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We produce information to uncover the truth about systematic and widespread grave human rights violations of the past and present. We try to support survivors in their pursuit of justice, and nurture a pluralist and multi-layered collective memory. We provide grants and capacity support to human rights defenders and organizations, and work to strengthen solidarity practices within rights based organisations. 


When the Center was founded in 2011, our initial focus was on "enforced disappearances," a grave human rights violation that could shed light on a broader context of such violations. To understand how to expose and confront state violence, which lies at the core of enforced disappearances, we adopted a transitional justice approach as a framework. 

In the subsequent years, we conducted fieldwork-based documentation to uncover hidden truths surrounding enforced disappearances in Turkey, creating a comprehensive database of such cases. In the legal realm, we monitored trials related to this crime and conducted legal researchand analysis to address the impunity of responsible state officials. To raise public awareness, we communicated the data and information through digital communication tools, data visualization, and collaborations with creative disciplines for campaigns. 

Due to the shrinking of civil space in recent years, we have inevitably reshaped and continue to reshape the direction and scope of our activities, which were previously carried out in a more open and politically free environment. As Turkey underwent a rapid authoritarian shift following the breakdown of the peace process in 2015, we made certain changes to our areas of work. To respond to the urgency of these political developments, Hafıza Merkezi expanded its focus to encompass ongoing and current violations in selected areas. We also intensified our efforts to build collaborations and alliances. Consequently, in addition to defending human rights organizations and defenders, we now monitor and report on more recent violations of the right to life and the shrinking of civil space, while also providing grants and capacity building support for rights-based organizations. 

Our Activities 

At Hafıza Merkezi, we: 

  • Conduct documentation on past and recent human rights violations and disseminate the data and knowledge we produce to a broader range of society. 
  • Create archives and databases for the use of diverse sectors of society. 
  • Monitor trials of perpetrators of crimes against humanity, analyze them to address impunity of state officials. 
  • Monitor trials of human rights defenders and engage in solidarity and campaign activities against the criminalization of defenders. 
  • Support the work of rights-based non-governmental organizations, contributing to strengthening their institutional capacities, internal communication, and cooperation. 
  • Engage in communication activities to shed light on the truth, as well as the causes and consequences behind systematic and prevalent human rights violations. 
  • Establish relationships and collaborations with creative sectors based on the data we collect through monitoring and documentation, and develop new projects as a result of these collaborations. 
  • Work with young people to create a new space for learning, discussing, and creating that contributes to a culture of human rights and "Never Again." 
  • Share global experiences on peace, transitional justice, and the struggle for human rights in different parts of the world, fostering public discussions and exchanges in Turkey and abroad.