Co-Author

Stephanie Leysen

Stéphanie Leysen holds a LLM in International and European Law from the University of Antwerp and a Master's degree in Human Rights Law with International Conflict & Security from Kent University. She is passionate about human rights, migration and environmental issues and has worked on these topics at different international organisations. Stéphanie is fluent in Dutch, English and French.

Co-Author

Ebubekir ISIK

Ebubekir ISIK is a Senior Policy Analyst at Vocal Europe. He works on EU Foreign Policy and EU Enlargement Politics.


It has been fourteen years since the negotiations on Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU) were formally opened and the process has been bumpy to say the least. Whereas the European leaders were hopeful on the accession proceedings and praised then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a democratic reformer back in the early 2000s, diplomatic relations between Turkey and the EU have steadily eroded, especially since the heavy crackdown following a failed coup attempt in 2016.

The two-year state of emergency that followed the attempted coup was characterised by drastic measures. Emergency decrees resulted in mass arrests and dismissals of journalists, academics and other civil society representatives, as well as the shut down of large numbers of media institutions and NGOs. The vaguely formulated anti-terrorism laws that formed the basis of the measures enabled the government to target a wide range of individuals and eventually proved to be an effective tool to silence dissenting voices in Turkey. With thousands of dismissed professionals who cannot exercise their profession anymore, Turkish society in fact loses a powerful force that could contribute to democracy in the country.

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