Duvar English

Some 82.1 percent of Turks believe that people’s fundamental rights and freedoms are being violated in the country, according to a recent survey named “Human Rights Perception Research.” Some 58 percent of people who believe so have said these violations take place “sometimes,” whereas 42 percent have said these violations take place “often.”

The survey, which was conducted face to face with 2,651 people in Turkey’s 28 provinces between Oct. 3 and Nov. 3, is a joint work of the Turkish branch of the human rights watchdog Amnesty International and the research group of MetroPoll Strategic and Social Research Center.

The survey has also asked if the interviewees believe people’s fundamental rights and freedoms are being “restricted” in Turkey, to which 62.6 percent of them said “Yes.” When this answer was analyzed based on the age of the interviewees, this figure went up to 72 percent for the young interviewees.

‘People cannot enjoy their rights equally’

Some 80 percent of the interviewees believe that everyone is equal before the law in Turkey; but 54.4 percent of the interviewees have said that when it comes to implementation, people cannot enjoy these rights equally. Only 37.3 of the interviewees have said they believe people enjoy their rights equally.

Some 53.3 percent of the interviewees have said people’s fundamental human rights are secured by the laws in Turkey, whereas 37.9 percent have said they do not agree with this statement.

More than half of the interviewees do not think people can express their opinions freely

Some 43.8 percent of the interviewees have said they cannot express their opinions freely when they are around other people; while 43.4 percent of the interviewees said they cannot express their opinions freely on social media platforms.

Asked with the question of “Do you believe people in Turkey can express their opinions freely?” some 52.4 percent of the interviewees have said “No,” while 37.7 percent have said “Yes.”

82.6 percent of the interviewees believe lengthy trials violate human rights

Almost all of the interviewees have said that they believe human rights should be the determining factor in every area of social life, whereas 82.6 percent have said lengthy trials in Turkey violate human rights.

Police violence and tear gas use is not supported

The survey also asked the participants their ideas about demonstrations and marches in the country. Some 75.3 percent of the interviewees said they agree with the statement of “People can hold peaceful protests and marches regarding issues they want.” Some 71.8 percent of the interviewees have said they “object to police use of violence and tear gas in peaceful demonstrations conducted by people who have different opinions than themselves.”

Some 75 percent of the interviewees have said they do not agree with the statement of “the police have the right to hit a citizen.” This figure did not change even when the question was asked in reference to a criminal. So, 75 percent of the interviewees have said they do not agree with the statement of “The police have the right to inflict violence on criminals they detain.”

People whose rights have been violated first go to police

The survey also asked the interviewees whom they initially consult, should their rights be violated. Some 37.6 percent of the interviewees have said they consult the police first, whereas 28.9 percent of the interviewees have said they consult the court first. Some 7.4 percent of the interviewees on the other hand said they consult their family or friends initially.

Among the graduates of a master’s degree of a doctoral program on the other hand, social media is the initial place to be consulted, according to the survey results. Some 28.8 percent of master’s/doctoral program graduates apply to social media initially when their rights are violated.

The survey also asked people to list the first three issues they think of when they hear the term “human rights.” “Right to live” was the most given response, followed by “freedom of expression” and “right to a fair trial.”

The survey results have revealed that a majority of the interviewees care about human rights, but in reality, they have not so far taken much of an action in terms of defending other people’s rights. Asked with the question of “Have you ever participated in a campaign, protest or activity to defend other people’s rights?” 71.9 percent said “No.” Only 18.3 percent of the interviewees have said they have participated in such a protest.

Some 77.8 percent of the interviewees said they have not ever participated in a campaign or activity initiated by civil society. Only 10.8 percent of them said they have supported such a campaign in the last one year, whereas 8.4 percent of them said they have participated in civil-society initiated campaigns more than once in the last year. Also, 84 percent of the interviewees have said there is no organization to which they make a donation on a regular basis.

Some 45.2 percent of the interviewees are optimistic about the protection and progress of human rights in Turkey. Some 41.7 percent of them on the other hand are pessimistic regarding this issue.

When faced with the statement of “Women, like men, have the right to work,” some 43 percent of the interviewees have said they “strongly agree” with this expression, while 39.5 percent of them have said they “agree” with this statement. Some 4.4 percent of the interviewees on the other hand said they “strongly disagree” with this statement.