in Turkey
June, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Mass Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkey
June, 2017

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.

Amnesty International | Turkey: no end in sight: purged public sector workers denied a future in Turkey
May, 2017

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”.

Amnesty International | Turkey: journalism is not a crime: crackdown on media freedom in Turkey
May, 2017

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 offenses as a result of posts they have shared on Twitter, cartoons they have drawn or opinions they expressed.

Freedom House (CPJ) |  Freedom in the World 2017
April, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Jailing Women in Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear
April, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Turkey`s Descent Into Arbitrariness: The End of Rule
April, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Suspicious Deaths and Suicides in Turkey
March, 2017

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.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) | Freedom of the Press in Turkey: Far Worse Than You Think
January, 2017

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.

Human Rights Watch | Turkey Events of 2016
January, 2017

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.

Human Rights Watch | Silencing Turkey`s Media: The Government`s Deepening Assault on Critical Journalism
December, 2016

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.

Amnesty International | Turkey: displaced and dispossessed: Sur resident`s right to return home
December, 2016

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.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) | Turkey’s crackdown propels number of journalists in jail worldwide to record high
December, 2016

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.

Human Rights Watch | A Blank Check: Turkey`s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against
October, 2016

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.

Alliance for Shared  Values (AFSV) |  The Failed Military Coup in Turkey & the Mass Purges a Civil Society Perspective
October, 2016

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.

International Court of Justice (ICJ) |  Turkey: the Judicial System in Peril
June, 2016

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.

Human Rights Watch | Turkey`s Human Rights Rollback: Recommendations for Reform
September, 2014

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.