Once seen as a rising star and a role model for other countries in the Middle East, Turkey has taken many sharp turns towards authoritarianism since 2014. Now leading the world in the amount of jailed journalists, Turkey is recognized with unprecedented human rights violations unprecedented in its recent history. While tens of thousands of academicians, doctors, teachers, businessmen, mothers, and even babies have been suffering behind bars for absurd terrorism charges, others are fleeing the country for their freedoms. Criticizing the government, even its economic policies, is enough to get a person labeled as a “traitor” or “terrorist.”
The protection of basic human rights, such as free speech, an independent press, or the right to protest, has sharply declined in recent years. The ruling AK Party (AKP), and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are swift to incarcerate any person or group that says, or does, anything that they consider a threat to their right to rule. This persecution has even included the leaders of prominent opposition parties, such as Selahattin Demirtaş, along with the leader of the humanitarian Hizmet Movement, Fethullah Gülen.