The Ministry of Interior banned 94 more NGOs in 20 cities on 30 December 2016. Hence, the number of NGOs closed under state of emergency rule has exceeded 1400. 

Among the associations closed in this last operation is the Istanbul Kurdish Institute, which was founded in 1992 by prominent intellectuals such as Musa Anter, Feqî Hüseyin Sağnıç and İsmail Beşikçi to confront policies of assimilation and denial. It is one of the first Kurdish institutions to conduct research on Kurdish language, culture and literature. Also among the closed NGOs are YAKAY-DER (Association of Solidarity with Families Who Lost their Relatives), Hozat Culture Association, Ayışığı Association, Ankara and Dersim Democratic Rights Association, İzmir Socialist Youth Association, and İzmir Yenikapı Theater. Women’s organizations and lawyers’ associations that struggle for freedoms and universal human rights such as Free Women’s Congress, Association of Lawyers for Freedom, Progressive Lawyers’ Association had previously been closed down with government decrees.  

These bans imposed by the government right before the New Year show that authoritarian policies will continue to suffocate all who dare to differ in Turkey in 2017. The purpose of this total war of the government against the civil society, the media, critical intellectuals and academics, and the political opposition is to prepare for the possible referendum on the Presidential system in the spring of 2017. 

Such arbitrary repression of NGOs, which are the most fundamental piers of freedoms of association and expression, is in clear violation of universal law and basic human rights. As HDP we condemn these unlawful bans and call upon international democratic community, international NGOs in particular, to adopt a stronger and more pro-active position against these anti-democratic policies.

Hişyar Özsoy
Deputy Co-chair of HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs
Member of Parliament

6 January 2017