Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

President Erdoğan announces "Human Rights Action Plan"

President Erdoğan announces

The ultimate goal of the action plan, consisting of nine articles and planned to be implemented over the next two years, is a new civilian constitution, Erdoğan says



A set of legal reforms titled the "Human Rights Action Plan," prepared by the Ministry of Justice, was announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 2 March 2021.


Noting that their ultimate goal is a "civilian constitution,” Erdoğan stated that the plan prepared to be implemented in two years includes 11 fundamental principles, nine aims, 50 objectives and 393 activities.


The 11 basic principles of the Human Rights Action Plan are listed as follows:


1- A person lives with the inalienable rights she/he has from birth. The primary purpose and duty of the state are to protect and develop these rights.


2- As the essence of all rights, human dignity is under the law’s effective protection.


3- Everyone is equal before the law, without discrimination based on language, race, color, gender, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect, and similar reasons.


4- Providing public service to everyone equally, impartially, and honestly is the main feature of all administrative activities.


5- The legislation contains clear, explicit, understandable, and predictable rules without causing hesitation, and public authorities implement these rules without compromising the principle of legal security.


6- The freedom of contract cannot be intervened in any way contrary to the principle of legal security and protection of vested rights.


7- The state protects and develops the freedom of enterprise and works within free-market rules based on competition and the social state principle.



8- Judicial and administrative functioning centers on an approach that protects, guards, and strengthens the presumption of innocence, the right not to be tarnished, and the personality principle of the crime.


9- No one can be deprived of her/his liberty because of her/his criticism or opinion expression.


10- The rule of law, protected by an independent and impartial judiciary, is strengthened in every field to guarantee rights and freedoms, and justice.


11- Anyone who claims that their rights have been violated should have effortless access to effective legal remedies. Access to justice is at the center of respect for rights and freedoms.


The nine aims of the Human Rights Action Plan are listed as follows:


1- A more robust human rights protection system.


2- Strengthening the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial.


3- Legal predictability and transparency.


4- Protection and development of freedom of expression, organization, and religion.


5- Strengthening personal freedom and security.


6- Ensuring the material and moral integrity of the person and her/his private life.


7- More effective protection of property rights.


8- Protecting fragile groups and strengthening social welfare.


9- High level administrative and social awareness on human rights.


"A stronger human rights protection system"


Noting that the plan’s first aim is "a stronger human rights protection system," Erdoğan stated that the efficiency of the individual application system to the Constitutional Court will be increased and an independent Penal Institutions Human Rights Monitoring Commission will be established.


“Providing the provision of geographic assurance to judges and prosecutors, restructuring of the promotion and inspection mechanism within the framework of objective performance criteria, the expansion of the supervision area of ​​the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), authorization to the appellate offices of overturning decisions, the introduction of a target time for appeal trials and forensic reports, and requiring that the reasoned decision be written within 30 days in the administrative judiciary were listed among the steps to be taken under the headline of "strengthening the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial."


Under the heading of “legal predictability and transparency,” among the primary steps were reducing the administration’s response time from 60 days to 30 days, opening all first instances, and appeal court decisions to the public under the personal data protection principle, and establishing specialized courts.


Highlights of the "Protection and promotion of freedom of expression, organization, and religion" title were as follows:


• Legislation and practice will be reviewed in line with the broadest guarantee of freedom of expression and the right to assembly and demonstration.


• Periods of judgment in crimes committed through the press, broadcast, and internet will be reconsidered to strengthen freedom of expression.


• Measures will be developed to facilitate the professional activities of journalists.


"Strengthening personal freedom and security"


“We made important changes in the legislation stating that detention is a protection measure and should be applied exceptionally,” Erdoğan said, listing the regulations to be made under this heading as follows:


• The scope of the catalog crimes will be narrowed, and the principle that detention is an exceptional protection measure will be strengthened by introducing the “requirement to rely on concrete evidence.”


• Regarding detention and other protection measures, a vertical objection procedure will be introduced against the criminal judgeships’ decisions of peace.


• Practices such as arresting and detaining a person outside of working hours, finding and detaining in the middle of the night at the hotel just to give a statement will be ended.


• In cases of crimes related to complaints, if the hearing is not attended without an excuse despite the invitation with annotation, an amendment will be made regarding the case’s dismissal.


Several other highlights from Erdoğan’s statements are as follows:


• The statute of limitations in disciplinary investigations regarding allegations of torture will be lifted.


• It will be obligatory to digitally record the crime scene investigation, forensic search and physical seizure.


• Efforts to protect children from digital risks, cyberbullying and internet addiction will be maximized.


• Basic human rights issues will be included more effectively in the training activities of law enforcement officers.


• For fast and accurate information, the media spokesperson in courthouses, will be made more effective.


• In order to raise awareness of human rights from an early age, curricula including these subjects in primary and secondary education will be developed.