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 its authoritarian nature was fully consolidated following a 2016 coup attempt that triggered a dramatic crackdown on perceived opponents of the leadership. Constitutional changes adopted in 2017 concentrated power in the hands of the president. While Erdoğan exerts tremendous power in Turkish politics, opposition victories in 2019 municipal elections demonstrated that his authority was not unlimited.
Freedom in the World — Turkey Country Report
Turkey is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2021, 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: Ahmet Altan’s Release Sets Important Precedent for Political Prisoners
April 15, 2021
Turkey: Cease Legal Attacks on HDP and Its Representatives
March 17, 2021
Başvurular için Çağrı: Türkiye’de Sivil Alanı Güçlendirme
March 15, 2021
Call for Applications: Civic Space Empowerment in Turkey
March 10, 2021
New Report: Transnational Repression Is a Growing Threat to Global Democracy
February 4, 2021
Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Internet Freedom Is Under Attack in The Middle East and North Africa
January 19, 2021