Turkey is one of the original signatories of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act establishing the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which was renamed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1995. In 1999, Turkey hosted the OSCE Summit Meeting in Istanbul, during which several major international agreements were signed, including the Charter for European Security, the Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, and the revised Vienna Document (VD 99). In 2013, Turkey hosted the Annual Session of the OSCE PA in Istanbul.
In legislation, hearings, briefings, statements, and international travel, the Helsinki Commission has worked to address Turkish violations of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democratic principles that multiplied following the failed 2016 coup attempt. While highlighting the Turkish government’s right to bring coup plotters to justice, the Commission has expressed concern about Turkey’s use of overbroad national security and terrorism charges to purge or arrest tens of thousands of individuals and shutter scores of businesses, associations, and media outlets. In particular, the Commission has drawn attention to the Turkish government’s wrongful detention of American citizens and Turkish staff of U.S. consulates in the country.
Turkey has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1950 and has been a NATO ally of the United States since 1952. Ankara opened EU accession talks in 2005 but these have come to a standstill in recent years largely over EU concerns regarding the Turkish government’s violations of democratic principles and human rights.
Staff Contact: Bakhti Nishanov, senior policy advisor