Freedom House is participating in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (OSCE-HDIM), an annual conference for reviewing the human rights commitments of the OSCE's 57 Participating States. Freedom House and its partner organizations will make interventions on topics relating to fundamental freedoms.
Many observers have compared the recent Turkish antigovernment protests to those in Russia in late 2011 and early 2012. In both cases, the social unrest followed a serious decline in civil liberties and political freedoms under increasingly imperious national leaders, prompting some to warn of the “Putinization” of Turkey.
Freedom House is dismayed by the announcement that Turkish prosecutors would seek the arrest of organizers of Taksim Solidarity, a leader of the Gezi Park protests, for “founding a criminal organization” with the intention of inciting violence. The charges appeared to be another move to punish peaceful protest in Turkey. Although a court has rejected the initial charges, the prosecutors may raise them again at their discretion, which constitutes a clear threat to freedom of speech and assembly.
A majority of Americans see democracy in the U.S. as weak and getting weaker, according to a national survey released by The Democracy Project, a joint initiative of Freedom House, the George W. Bush Institute, and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
The victory of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the June 2018 elections has cemented the long-term trend of democratic decline and authoritarian consolidation in Turkey. This consolidation has coincided with, and contributed to, a sharp divergence from Turkey’s traditional strategic alignment with the United States. This brief provides an overview of recent developments and looks at how U.S. foreign policy should respond to the “New Turkey.”
Turkey’s government is improperly using its leverage over media to limit public debate about government actions and punish journalists and media owners who dispute government claims, deepening the country’s political and social polarization.
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