President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ruled Turkey since 2002. After initially passing some liberalizing reforms, the AKP government showed growing contempt for political rights and civil liberties and has pursued a wide-ranging crackdown on critics and opponents since 2016. Constitutional changes in 2017 concentrated power in the hands of the president, removing key checks and balances. While Erdoğan continues to dominate Turkish politics, a deepening economic crisis and opportunities to further consolidate political power 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 2022, 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.
Turkey: Detention of Saturday Mothers Represents Arbitrary, Unlawful Crackdown on Peaceful Dissent
June 27, 2022
Transnational Repression Threatens Freedom Worldwide
Turkey’s Gezi Trial Verdict a Travesty of Justice
April 26, 2022
Turkey: Authorities Abdicate Responsibility, Deny Justice in Khashoggi Case
April 8, 2022
Turkey: Call for Proposals for Policy Brief Series
July 7, 2021