Turkey: Protection from Afar

How to Support People in Turkey and Visitors to Turkey in Cases of Persecution and Arbitrary Arrest

(02.09.2020) Since 2016, the Turkish government has placed more than 220,000 people under investigation. Many have been arrested and sentenced to imprisonment, accused of supporting terrorism or the Gülen movement which has been deemed responsible for the July 2016 attempted coup. Very often, these charges would not stand up to the rules of jurisprudence in a democratic state. Human rights defenders speak of arbitrary persecution of anyone who is critical of the current President and its administration.

This booklet aims to provide insights and advice about how supporters could respond in cases of persecution and/or threats to the safety and security of human rights defenders, or of people whose only “crime” might have been a critical comment on the social media. The vulnerability of the latter is particularly high because – unlike activists – they did not prepare for such an emergency. They and their families are taken by surprise and often struggle to figure out what to do.

Protective accompaniment from afar means providing protection without being physically present in the country.

It looks at what local people can do – particularly activists or friends of the persecuted. And it looks at what international supporters can do to help them secure the safety of those seeking to peacefully exercise their democratic rights.

Available: order the printed version, download pdf-file or eBook

Table of Contents



The concept of Protection from Afar

Legal provisions in regard to criminal investigation, arrests and court cases

Overarching issues when organizing protection

The role and strategies of local grassroots‘ support groups and networks

The role and strategies of international grassroots‘ support groups and networks

The role and strategies of governmental support


Helpful resources

About the WRI Working Group

Edited by Working Group Stop the Cycle of Violence in Turkey: War Resisters International, International Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria, Connection e.V., Federation for Social defence together with partners in Turkey, September 2020, 32 pages A4, Hintergrund- und Diskussionspapier (Background and Discussion Paper) of the Federation of Social Defence, No. 69, ISSN 1439-2011, 4,00 € (plus shipping).

Keywords:    ⇒ Action Material   ⇒ Civil Society   ⇒ English Material   ⇒ Europe   ⇒ International   ⇒ Prosecution   ⇒ Publications   ⇒ Turkey