The right to peaceful assembly in Turkey: the Oya Ataman case


On 22 April 2000, Oya Ataman took to Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul, in protest against prison conditions in Turkey.  Despite posing no threat to public order, Turkish authorities subjected Oya and several of her colleagues to arbitrary arrest and repelled them with pepper spray, a nerve agent capable of causing respiratory problems, nausea, vomiting and spasms.

In December 2006, The European Court found a violation of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, protecting the right to peaceful assembly.

Country situation

Freedom to protest in Turkey is still curtailed by restrictive law and practice. There are effective bans on of assemblies of selected groups, as well as a retaliatory use of tear gas and the unjustified prosecution of participants.

EIN Activities

A presentation on the ongoing situation was made in an EIN briefing to Committee of Ministers representatives in Februay 2019. It was given by EIN Chair, Professor Basak Cali.

Useful links to the Oya Ataman group v Turkey (Application No 74552/01):