ARTICLE 19 Joint Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Turkey

For consideration at the 21st session of the UN working group in January/February 2015

14 June 2014

 1. ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, English PEN, Freedom House, P24 and PEN International welcome the opportunity to contribute to the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of Turkey. This submission focuses on Turkey’s compliance with its international human rights obligations with respect to freedom of expression.

Executive Summary

 2. In 2010, the Turkish government accepted eight recommendations on the steps necessary to bring its national legislation and practice in line with international freedom of expression obligations. Regrettably the government has made inadequate efforts to implement these recommendations, and the situation for freedom of expression has worsened in Turkey.

3. During the period under review, Turkey adopted a series of judicial reform packages that aimed to harmonise domestic laws with EU norms. However, the reforms fell short of fully implementing the recommendations Turkey accepted in the first cycle of the UPR.

4. This submission examines the following five key freedom of expression issues:

  • Legislative restrictions to freedom of expression;
  • The misuse of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and organised crime provisions within the Turkish Penal Code (TCK);
  • Attacks on freedom of expression and freedom of press, including political interference in media;
  • New restrictions on freedom of expression, including the National Intelligence Agency Law (No. 6532)
  • Increasing restrictions on freedom of expression online.

You can download our full submission here.