Back to top

İştar Gözaydın

HRD & Founder
Helsinki Citizens' Assembly

Iştar Gözaydın is one of the founders and an executive member of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, a human rights organisation that promotes fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, peace, democracy and pluralism. She was the Head of the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Arts and Science at Gediz University where she was also a professor of administrative law and politics. Her academic work includes research on freedom of religion and issues of democratisation.

Human rights defenders in Turkey have been subjected to harassment, threats, surveillance, violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly, judicial harassment including criminal prosecution, violent attacks, prolonged arbitrary detention and ill-treatment. They become target for their work on denouncing impunity for serious human rights violations, defending sexual rights, investigating on ultra-nationalist networks, advocating for labour rights or defending the right to conscientious objection.

Freedom of expression is restricted. Defamation is a criminal offence and in a number of cases politicians have sued their critics for criminal defamation. Courts and the Telecommunication authority have ordered telecommunications providers to block access to web sites. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists face numerous obstacles due to societal homophobiia and hostility from the authorities and law enforcement officials. LGBTI rights defenders are harassed by the police, which proceed to discriminatory identity checks. Those who complain against this practice have been arrested and charged of “resistance to the police”, “insult” or “harm to public order”.