We consider essential the translation of this interview with Eren Keskin, lawyer and activist for human rights in Turkey, an interview which embraces the totality of the matters of today and yesterday’s justice.
Beyond the homage due to this woman and her battle, reviewing the procedures in the current injustice investigations, the Ubuesque functioning of the judiciary institutions as seen through her sharp eye, constitutes an indispensable archive to which we will unfortunately have to refer often in the coming months.
We must expect to have to organize a consequential amount of support for her also in the repetition of upcoming trials, although she has a most « realistic » appraisal herself of the flabby Europeans reactions to be expected from now on.
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Eren Keskin: Rather than going abroad, I’ll be going to jail
Who would have thought that Eren Keskin, who was subjected to armed assaults in the nineties, who was imprisoned for simply using the word “Kurdistan”, who has lost several friends in unresolved murders, a human rights advocate who participated in many trials against torture, assaults and rapes, would prefer those years to nowadays? But what we consider impossible can happen. Lawyer Eren Keskin says that, despite all the darkness, the nineties were better than today. And she’s surprised to hear herself say it !
Human rights are forged through their defense and what we call human dignity lives at the height of its conquests. These values come to light thanks to the struggles of courageous ones, despite threats of exile, of prison and of death. For indeed, defenders of human rights who have devoted their life to elevating human dignity in Turkey, are presently under threat and oppression like never before.
Lawyer Eren Keskin, one of the emblematic figures of the struggle for human rights in Turkey, must face 143 separate trials. As a result of trials opened against her at the end of the « Peace process », she is at risk of some ten years in jail and of penalties of up to 800 thousand Turkish lira [close to 200 thousand €]. Keskin, who has begun paying some penalties already, is at short term risk of imprisonment. Having served for three years as symbolic editor for Özgür Gündem, Keskin is involved in all the trials opened against the newspaper since the end of the Peace process, yet she is determined not to step back.
Keskin, who has faced armed assaults, prisons terms and death threats with great courage and persistence since the nineties, and who continues to defend human rights, has sent to their pension many a President of the Republic, several ministers of the interior and of justice, but she is still here. Let’s lend an ear to this brave lawyer who has devoted her life to defending the rights of all oppressed humans and to raising the level of human dignity.
The fact that you are one of the most exposed defenders of human rights since the nineties, and the pressures to which you have been personally subjected make your analysis of the various periods that much more legitimate. Consequently, could we begin by the noose justice has set about your neck?
I am facing 143 trials. Only one of them has opened yet for a speech I pronounced and I received a sentence of 10 months. The decision is presently under review by the Court of Appeal. All the other trials are related to Özgür Gündem, for which I served as editor for three years.
Which is to say you are the one standing trial for all the trials opened against the newspaper during those three years?
Yes. Özgür Gündem was created in the beginning of the 90’s, and I was their lawyer from day one. I knew all the journalists who were killed at that time, such as « Uncle Musa » [Musa Anter], Burhan Karadeniz. For persons of my age, Özgür Gündem occupies a precious space in our life. In 2013, the paper was about to re-appear under the name Özgür Gündem [the paper has gone through several closings and bans during its history] and I was asked “Can we put your name as Editor? » As I had a sentimental attachment to the paper, I said « Of course! ». I did not work actively as an editor but my name appeared on the masthead. Trials that were never opened during the Peace process* began when it ended, like so many bombings.
[* Period known as « peace process » or « resolution process » or « Kurdish opening » 2009-2015. The « resolution process » was not only promoted by the Kurdish Party but was mainly designed to help the AKP’s rise to power, concerned with vote-catching, and with its image as the « good pupil » in European negotations, an image required in order to shunt aside the Kemalist military. The Gülenists were enthusiastic supporters of the political process until their break with the AKP in 2013. The Kurdish movement seized on the « Peace process » to make advances on the matters of language, cultural autonomy and social catching-up, and to avoid the wedge Erdoğan was trying to drive between the Kurds and the PKK. In 2015, this welcome and promising peace initiative was broken off unilaterally by the ADKP regime.]
Were retroactive trials opened for articles and texts published during the so-called resolution process?
No. There were no retroactive trials. When the process ended and the trials began, we started the back-and-forth to the Justice Palace for interrogations. At first, we merely kept repeating to the prosecutors « I am convinced that expressing an opinion is not a crime ». But a bit later, the prosecutors began having us transferred to the tribunal with a request for custody. When we realized the trials were raining down like bombs, we discussed the matter among comrades and, at the end of the third year, I stepped down as editor. At that point, on August 17 2016, there was a raid on the newspaper and we were all taken into custody. I was released on parole, Aslı Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay were imprisoned and, a bit later, Murat Çelikkan was jailed. In this trial, we are all being judged with the prosecutor demanding a life sentence.
Under the accusation of « belonging to an organization »?
For attempt at separating territories from the State.
Is this based on published information?
On published information and, from this, is implied the fact we are members of a separatist organization. There is no source to this accusation but that is indeed the motive used.
Is it also the motive for the other trials against you?
Propaganda for an organization, insult to the President of the Republic, etc… 18 files are presently before the Court of Appeal. They represent six years of prison and very substantial financial penalties. During this time, there have been reforms to the law, and « appeal tribunals » have been set up [“Istinaf mahkemesi” tribunals using expeditious procedures]. Trials that carry sentences of less than 5 years are sent before the appeal tribunals instead of the Court of Appeal. Trials are dealt with more quickly before these tribunals. The alibi for their creation was to lighten the load on justice.
Have any of the sentences been confirmed by the appeal tribunals?
Yes, I have some trials where the financial penalties have been set and confirmed. There are others in the making. To this day, I have a confirmed penalty of 57 thousand Turksh lira. But when you add them all up, were are looking at a penalty of 800 throusand Turkish lira. If you don’t pay, you go to jail. We have started paying by monthly installments. The IHD (The Human Rights Association of which Eren is Vice-President) and the TIHV (The Human Rights Foundation) have started a fundraising campaign to this purpose. But for the prison sentences, there is no way out. They have not been confirmed yet but once the decisions go up to the appeal court, the sentences will be confirmed in three or four months.
Then, you will go to jail?
I will be imprisonned, yes. I am not going away.
I am not going abroad because we are right
I will not go abroad, I’ll go to jail. In 1995, I was on trial for pronouncing the word “Kurdistan”, I was given a prison sentence and served my time. As we have been in the human rights movement for many long years, we are known in international public opinion. People know very well that Eren Keskin is not a member of an armed organization. But if the State judges me, sentences me and jails me for that reason, I must lead a fight against that. I want to disturb them. I will not go abroad because we are right. I think it was necessary for the State to fall back. The same thing happened in 1995. In those years, many people went abroad, and few went to jail. I remember the names of those who were jailed at that time, such as Fikret Başkaya, Haluk Gerger. It is thanks to those who went to jail that the discussion occured over the fact freedoms of opinion and expression were threatened. The same thing is going to happen.
In your opinion, it is useful that the fact opinion and expression freedoms are threatened be discussed?
Of course, I don’t believe this discussion will have the same effect as in the nineties, but it will always have some effect.
The AKP and the Deep State have reconciled
Despite the limited means of communication in the nineties, the pressures to which you were subjected were known and a public opinion formed around this. Now, the pressures, the custodies, the arrests of human rights defendors don’t have the same effect in Europe as they did in the nineties and the State isn’t paying attention to international reactions. Yet, we recall how international reactions acted upon the State in the nineties. What is the difference between the nineties and now?
Since the founding of this State, the visible State and the real one have always been at odds. Governments changed but the Deep State remained. On September 24 1996, in Diyarbakir prison, 11 people were massacred by having their heads crushed in. When we called on the Minister of Justice of that time, Şevket Kazan, of the Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi), he told us, « Believe me, I did not know. » At the tone of his voice, we understood this to be true. Really, the minister did not know what had happened over there. Especially since the buildup of tensions in its relationship with Fethullah Gülen, the AKP has moved toward a reconciliation with the Deep State. Perhaps it does not go all the way, but I think the understanding is different from what it was in the nineties.
But didn’t Çiller [the Prime Minister] do everything the Deep State wanted even then?
Çiller did what she was asked to do, but she didn’t have popular support as does the present government. Right now, there is 50% popular support backing the governement and that is not a small proportion. In the past, during the governmental brokering sessions, the hand of the Deep State was always the strongest, now, the government’s hand is stronger. Perhaps they neglect each other somewhat but they also need each other. And that is terrifying. Journalists tell us « we find no one, no university professors willing to talk to us. » No one wants to talk to the press. And I can understand that. There is economic pressure affecting people’s lives that didn’t exist in the nineties. They are fired, people and their families are left with no means of subsistence. That can be more terrifying that going to prison. In the nineties, an arrest wasn’t frightening. Back then, there were some 200 trials against me. Osman Baydemir and I were Co-Presidents of the IHD. A trial opened after each one of our speeches, we used to tease each other asking « who has the most trials? » You knew you would leave the prosecutor’s office after making your statement. You only went to jail if you were sentenced and your sentence had been confirmed. But now, even for a testimony, you go with the fear of being arrested. This makes a very big difference.
From this viewpoint, arrests are normalized…
Of course. The other day, after testifying about sharing my opinions on social media, I asked the prosecutor « And now, am I free to go? »! I think he was a good prosecutor because he was obviously embarrassed interrogating me. So there still exist some who are like that, he said « Of course you are free to go. » Even so, you can’t believe that you are free. I don’t recall another period where arrests occured with so little attention paid to the consequences.
When the AKP came to power, it seems to me that the number of prisoners which was around 50 thousand soared above 200 thousand…
Human Rights defenders had more freedom in the nineties
Only three years ago, everything could be discussed with a certain freedom. But this changing attitude by the State reoccurs regularly. For a time, many things can be discussed, then, once again, freedoms of opinion and expression are radically cut back. And there is no way to predict how long current limitations will last. In the nineties, were you able to make projections on the end of the period?
I don’t believe there has been a single period in Turkey when justice was independent but our roads toward Law have never been as cut off as they are now. In the nineties, human rights violations occurred mostly in Kurdistan, the populations in the West [of the country] did not experience oppression as they do now. Clearly, people here [in the Western part of the country] didn’t care about what was happening in Kurdistan. As human rights defenders we would draw up reports on disappearances during custody, on tortures, on burned villages. During that period, apart from IHD, no civil society or university organizations went to investigate in the region. International public opinion was very interested by the topic. Delegations kept arriving, and we would file criminal complaints. We didn’t get results domestically but yes, we were convinced the State would lose these trials opened before the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights). Besides, as there were no threats of arrests, we lived quietly.
Now, many war crimes are committed in this region. For example, wounded guerilla fighters are arrested but they are murdered and the JITEM (Jandarma İstihbarat ve Terörle Mücadele – Gendarmerie Intelligence Organization) openly publishes this on its accounts [on social media]. These are truly war crimes! But if you file a complaint, an investigation is opened against you for being part of a terrorist organization. In the nineties, we did not have to deal with this oppression. Human rights defenders had a bit more freedom. That said, speaking these words is a bit absurd because I, for example, was twice the victim of an armed assault, we lost many comrades in assassinations by the counter-guerilla. It is odd that I should think this way, but I repeat, at the time, I knew I would not be accused of belonging to a terrorist organization because I had filed a complaint over an execution.
Society tends to consider torture as legitimate
In the nineties, the State tried to hide rights violations, nowadays, the violations are announced on social media by the security forces themselves. For you, what State evolution are we witnessing?
There are certainly exceptions, but I think Turkish society, with it’s left and right wing, is formatted along an “İttihatçi” mentality [Nationalist Union grouping the Young Turks]. We are at the September 6-7 anniversary [“the Istanbul Pogrom” mainly directed against Istanbul’s Greek minority – September 6-7 1955] and not only fascist those took part in it. People burned down and pillaged the homes of their closest neighbors. People are so imbued with the ideology of Turkism and racism that today 50% of them think of nothing else. In the eyes of society, violence has become legitimate. All those arrested relative to the Fetullah Gülen organization are tortured, without exception. We have received requests concerning rapes. The photos of tortured ones have been published and no one has said a word. We have heard « If he’s a putschist, of course he’ll be tortured. » Whereas one of the principles of human rights defenders is that you cannot torture, not even a torturer. Following the period of the putsch especially, society accepted violence as normal. This is not a problem linked only to the State. It means that the people tend to consider torture as legitimate.
So how is it that the crushing majority who supported the resolution process and were for Peace is now moving in the diametrically opposite direction?
In my opinion, this can change again, within a single day. We think that if things that happened in Habur were to happen again today [On October 19 2009, during the Peace process, 34 PKK fighters entered Turkey through the Habur frontier], tens of thousands of people would go down into the streets, there would be lynchings. But as long as the government does not want it, nothing will happen. I don’t fear that the present state of society will be permanent.
But the momentum for peace in society isn’t permanent either…
Of course it isn’t. After the Nobel Prize went to Orhan Pamuk [writer], Murat Belge [university professor, author, defender of human rights] said “Those who are nationalist, should be pleased by that prize. Those aren’t even nationalists, they are morons. We have a society shaped by Islam and Turkish nationalism, and very accustomed to being led. »
I don’t think I will see the country’s democratization
As a human rights defender, doesn’t all this incline you toward despair?
We fall into despair from time to time. But in my case, I’m not in expectancy over democratization in Turkey. First of all, I don’t think a real democratization can be possible without an acknowledgement of the 1915 [Armenian] Genocide and without facing up to this event point blank. I don’t think I will see this country’s democratization, except for dribs and drabs. We were filled with hope during the Peace process, and what happened? It’s over. There could be another such period tomorrow and again, it could come to nothing. For a permanent democratization, there must be a settling of accounts with the “İttihatçi” mentality.
You speak of the 50% backing power, but there is another group of 50%. Why do you not mention those 50%?
Because I don’t see much difference between the two 50%. For me, those who want a real democratization represent a maximum of 10%. Look at the President of the Homeland Party (Vatan Partisi)… what is his name again?
Yes, Doğu Perinçek was judged for negationism in Switzerland. Intervening as the IHD Commission against racism and discrimination, we were civil party at the trial before the European Court of Civil Rights. We maintained that negating the genocide is a crime that cannot be considered as falling in the framework of freedoms of opinion and expression. We said that with this negation, a people subjected to a genocide feels constantly imperiled. In his opinion, Perinçek won the trial… And who was at his side? The CHP (the secular Kemalist Party) the MHP (Nationalist Party), the AKP and Vatan Partisi… And they published a common declaration announcing « Turkey is the winner ».
Consequently, for me, those who want democratization are those who want to settle accounts with Turkey’s red lines. That is to say, the Kurdish problem and Kurdistan, the Armenian Genocide, the Cyprus question, anti-democratic secularism or islamism. Those with whom we can stand side to side are those who want these questions opened to discussion. I think the pan-Turkish and islamist wings of the official “İttihatçi” line are enemy brothers. They fight among themselves but when the official ideology is questioned, they come together. For this reason, I don’t believe that the battle between Kemalists and Islamists is a real battle.
In that case, don’t you think that the CHP’s opposition, the reactions he calls up, is sensible.
Of course I consider it sensible and important. I think everyone must stand together with demands of democratization and against the authoritarianism created by the AKP and the President of the Republic. Of course people must work together against this authoritarianism. But this isn’t a unity that can last until eternity.
Courage protects a human being
Since you do not believe there can be a true democratization in Turkey, with what convictions have your carried on the struggle for humans rights for decades?
If you help a single person, and love what you are doing, that is enough. Until we started the Legal Aid office in 1997 against sexual abuse and rapes during custody, those questions weren’t discussed much. When I was imprisoned, I was with Kurdish women. We knew the women were being subjected to torture and this was always hushed up. One day, as I was pacing back and forth, one of the girls whose lawyer I had been on the outside, came to see me and told me she had been raped. [While telling me this] she had a nervous breakdown. Then, we started learning that all the women, without exception, were victims of abuse. So I decided to work on this when I came out of jail. Now, everyone knows that sexual torture is one of the torture methods. And that’s very important to me.
Things you do, even if they are not much, inevitably cause an evolution. The fact of telling that freedoms of opinion and of speech don’t exist in Turkey, is also something. Over time, this becomes a way of life. Many people live this way, as I do. We haven’t changed. We are still saying what we have been saying from the beginning. They are the ones who change, not us. We always say that the problem isn’t the PKK, the problem is Kurdistan.
Did the PKK exist when Seyid Rıza was massacred? [Seyid Rıza : Important “pir” and zaza Kurdish tribal chief who led the Dersim revolt (1937-1938) against the Turkish army. Born 1863 in Dersim- died 15 November 1937 Elâzığ]. There is a problem and it originates with the State. There is a chance to resolve this problem if the State shows a willingness to resolve it.
As for the Armenian Genocide, there was a time when the AKP began dropping the « so-called » before the word « Genocide » then it started using the expression again. But we haven’t wavered on this question. Courage protects a human being. Even if the opponent sees you as an enemy, he has to respect you. And that gives strength and courage.
Some opponents to the regime leave for other countries saying « neither this society nor this State will ever change ». What distances you from this vision?
I love these lands very much. I’ve never thought of living abroad. Now, I couldn’t leave anyway since I’m forbidden exit from the territory. But when I was called away for meetings, I’d start suffocating after three days. We don’t love those who lead us, that’s another question, but I consider that these lands belong to us.
What is going on in prisons now?
Left-wingers and Kurds have always had problemns in prison and they go on having problems now.
The President of the Republic defended himself and spoke about « Guantanamo » and, indeed, under the state of emergency, there are Guantanamo-liked practices. There are important numbers of sick prisoners not transfered to the hospital, there is torture from time to time. There is a very disturbing practice, especially for the women, of surveillance cameras in their living space. They do not feel safe, even in the bathroom. This is a terrifying things. Observing someone while he or she attends to intimate functions is clearly a sexual aggression. There are difficulties concerning visits. For the slightest thing, isolation is given as punishment. Family visits to prisoners sentenced for FETÖ [Fethullah Gülen’s Organization] are very problematic. Attacking the right to defense in its very foundations, they make integral recordings of the visits. We are facing a State that denounces all the international agreements Turkey has signed.
In my whole life, I cannot recall another period where I found myself with so little vision for the future.
Some consulates offered « you can ask us for asylum », I refused.
Can one or other of the international or the Turkish organizations conduct inquiries into the prison practices?
As a general principle, the State does not accept any such requests. And we also see that international public opinion does not manifest the same interest as it did in the nineties.
I think the Syrian migration had a particularly strong effect. In the final count, State relations are relations of interest and no State is an organization for the protection of human rights. Moroever, neither the prison nor the AFAD camps [Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency linked to the Prime Minister’s office] are opened to inspection by civil society organizations. Reports are drawn up based on the contacts laywers have with the prisoners. There is not other possible way for international delegations and civil society organizations to establish contact with the administrations to access the prisoners’ complaints and demands.
There is the possibility that your sentences will be confirmed in the coming days. Can you predict how long your incarceration would be?
I experience a great deal of pride over the fact Murat Çelikkan did not go abroad, but went to jail. If he is not released on parole, I think he will be held for approximately 40 jours. This is the procedure that should apply and if it applies in my case, I will be imprisoned for a few years. Based on my computations, my sentences should add up to more than ten years but, as I said, if they apply the parole procedure, I could be jailed for a shorter period of time.
How does one feel, knowing one is going to jail?
I received proposals from some consulates who said « you can take refuge with us ». I didn’t want it. If I leave, I won’t have a clear conscience. Going to jail is very hard, no doubt about it. There are youngsters I’m helping with their studies, there are people who work with me, there is my 85 year old mother for whom I am responsible, there is the rent on my home. All those things are important, but despite it all, in jail, I won’t experience the vexation I would feel abroad.
With the hostility against Erdoğan, the State is forgotten
You were in the line of fire in the nineties. Do you receive threats nowadays?
I receive a lot of threats via social media but I don’t pay them much attention. We had many threats in the nineties, we were subjected to armed assaults. In those days, the state even offered Osman Baydemir and I security guards but we refused. You have to go on living without becoming obsessed. Because if you think about it a lot, you run the risk of not being able to step out of your home anymore.
Considering all the sacrifices needed in order to defend human rights, are there still new defenders of human rights coming up through the new generations?
Yes, defenders are being formed in the new generations, even if there are not enough of them. To this purpose the IHD founded the Academy of Human Rights. Because it’s not enough to run around and write press releases. You must know the problems of these lands and the State’s red lines. There are some very motivated young people.
Do you think you will retire from the defense of human rights some day?
Absolutely not. As long as my health holds out, I won’t be able to stop.
What do you think of the operation which targeted human rights defenders in Büyükada?
I know this case very well because I partipated in the interrogations. It was the much tragi-comic defense in my entire career. An unimaginable investigations, absurd and that didn’t hold together. Journalists close to the government began writing up the absurdity. To me, they are like hostages to the conflicts between Turkey and Europe and will walk free after the first hearing. But it’s a shame, it is time stolen from people’s lives.
Speaking of the prosecutor who took down your testimony concerning the opinions you shared on social media you said « there are still prosecutors like this one’. What kind of evolution have you observed in the judiciary? What do you see when you compare the picture with that in the nineties?
I think that, among the university graduates, the ones who read the less become judges. Apart from a few exceptions, they are so engrossed in their files that they don’t follow the news, they know nothing about international law… For example, you enter a trial on violence against women, you tell them « The Istanbul Agreement » [European Council Agreement on the prevention of violence aganst women and domestic violence, signed in Istanbul in 2011], they stare at you, empty-eyed. In the nineties and earlier, there was a judiciary linked to the military. For me, with the hostility against Erdoğan, the State is forgotten. I think this is a mistake. As if in Turkey, the State was very good and everything had turned bad with Erdoğan’s arrival. But justice has always been dependent on the State. We talk about the fact the President of the Court of Appeal bows his head before Erdoğan, but we also knew of prosecutors who were called over to the Chief of Staff in the nineties, and made to wait in custody. The judiciary has always been dependent, all that changes are the central forces on which it depends. Today, the judges do not feel free, and make the decisions wanted by the President of the Republic. For example, in the FETÖ trial [trial linked to the attempted putsch], the judges took a just decision and freed 23 people. Atilla Taş [a singer, one of the accused at this trial ], what would such a man have done? The next day, the judges who had freed the 23 were removed from office. So what judge can act independently? When we looked at each other, I saw the sadness in the eyes of the prosecutor interrogating me about what I had shared on social media. It was a painful moment, seeing a prosecutor in this condition.
How do you interpret the Islamist community’s lack of reaction concerning human rights?
When Tayyip Erdoğan was judged [in 1998, accused of inciting hatred with a speech pronounced in Siirt] on the IHD poster on freedom of speech, my photo was right next to Erdoğan’s. We had defended Erdoğan’s freedom of speech, we have made those posters. On February 28th* we also spoke out against oppressions targeting Muslims. We demonstrated side by side with veiled women.
[28 February or the “Post-modern Coup d’Etat” : On February 28 1997, the National Security Council addressed a series of injunctions to the coalition government of Islamist Necmettin Erbakan demanding that he respect secularism. In reality, these injuctions were launching a process that would see the Turkish army and its main auxiliaries (the administration, justice, media, big business, and the political parties part of the system, notably) work at destabilizing the Erbakan government, obtaining its resignation and finally, the dissolution of the Islamist Prosperity Party (Refah partisi). This Party reformed a few years later under the name of Justice and Development Party (AKP). Taking good note of its previous failure, once in power again, the new Party acted to durably diminish the influence of the military over civilian power. You know the rest of the story…]
But now, in their opinion, they are free and don’t pay attention to anything. They only care about themselves. Except that the defense of human rights is universal. The Islamists have no such notion as we have seen.
Sometimes, I can’t believe what we are living through. It’s like a bad dream.
Eren Keskin lawyer and activist, defender of Human Rights in Turkey , is Vice-President of the Turkish Association for Human Rights (IHD) and co-founder of the Legal Aid Project for women raped or sexually abused by National Security Forces.
Born of a Kurdish father from Sivas and an Istanbul mother, Eren was shocked as a teenager by the execution of three young men. After her legal studies were interrupted by the military coup in 1980, she became involved in the Turkish Association for Human Rights of which she is now Vice-President , rather than involving herself in political parties which she found « too militaristic and not sufficiently open to women ». She conducts research into burned Kurdish villages, punitive expeditions, disappeareances… And narrowly escapes two assassinations targeting her in 1994 and in 2001. Her stated positions and the simple fact of using the word « Kurdistan » in an article lead to her imprisonment for several months, a ban on her right to practice law and a good hundred or so legal actions – the most recent for her columns in Özgür Gündem, as was the case for Aslı Erdoğan. And she is still at risk of returning to prison for a long time. No matter what, she carries on with the fight.
Eren Keskin has been awarded several prizes, that of European Jurist of the Year (2001), the Aix-la-Chapelle Peace Prize for her work in favor of human rights (2004), the Theodor-Haecker Prize for civic courage and political integrity (2005). On September 8th, the Anna Dahlbäck Memorial Foundation based in Stockhholm awarded her the 2017 Human Rights Prize.