More Action Needed! - Hundreds Of NGOs Permanently Closed (Turkey: UA 258/16)

Urgent Action
November 23, 2016
375 registered associations and NGOs were permanently closed and their assets seized following an executive decree No. 677 issued on 22 November. NGOs whose activities had been suspended on 11 November are among those who appear on the list of closed organizations. Even under the state of emergency, this closure cannot be justified.
On 22 November, 375 registered associations and NGOs were permanently closed following an executive decree No. 677. Article 3 of the executive decree states that: ‘Associations listed linked to terrorist organizations or that the National Security Council has established they belong to, cohere with or are linked to structures, formations or groups that are acting against national security, are closed. All assets of the associations are considered to have been transferred to the Treasury free of charge, including the deeds for any premises, without any restrictions.’ The decree includes the full list of NGOs permanently closed, including dozens of national and local human rights organizations, women’s rights organizations, local cultural associations, associations providing support to people living in poverty, students and business associations and even sports clubs.
Among the NGOs affected by the executive decree are many whose activities were previously suspended by the Ministry of Interior on 11 November, including Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD), whose members have represented victims of torture and other ill-treatment, Mesopotamia Lawyers Association (MHD) representing communities affected by curfews in south eastern Turkey, Van Women’s Association (VAKAD), which provides services to women fleeing domestic violence and Turkey’s leading children’s rights organization Agenda: Child Association (Gündem Çocuk). Sarmaşık Association, which provides food aid and education services to 32,000 people in Diyarbakır, in southeast Turkey, including people forcibly displaced by the state, has also been closed. The suspensions and now the closures have occurred without individualized reasoning or the possibility of appeal or judicial remedy.
These sweeping suspensions and closures of NGOs are disproportionate and cannot be justified even under the state of emergency, and are in violation of the rights to freedom of expression and association, guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a party.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Calling on the authorities to revoke executive decree No. 677 and immediately reverse the decision to close and seize the assets of the 375 registered associations and NGOs;
  • Urging them to halt any further suspension or closure of associations and NGOs, and ensure effective remedies are provided to challenge the legality of derogating measures under the state of emergency;
  • Urging them to stop the crackdown on the right to freedom of expression and association.

Contact these two officials by 4 January, 2017:

Minister of Interior
Mr Süleyman Soylu
İçişleri Bakanlığı
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 418 17 95
Fax: +90 312 425 85 09
Salutation: Dear Minister
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
PDF version: 
Word version: