About Howard Eissenstat

Howard Eissenstat is an Assistant Professor of History at St. Lawrence University, in Canton, NY as well as serving as a Country Specialist on Turkey for Amnesty International USA. He earned his doctorate in Modern Middle Eastern History from UCLA in 2007. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Eissenstat writes frequently on contemporary Turkish politics, foreign policy, and human rights issues. He can be reached at heissens@stlawu.edu.
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How Much Do You Know About Turkey’s “Twitter Trial”?

Turkey on March 27,2014 banned video-sharing website YouTube, a week after blocking access to Twitter (Photo Credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images).

Turkey on March 27,2014 banned video-sharing website YouTube, a week after blocking access to Twitter (Photo Credit: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images).

In Turkey, 29 men and women are about to go on trial for Twitter messages they sent during the Gezi Protests last June. This is another ugly step in the Turkish government’s increasingly intense war on dissent. It is important to let the government – as well as those on trial – know that the whole world is watching.

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How Much Do You Know About Turkey’s Social Media Crackdown?

Turkish riot police use water cannon to disperse protesters outside the Supreme Electoral Council on April 1, 2014 (Photo Credit: Adam Altan/AFP/Getty Images).

Turkish riot police use water cannon to disperse protesters outside the Supreme Electoral Council on April 1, 2014 (Photo Credit: Adam Altan/AFP/Getty Images).

Despite a number of disputes over vote counts and numerous allegations of impropriety,  the municipal elections in Turkey held this past Sunday clearly gave the Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP a resounding victory.

Just as clearly, however, government actions in the lead up to  elections, along with statements since, have given Turkish human rights advocates ample cause for concern.

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A New Low for Internet Freedom in Turkey

People hold placards reading 'Will you censor the streets?' during a demonstration against new Internet controls approved by the Turkish Parliament (Photo Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images) .

People hold placards reading ‘Will you censor the streets?’ during a demonstration against new Internet controls approved by the Turkish Parliament (Photo Credit: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images) .

With a little over a week to go before important municipal elections, the Turkish government blocked access to Twitter for millions of its citizens late last night.

Writing from Turkey, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey described the move as “a desperate and futile measure, the latest move in the AKP’s clampdown on freedom of expression.” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Authorities Starting to Target Hospitals and Medical Personnel in Turkey

A bill passed by the Turkish parliament last week could give authorities new powers to prosecute doctors for giving unauthorized care (Photo Credit: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images).

A bill passed by the Turkish parliament last week could give authorities new powers to prosecute doctors for giving unauthorized care (Photo Credit: Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images).

One of the most shocking aspects of Turkey’s violent crackdown on peaceful protest has been the willingness of authorities to target medical personnel. Since then, not only have authorities not been held responsible, but the government has moved to increase legal pressure on medical personnel.

Amnesty has played a central role in researching this abuse. In its report on the Gezi Protests, Amnesty researchers describe in detail the extent to which those caring for the injured were themselves subject to police abuse.

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Tweet Hakan Yaman the Birthday Gift He Deserves: Justice

What Hakan Yaman most wants for his birthday – what he most deserves – is justice from the state that has so tragically failed him. Today, you can help him get it with a birthday greeting through twitter.

Yaman, the father of two,  is one of the thousands of victims of shocking police violence which Amnesty has described in its new report on the suppression of freedom in Turkey during the Gezi protests. Yaman, himself, was not even a protester, but simply returning home from work during the course of the protests. Mistaken for a protester, he was attacked by police who beat him, and dragged him on top of a street fire.  Before leaving him, one police officer gouged one of his eyes out.

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5 Things You Need To Know About the Gezi Protests

At least eight thousand injured, at least five confirmed deaths (with strong evidence linking at least three of these deaths to police abuse), many thousands detained.

As this powerful video produced by Amnesty International shows, the human cost of the Turkish government’s decision to suppress peaceful protests this past summer was immense.

In a major report issued today, Amnesty International has given compelling and comprehensive documentation of these events, providing detailed evidence of Turkish authorities suppression of freedom of assembly and expression.

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4 Quick Ways to Take Further Action on Turkish Abuses

A riot police fires tear gas at demonstrators during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo Credit: Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

A riot police fires tear gas at demonstrators during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey (Photo Credit: Bulent Doruk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images).

In Turkey, police violence against peaceful protestors continues. It is time for the world community to make its condemnation clear, not only through words, but through action. In this, Turkey’s most important ally, the United States, should take the lead.

In June and July, the world was galvanized by scenes of police violence against peaceful protestors in Turkey. Turkish police rained more than a hundred thousand tear gas canisters on its own citizens as they exercised their basic rights of freedom of expression and assembly. Hundreds of thousands of concerned individuals across the globe raised their voices against the abuses.

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