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4th Annual Freedom Convention Turkey: A Crucial Forum for Addressing Human Rights and Democracy

In a significant move to address the growing concerns over human rights and democratic practices in Turkey, the Freedom Convention Turkey 2023 is set to bring together a diverse group of experts, scholars, and activists. Scheduled to coincide with Human Rights Day on December 10th, this convention aims to highlight and discuss the complex challenges currently facing Turkey, ranging from democratic backslide and the rule of law’s collapse to the abuse of anti-terror laws and the curtailment of freedom of expression.

Panel Discussions Focus on Critical Issues

The convention is divided into two main panels, each addressing vital aspects of the current situation in Turkey.

Panel I: “Law, Rights, and Authoritarianism” – This panel will delve into the erosion of justice and democracy in Turkey, with a specific focus on the diminishing independence of the judiciary. The panelists will critically examine the misuse of antiterror laws and the phenomenon of transnational repression, discussing their broad applications and impacts on individual rights and freedoms. This session promises to offer in-depth analyses and insights into the challenges of maintaining justice in an increasingly authoritarian landscape.

Panel II: “Turkey’s International Law Compliance: Spotlight on ECHR and UN Developments” – In the second panel, the emphasis will be on Turkey’s compliance with international law, particularly in the context of developments related to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the United Nations. The panel will explore the effectiveness and potential of ECHR mechanisms, such as the Yalcinkaya ruling, in bringing about meaningful change and protecting the rights of individuals subjected to unfair treatment.

Esteemed Speakers and Organizers

The convention features an impressive lineup of speakers, including:

  • Joyce Davis (Opinion Page Editor – PennLive, President/CEO – World Affairs Council of Harrisburg)
  • Gunal Kursun (Penal lawyer & Human rights defender)
  • Baskin Oran (Emeritus Professor)
  • Merve Kayikci (Postdoctoral Researcher, KU Leuven)
  • Hafza Girdap (Executive Director, AST; Gender Studies, Stony Brook University)

Panel II

  • Sarah Teich (Human Rights Lawyer)
  • Sinam Mohamad (Chief of Mission, US Mission of the Syrian Democratic Council)
  • Andrea Barron (​​Advocacy and Outreach Program Manager Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC))
  • Johan Heymans (Criminal Law and Human Rights Lawyer)
  • Paridhi Singh (Legal Officer, Media Freedom, TrustLaw / Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Organized by Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), the Freedom Convention Turkey 2023 stands as a testament to the collective effort to advocate for those silenced by oppressive regimes and to foster a better understanding of the multifaceted challenges facing Turkey. The convention also underscores the crucial role of international entities and collaborative efforts in addressing ongoing human rights violations.


A Call for Global Engagement

The Freedom Convention Turkey 2023 is more than just a series of discussions; it is a call for global engagement and action. By focusing on the role of international mechanisms and entities in promoting human rights and justice, the convention seeks to amplify a collective voice that can influence meaningful change in Turkey and beyond.

As the world observes Human Rights Day, the FC Turkey’23 becomes a focal point for those committed to advocating for fundamental rights and freedoms, providing a platform to strategize effective engagement with the international human rights community. This convention is a critical step in highlighting the ongoing struggles in Turkey and contributing to the global discourse on human rights and democracy.

How to watch the Convention:

The first panel 10.00-11.30 AM EST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMT2sm4KAak

The second panel: 12.00-1.30 PM EST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlixQ3jJeFc

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