The Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project provides expertise and support to bring effective legal action to address the emerging human rights crisis in Turkey. Consisting of a group of academics, human rights lawyers, and researchers, the project supports Turkish litigators, human rights defenders and civil society organisations. A key aim of the project is to encourage the use of strategic litigation as a tool to counter the on-going trend of systemic human rights violations arising from decisions and policies adopted since the state of emergency. The project is established under the Law Faculty of Middlesex University,
Background to the Project
After the attempted coup d’état the political and legal spheres in Turkey changed dramatically. On 15 July 2016, a considerably large group within the military, claiming to be part of the outlawed Gulenist movement, attempted to take over the government. The coup attempt failed, leaving more than two hundred civilians dead and many more injured. On 20 July 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers chaired by the President declared a three month state of emergency – de facto transferring legislative power from the parliament to the executive. Emergency rule was renewed at three-month intervals and officially culminated on 18 July 2018. During this period, the Government adopted more than 30 decrees, which have had the effect of seriously limiting, and in some cases totally waiving, numerous fundamental rights and freedoms. While the state of emergency has ended, many of the legislative measures adopted have been transferred into permanent legislation, leading many to argue that serious limitations on the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey still persist.