A taste of life under President Erdogan

Date, time: 9 April 20201, 10.00-11.00

Place: Zoom

What kind of human rights problems plague Turkey today? What changes may we expect in the political climate in Turkey? How may these affect human rights?


Our panelists – İdil Eser, Işıl Kurnaz, İlker Gökhan Şen – will paint a broad picture of the circumstances for freedom of speech and organization, the imprisonment and disappearances of large numbers of persons perceived as opponents of the ruling party, the repression of prominent oppositional voices like those of human rights group Saturday Mothers/People, publisher and human rights defender Osman Kavala, CHP politician Canan Kaftancıoğlu, HDP politicians Omer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, and Selahattin Demirtaş, and the decision to ban the HDP party.

The panel will also look at some important cases of corruption, and the decision to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
There will be an opportunity to ask questions to the panel towards the end of the session.
Moderated by Iver Ørstavik (Rafto Foundation for Human).


İdil Eser: Holds a Masters Degree in international affairs from Columbia University. While Director at Amnesty International Turkey, she was arrested as one of the “Istanbul 10” human rights defenders in 2017 and charged with a terrorist organization. In 2020 she was convicted in absentia to two years in prison. Her case is pending at the Court of Cassation. After 113 days of detention she has since worked to protect prisoners’ human rights and the human rights of women. She worked as a Guest Researcher at Norwegian Center for Human Rights in Oslo until March of 2020. She took a break from her research to focus on learning Norwegian.

İlker Gökhan Şen: Holds a PhD in law from the University of Zurich, research at University of Geneva, University of Humboldt Berlin-Germany. Main interests are Democracy, Constitutional Law, Human Rights and Democracy Education, Turkish law and politics. Author of “Sovereignty Referendums in International and Constitutional Law“ and several other books, Currently Visiting Researcher at Center for Law and Social Tranformation, CMI/University of Bergen

Işıl Kurnaz: Holds a Ph.D. in Public Law from Bilkent University, research on democracy, extraordinary procedures. constitutional law, international human rights law at University of Lund and Bilkent University.