Advocating for the improvement of human rights, democracy, freedom of expression and rule of law in Turkey & beyond.
National Council on Civil Advocacy (NCCA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization established by Turkish Americans and other diverse communities. Our founders and many of our supporters are inspired by Hizmet Movement, also known as the Gulen Movement. NCCA seeks to promote and advocate for the improvement of human rights, democracy, freedom of expression and rule of law in Turkey, to help protect Turkish-Americans from transnational repression, and to help raise the significance of human rights concerns in U.S.-Turkey relations.
We work with elected officials in the United States to develop polices supporting human rights, due process, freedom of religion and press freedom in Turkey.
Our staff, community representatives and volunteers in all 50 states engage in direct advocacy with policymakers at the state and federal levels to demand policymakers protect human rights in Turkey and around the world.
In 2013, democracy took a serious blow in Turkey following a criminal investigation that involved key government officials over corruption and bribery. The cases were soon dropped and officials who took place in the investigation were dismissed. The corruption scandal involved several key people in the Turkish government and resulted in multiple resignations.
The human rights crisis in Turkey has been deepening since the disputed 2016 coup attempt. With the aim of consolidating his authoritarian rule, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has systematically undermined the fundamental pillars of Turkey’s already struggling democracy. This included constitutional amendments changing Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system and politicizing the Judiciary. Further, Erdogan has systematically persecuted tens of thousands of Turkish citizens for alleged links to the Hizmet “Gulen” Movement.
Political and civil rights in Turkey continue to deteriorate so severely under President Erdogan that according to Freedom House, Turkey is no longer a “free country” and scores the lowest among North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members. In fact, Turkey’s score is lower than Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and Haiti, which are categorized as “partly free.”
According to the State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Turkey, there are significant human rights issues including forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and killings, severe restrictions of freedom of expression and more. Since 2018 when broad anti-terror legislation was passed, the government continued to restrict fundamental freedoms and compromised the rule of law.
In its recent reports on Turkey, the European Commission cited serious backsliding in respect to democratic standards, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, which continue in Turkey in the absence of an effective checks and balances mechanism. According to Human Rights Watch, Turkish courts systematically accept fraudulent indictments and detain and convict individuals and groups the Erdogan government regards as political opponents without compelling evidence of criminal activity. Among these are journalists, opposition politicians, activists and human rights defenders.
Our mission is to work with leaders in the United States to pressure Turkish government to honor its international obligations and restore international human rights standards, promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. We seek to assist human rights and democracy defenders in Turkey to help restore pillars of democratic governance and fundamental human rights.
To reach this goal we have built broad constituencies in the United States and around the world, involving volunteers in research, education and advocacy.
We strongly believe Turkey can become a model of a democratic, free Muslim country that respects civil liberties and works towards building civil society. In order to achieve this objective, the United States must constructively engage with representatives of the Turkish community and be consistent in their public support for human rights, religious freedom and the rule of law.
President Erdogan’s actions places both the United States and NATO in peril. As he continues to seek stronger relations authoritarian states, these actions will destabilize the region and give way for both countries to engage in activities that are threats to NATO and the United States.
Democracy and democratic institutions have collapsed in Turkey. History teaches that a correlation exists between the strength of a democracy and regional security. The world needs Turkey to continue to be an island of security and stability in the region.
We are asking the U.S. administration to publicly denounce human rights violations against every group and prioritize human rights issues when dealing with Erdogan’s regime.
We are asking Congress to take bold steps to support democracy in Turkey and to not give Erdogan an out for the human rights violation he has created.
-Congress should apply pressure with existing tools to stop the persecution and apply Global Magnitski sanctions to request the release of prisoners of conscience and those who were wrongfully arrested for their connections to Hizmet Movement. We also urge Congress to pass the Turkey Human Rights Promotion Act S.2403, H.R.4546.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NCCA
A dedicated rights advocate with a service-oriented vision, Bilal Eksili has dedicated his career to diversity education, promoting peace and supporting human dignity. Prior to this position he has worked as an executive for numerous regional and national advocacy organizations. His accomplishments have been recognized on both state and federal levels. He holds a master’s degree in Linguistics and earned a second master’s degree in International Relations and Conflict Resolution.