This report has been written in response to recent events in Turkey — the attempted coup of July 15, 2016 and the extraordinary purges that are continuing in its aftermath. With the current government crackdown on the media in Turkey, it is difficult to extract an objective account of events on the night of the failed coup and establish responsibility for them. For that reason, here we examine the Turkish government’s official account of events and some of the difficulties with it. We also present a number of alternative conclusions about events from academics and experts from across the political spectrum. We document the alarming rise in wholesale human rights abuses for which the failed coup appears to be a pretext. We then show how the Turkish government or its supporters are also instigating similar abuses within the borders of Europe.

In the hope that the reader will be able to form an educated and objective opinion about the current state of affairs in Turkey and its effects beyond Turkey’s borders, we have provided plentiful references to supporting evidence in the form of newspaper articles and reports from official bodies or human rights organisations. At the time of going to press all the links given in the footnotes were available. However, given the Turkish government’s determined attack on freedom of expression, it is possible that those links which are based on servers in Turkey will not remain available for very long.

The report was initiated by the Alliance for Shared Values in the United States and the Dialogue Platform in Brussels. Scholars from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Holland have contributed to the text.