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.
At Hafıza Merkezi, we: