Under suffocating climate created by Turkish gov’t Ankara University Human Rights Center closed

Turkish law professor, human rights and free speech activist Kerem Altıparmak has declared that Human Rights Center at Faculty of Political Sciences (SBF) of Ankara University has been closed.

As a faculty member Altıparmak, who was serving at the center, announced the closure on his Twitter account. “SBF Human Rights Center, which served for 40 years and was the honor of the academy of Turkey, has been closed. We have removed its sign with our own hands. Of course, our struggle for human rights has not ended, we will always advocate what is right!”

According a report by Bianet, 23 of the 95 academics, who were discharged from Ankara University through a statutory decree issued on February 23, 2017, were from the Faculty of Political Sciences.

Ever since a controversial coup attempt in July 15, 2016 the scaring tendency of detention and prosecution of people voicing criticism of the Turkish government and working to protect human rights have increased dramatically.

According to observers, the people carrying out these activities are lawfully exercising their civil and political rights, and the Turkish authorities are failing to present evidence that such expression poses a risk to national security amounting to terrorism.

Recently United Nations’ experts highlighted a number of cases of concern, including the detention of Amnesty Turkey chair Taner Kılıç, the arrest of 10 human rights defenders in July on Büyükada Island, the detention of 14 lawyers from the People’s Law Office, and the recent arrest and charging of leading businessman and civil society activist Osman Kavala.

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