• Urgent Action

Urgent Action: FULLY OPEN GALATASARAY SQUARE (Turkey 101.23)

November 22, 2023

On November 11, after over five years of being banned, 10 representatives of Saturday Mothers/People, a group of relatives of victims of enforced disappearances and other human rights defenders, were allowed to read a short statement in front of the Galatasaray High School near the Galatasaray Square in Istanbul, Türkiye. The square is a place of symbolic importance to the group. This positive development is welcome but still falls short of the full implementation of the Constitutional Court decisions that concluded the applicants’ rights to freedom of peaceful assembly had been violated and that the authorities should prevent the reoccurrence of the violation.

Take Action:

  • Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  • Click here to let us know the actions you took on Second Urgent Action 101.23. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

Contact Information:

Minister of Interior 

Ali Yerlikaya

T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı, Bakanlıklar

Ankara Türkiye

Email: [email protected]

 Embassy of Türkiye in the United States

Ambassador Hasan Murat Mercan

2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20008

Email: [email protected]

Sample Letter:

Dear Minister, 

I welcome your recent comments regarding the violation of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly of the Saturday Mothers/People. Following your statement, on November 11, 10 representatives of the group were able to read a brief statement in front of the Galatasaray High School and throw carnations over police barriers onto Galatasaray Square.  

After five years of being unlawfully deprived of the exercise of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Galatasaray Square, this still falls short of conclusions of the Maside Ocak (No. 2019/21721) and Gülseren Yoleri (No. 2020/7092) Constitutional Court rulings. In this ruling, the Constitutional Court ruled that the group should be allowed to hold their peaceful vigil in Galatasaray Square but despite these clear and binding court decisions, the square remains under police blockade and Saturday Mothers/People face restrictions on the number of their members being present for the vigil.

I urge you to use your authority to ensure the ongoing police blockade on Galatasaray Square is lifted without any further delay and Saturday Mothers/People and all others who wish to gather peacefully on the square are allowed to do so every week.  

Yours sincerely,