President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), which have ruled Turkey since 2002, have become increasingly authoritarian in recent years, consolidating significant power through constitutional changes and by imprisoning opponents and critics. A deepening economic crisis and the upcoming elections in 2023 have given the government new incentives to suppress dissent and limit public discourse.
Freedom in the World — Turkey Country Report
Turkey is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2023, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.
Freedom on the Net — Turkey Country Report
Turkey is rated Not Free in Freedom on the Net, Freedom House's comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe.
Turkey: Transnational Repression Case Study
The Turkish state’s current campaign of transnational repression is remarkable for its intensity, its geographic reach, and the suddenness with which it escalated.
Freedom House Programs in Turkey
Turkey remains one of most challenging places in the European region to exercise one’s right to free speech and expression. In 2019, it maintained its status as the world’s worst jailer of professional journalists. Many others, including writers, civil society activists, artists, political figures, leaders from marginalized communities, digital rights activists, and everyday citizens face widespread persecution for criticizing the government. Freedom House works to strengthen respect for freedom of expression in Turkey in partnership with a local organization, the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA). These joint efforts seek to bolster the number of qualified, practicing lawyers who can defend citizens’ fundamental right to free expression, produce research and policy analysis, and raise greater awareness among the international community on the crisis facing free speech in Turkey.
Together with local partners, Freedom House’s programmatic work in Turkey aims to empower civil society to work collaboratively to protect human rights and freedoms enshrined in Turkey’s national and international obligations.
Turkey remains one of most challenging places in the European region to exercise fundamental freedoms. In this challenging environment, Freedom House seeks to empower civil society to contribute to the improvement of fundamental freedoms in Turkey and to advocate with national and international decision makers to uphold the country’s human rights commitments. This project aims to create a common ground for different civil society actors to address human rights issues in the country. Freedom House and its partners intend to respond threats to fundamental freedoms by providing litigation support, research and analysis, support for grassroots initiatives, and advocacy.
Learn more by visiting our Turkey program page.
Free Them All: A Political Prisoners Initiative
This initiative aims to document and study the cases of activists who have been imprisoned or otherwise deprived of their liberty, and to advocate for their immediate release. This includes Turkish journalist Safiye Alagaş, who was arrested on unjust charges in 2022.
Turkey: International groups condemn fifth imprisonment order against journalist Barış Pehlivan
August 10, 2023
Turkey’s Earthquake Aftermath Underscores the Value of Civil Society
July 20, 2023
More Governments Finding New Ways to Silence Exiled Voices
April 6, 2023