Turkey's Deepening Deterioration of Human Rights: From Emergency to a Perpetual Crackdown


27 January 2020, Press Club Brussels

Full event concept note (PDF)


One day prior to the UN Universal Periodic Review on Turkey, this timely event will bring together human rights experts, journalists, academics and policy-makers to assess the current human rights situation in the Turkey and propose strategic and evidence-based recommendations to different stakeholders, both at the EU and UN level. As an action plan, a set of policy recommendations will be further presented to the President of the UN Human Rights Council, Ms. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, and the Chair of European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, Ms. Maria Arena.


Keynote Speech by MEP Ms. Özlem Demirel, European Parliament, Vice-chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Speakers included:

  • Mr. Doğan Özgüden, Turkish Journalist and Publisher, Editor in chief at Info Turk & Recipient of the Ayse Zarakolu Freedom of Thought Prize


  • Ms. Sibylle Gioé, International Human Rights Lawyer, International Trial Observer for Turkish Lawyers


  • Mr. Ihsan Cibelik, Turkish Musician, Grup Yorum

Outcomes and Recommendations:

  • • The current state of affairs in Turkey is characterized by arbitrary detentions, undue process, and a judiciary that is no longer independent. While there are many other factors that exemplify unjust legal systems and political repression, the derogation of human rights in Turkey is significant.


  • • Freedom of expression, including through music has become increasingly more restricted in recent years, to the extent of which activists and musicians have been labeled as terrorists, forcing them to flee Turkey, in fear of their life. 


  • • The EU must ensure the safety of individuals who are fleeing political persecution in Turkey, as well as work vigorously to promote human rights in Turkey. The EU must identify nontraditional channels to promote human rights in Turkey and engage with actors within civil society, government institutions and civilians to improve the current situation. Without action, the current situation in Turkey reaches far beyond the borders of the country, and affects the regional and international sphere of human rights.