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MRG stands in solidarity with Nurcan Kaya following her wrongful conviction in Turkey

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Minority Rights Group (MRG) condemns the recent conviction by Turkish courts against human rights activist and writer Nurcan Kaya. It is a clear attempt to intimidate and silence human rights work in Turkey through a false prosecution.

Nurcan was charged with ‘making propaganda for terrorist organizations’ for 19 posts which she published on Twitter and Facebook from 2014 onward. The social media posts mentioned Turkey’s military operation in Syria and mostly criticized state violence and human rights violations; the posts did not promote any violence.

On 27 September 2021, she was convicted and sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison. Even though the court deferred the sentence on condition that she is on probation for five years, her lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar said that they would appeal to the Higher Court and then to the Constitutional Court.

MRG believes the suspension of the sentence is a strategic move to silence human rights defenders in Turkey. It signals an attempt to instill fear, preventing Nurcan and other activists from speaking out and holding the Turkish authorities to account.

Not long ago, Turkey had taken great steps forward in respecting and supporting human rights values. However, recent years have seen pressure on human rights defenders and minorities increase considerably. Nurcan’s conviction is yet another example that is deeply concerning for human rights activists and civil society widely.

MRG stands in solidarity with Nurcan as she continues to be under threat in Turkey. We call on the Turkish authorities to reverse this wrongful decision and respect freedom of speech and expression.

Photo: Nurcan Kaya (right) with her lawyer Veysel Ok during her trial, September 2021.

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