Closure cases against associations are becoming a new method to hinder the critical work of civil society in Turkey, particularly in relation to women’s and LGBTQIA+ rights and the Kurdish issue. They are part of an oppressive system put in place in recent years, by which the authorities aim to silence critics, concludes a new report published by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) and its partners. They can lead to the associations’ closure and the harassment of their members.
In Turkey, closure cases against associations are used to target individual organisations while exerting a chilling effect over civil society. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT), Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği – IHD) and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (Türkiye İnsan Hakları Vakfı – HRFT) released a report documenting this practice and its adverse impact on civil society organisations and the communities they support. The report is released on the eve of the sixth hearing in the closure case against the We Will Stop Femicides Platform (Kadın Cinayetlerini Durduracağız Platformu – KCDP) before the Istanbul 13. Civil Court of First Instance on September 13, 2023, a case thoroughly documented in the report.
The report, titled “Uncertain and Eerie”: Closure Cases Against Associations in Turkey, reveals a pattern of systematic use of such cases as a tool to crack down on civil society and narrow civic space. It demonstrates that the drastic measure of involuntary dissolution of associations, which the cases can lead to, is abused by the authorities to silence and sanction associations in retaliation for their work.