Freedom of Speech in Turkey
Freedom of Speech in the Shadow of the Pandemic

Photography Exhibition and Panel
freedom of speech photography competition

© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

On May 26th and 27th Friedrich Naumann Foundation Turkey in cooperation with the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen held two panels and photography exhibitions under the topic “Freedom of Speech during the pandemic”. The first one was held in the Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany in Ankara and the second one in the General Consulate of Federal Republic of Germany in Istanbul. The events started with an exhibition part and were the highlight of a photography competition with the aim of showing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on human rights related issues such as freedom of speech.

Before the event, an expert jury selected the best 19 out of two hundred submitted pictures related to freedom of speech. The exhibited photographs made the effects of Covid-19 restrictions on freedom in Turkey visible and showed how the government used these restrictions in favour of promoting their ideologies according to the photographers’ comments. During the event the invited photographers had the chance to talk about their pictures, connect with professionals in the field as well as find inspirations for their career paths.

Following the exhibition, the participants went to the panel area where Udo Di Fabio gave his welcoming speech. As a former member of German Federal Court, he highlighted the importance of the rule of law and how it should play a significant role in Turkey. In the event in Ankara, Barçın Yinanç moderated a following discussion of the panelists, Bican Şahin, Mustafa Yeneroğlu and Zeynep Gürcanlı, which equally pointed out the need for a renewed focus on the rule of law in order to promote freedom in Turkey.

Journalist Nevsin Mengu moderated the panel in the General Consulate in Istanbul with the speakers Veysel Ok, Can Candan and Sebla Arcan, discussing Turkish politics and the limitations of freedom in Turkey during the Covid-19 pandemic from different perspectives. Both panel discussions showed possible solutions for dealing with the restrictions on freedom in Turkey and concluded that the young generation would be the decisive element in the hope for freedom.

The events ended with an informal networking session where the participants had the chance to exchange and discuss important human rights topics as well as to establish contacts with various human rights actors for future cooperation.

With a participation of more than 170 people, the event was a great success. We are looking forward to future shared empowerment, networking, discussions and events. We hereby thank all the participants and panelists who joint the events and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen for their generous help beforehand and throughout the process of the exhibitions and panels.