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Joint Forum ‘Referendum Result and Future for Freedom of Expression in Turkey’

Joint Forum ‘Referendum Result and Future for Freedom of Expression in Turkey’


The Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS) and Index on Censorship are pleased to invite you to a public forum with Special Adviser to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Guney Yildiz, award-winning Turkish-British technologist Alp Toker and Index on Censorship’s Head of Advocacy Melody Patry on 20th April 2017.

Please see speaker biographies below.

This event is kindly hosted by Neil Coyle, Labour MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark.

The event will take place between 7-9PM on Thursday, 20th April 2017 in Committee Room 9, House of Commons.

Please note that as security checks are required to enter House of Commons, we kindly ask you to arrive at 6.30PM, allowing the event to start and end on time.

A referendum on the proposed changes to Turkey’s constitution will take place on 16th April 2017. The changes proposed would significantly alter the structure of Turkey’s government and so the vote has big implications for Turkey’s future.

Our guest speakers will analyse the result of the referendum on Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies and freedom of expression in particular.

This event will also mark Index’s Freedom of Expression awards that celebrate the courage and creativity of some of the world’s greatest journalists, campaigners, inventors and artists.

We look forward to welcoming you to this event.

Speaker Biographies

Guney Yildiz

Guney Yildiz is Special Adviser to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Turkish and Kurdish Affairs Analyst. Previously, he was a Broadcast Journalist with the BBC World Service where he covered international news and current affairs specialising in Turkey and the Kurds. He has published articles and provided expert opinion on Turkey and the Kurds for various BBC’s TV, Radio and Online outlets. Yildiz worked for the BBC’s Turkish Service and Turkish Daily News, the country’s only English language daily at the time. He completed his master’s degree in Politics and Communication at the London School of Economics following his undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Middle East Technical University. He worked as research assistant at the Department of Communication and Design at Bilkent University.

Turkey Blocks and Alp Toker

British Turkish technologist Alp Toker founded Turkey Blocks using his own savings after being unable to find out what happened to friends and relatives in the aftermath of the Ankara bombings in 2015. Using Raspberry Pi based technology, Turkey Blocks detect mass-scale social media censorship, internet restrictions and power outages in real-time. Using this tool, Turkey Blocks have since broken news of more than 14 mass-censorship incidents online during politically significant events in 2016. The tool has proved so successful that it has begun to be implemented elsewhere globally.

“Alp Toker and Turkey Blocks’ work is important because it is going to have impact not just in Turkey but across the world” – Anab Jain, TED Fellow, Designer and co-founder Superfluxx.

Index on Censorship and Melody Patry

Index on Censorship is a nonprofit that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide. We publish work by censored writers and artists, promote debate, and monitor threats to free speech. We believe that everyone should be free to express themselves without fear of harm or persecution – no matter what their views.

Melody Patry has been on numerous delegations to Turkey, provides research and analysis for Index’s policy formulation and works in building relationships with stakeholders to support our domestic and international programmes. Previously she worked as a political adviser for the European External Action Service and 
as writer and videographer supporting human rights NGOs in Egypt.



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