Global Challenges

Breakfast forum

The Turkey Purge

What challenges are raised in Turkey, particularly after the 2016 coup attempt, and how can human rights advocates continue to work in such a repressive environment?

Selahattin Sönmez.

Idil Eser (Amnesty International), Kaja Nordby (previous intern to the Norwegian embassy in Turkey) and Siri Gloppen (UiB/CMI) will discuss the democratic challenges in Turkey and how they relate to judicial independence and human rights defenders.

A decade ago, Turkey’s now-paramount leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held promise as a potential beacon of democracy for a region rife with religious conflict. He sought to secure a place for his country in the European Union and presented himself as a moderate and modernizing Muslim leader for the post-9/11 age. Since then, Erdogan has declared that «for us, democracy is a means to an end».

Today, judicial independence is severely weakened in Turkey and thousands of new, loyalist judges have been appointed in recent years. Over the past few weeks, the previous leader of the independent judge association, Murat Arslan, was sentenced to ten years in prison for alleged membership of a terrorist organisation. The government has also cracked down on NGOs, shutting down at least 1,500 foundations.

In July 2017, ten human rights defenders were all charged with «membership of a terrorist organisation» and a Turkish prosecutor filed an indictment calling for jail terms of up to 15 years for all of them. Those arrested included Amnesty International’s Turkey director, Idil Eser.

Coffee/tea and croissants will be served.

Free and open to all!