Peaceful Assembly

The Turkish Constitution guarantees individuals the freedom of assembly and the right to hold peaceful processions and demonstrations. However, protesters have to comply with overbroad and vague provisions on public law, public health and national security. Furthermore, organisers are required to inform relevant authorities 48 hours in advance and be available during the gathering to cooperate with security forces in case of any violence. The government retains powers to arbitrarily prohibit, restrict and disband gatherings or pre-emptively arrest organisers of unsanctioned demonstrations. In reality, many gatherings are denied permission by the authorities. Turkish security forces are notorious for using unjustified and excessive force to disperse protests. The authorities have sought to prevent peaceful assemblies after the Gezi Park protests in 2013. On the 19th of June 2016, security forces fired tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disband a peaceful gay pride rally in Istanbul. However, during the failed coup of 2016, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan paradoxically encouraged protesters onto the streets to voice their opposition to the military’s attempt to overthrow his government. Subsequent rallies in his administration’s support have attracted over a million people.