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End Violations of Media Freedom; Annul Abusive Measures; Ensure Impartiality

(Istanbul) – Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), is imposing punitive and disproportionate sanctions against independent television and radio channels that broadcast commentary and news coverage critical of…
The Monitoring Center of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) where the broadcasts of more than 1780 radio and television stations are regulated.  November 9, 2020 
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(Berlin) – The following statement was issued by 11 organizations, including Human Rights Watch, following their  visit to Turkey on October 6-9, 2020 to meet with journalists, officials, and others to assess the conditions for media freedom in…
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When Pricila, a 32-year-old trans woman, fled El Salvador in February 2019, she had good reason to fear for her life. Police had beaten and sexually assaulted her, telling her they would make her a man. Gang members attempted to forcibly recruit her.…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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US Barriers to Asylum Block Path to Safety

(Washington, DC) – The governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have failed to effectively address violence and entrenched discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, leading many to seek asylum in the…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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The Trump administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would create insurmountable barriers to the vast majority of asylum claims, including by gutting the definition of refugee to the point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and…
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(Athens, March 17, 2020) – Greek security forces and plain-clothed men at Turkey’s land border have detained, assaulted, robbed and stripped asylum seekers and migrants before forcing them back to Turkey without letting them seek protection in Greece. The…
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Proposed Secure and Protect Act Attempts to Block Asylum Claims

If you follow the twisted logic of Senator Lindsey Graham’s Secure and Protect Act to its ultimate conclusion, the US would all but shut its doors to Central American refugees – full stop. A vote on the bill in the US Senate Committee…
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End Summary Returns, Unchecked Violence

(Athens) – Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The officers in some cases use violence and often…
Migrants that crossed the land border between Greece and Turkey are seen at the Pre-Removal Detention Center in the village of Fylakio, Northern Greece, February 24, 2017.
News

Prosecutor Widens Unjustified Probe of Osman Kavala

Update: Of the 13 people detained on November 16, 12 were released but are banned from overseas travel. An Istanbul court ruled that Yiğit Aksakoğlu, who has worked for many years in the field of human rights, including at…
Istanbul police detained 13 academics and individuals working for nongovernmental group Anadolu Kültür, November 16, 2018.
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Students on Trial Despite Right to Free Speech

(Berlin) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has chosen to drop a complaint against four Ankara students he accused of “insulting the president” for holding up a satirical banner, Human Rights Watch said today. The students’ trial is due to…
The graduation ceremony at Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara, July 6. 2018. The banner carried by students accused of insulting Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is among the hundreds laid out at the ceremony.
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Free Journalists, Rights Defenders, Politicians Jailed in Turkey

Given the present state of human rights in Turkey, the German government has come in for criticism over the elaborate plans for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey’s upcoming visit on September 28 and 29, including a state banquet…
From left to right: Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak
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Draft Law Permits Purging Judges; Prolonged Detention; Curbing Movement, Assembly

(Istanbul)—A draft law being rushed through Turkey’s parliament will preserve many of the abusive powers granted to the president and executive under the country’s recent state of emergency, which formally ended on July 18, 2018, Human Rights Watch…
The human rights monument in Ankara cordoned off with a police barricade during Turkey’s state of emergency to prevent its use as a site of public assembly and protest, 2017.
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New Arrivals Deported, Coerced Back to Syria

(Istanbul) – Turkish authorities in Istanbul and nine provinces on or near the Syrian border have stopped registering all but a handful of recently arrived Syrian asylum seekers. The suspension is leading to unlawful deportations, coerced returns…
Two Syrians walk along a fence near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey on November 30, 2016.
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Dire Conditions for Thousands Fleeing Fighting

(Beirut) – Jordanian and Israeli authorities should allow Syrians fleeing fighting in Daraa governorate to claim asylum and protect them, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 16, 2018, the Syrian-Russian military alliance opened an…
An Internally displaced girl from Daraa province carries a stuffed toy and holds the hand of child near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra, Syria June 29, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir
News

Gangs Threaten Children, Parents

Maria* and Carlos* never wanted to leave Honduras with their three children, they told me. But then gangs began threatening Carlos and their 13-year-old son Eddy*. The family moved houses, but one evening masked men came to their little…
A Honduran mother and her 3-year-old daughter wait with fellow asylum seekers on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge after being denied entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near Brownsville, Texas, U.S., June
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Jailed Amnesty Turkey Chair, 10 Other Activists Face Unfounded Charges

(Istanbul) – Sham criminal proceedings against Amnesty International Turkey’s honorary chair Taner Kılıç and 10 other human rights defenders are set to resume on June 21, 2018, Human Rights Watch said. The rights…
Taner Kilic, head of Amnesty International Turkey, speaks at a conference.
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Harsh Sentences for Cumhuriyet Staff in Politically Motivated Case

(Berlin) – The 14 journalists, staff, and board members of the Turkish- daily newspaper Cumhuriyet sentenced to prison on April 25, are being punished for doing their jobs, Human Rights Watch said today. “The convictions of Cumhuriyet…
Press freedom activists read opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet during a demonstration in solidarity with the jailed members of the newspaper outside a courthouse, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 28, 2017.
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Detention, Prosecutions Over Criticisms of Turkish Army Actions in Syria

(Berlin) – Turkish authorities have detained and prosecuted large numbers of people in recent weeks over social media posts criticizing Turkey’s military operation in the northwest Syrian district of Afrin, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Nurcan Baysal, journalist; Ali Erol, LGBT activist; Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, medical doctor;  Kutay  Meriç, executive member of rights group "Halkevleri" (from upper left corner clockwise)
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Sentences for Journalists, Writers Emblematic of Media Crackdown

(Berlin) — Three Turkish journalists were convicted on February 16, 2018 on bogus charges related to the failed coup of 2016 and sentenced to life in prison, Human Rights Watch said today. They are the first journalists convicted of involvement in…
Writers and journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, and Nazli Ilicak
News

State of Emergency Prolonged as Presidential Powers Increase

(Istanbul) – Turkey increased restrictions on the media, political opposition, and human rights defenders during 2017, on the back of a very narrow referendum, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018. Turkey also introduced a…
A demonstration outside a courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey in solidarity with the staff of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet on trial over alleged support to terrorist groups, July 24, 2017.