CSSA Celebrates Its 3rd Anniversary!

In November 2018, we as a small group of human rights defenders established Civic Space Studies Association (CSSA). Our objective was not only to defend the freedoms of expression, assembly and association but also to support rights defenders and contribute to the formation of mechanisms which make human rights violations apparent. For more than two years, we carry on working by supporting university students’ struggle for rights on campuses, by making human rights violations they have experienced apparent and by either providing legal support or organizing empowering activities in line with their needs. Today, CSSA is celebrating its 3rd anniversary and has great enthusiasm for having been side by side with many young individuals who defend human rights as well as make us full of hope!

Let us briefly review together what happened in those 3 years:

“Student Struggle in Turkey: Solidarity Makes Stronger!” Documentary Film

We prepared this documentary film to refresh the memory and remind of the attainments that student solidarity and activism in Turkey had. We gave ear to students about student solidarity gathered as a reaction to the increasing oppression on campuses, administrations remaining silent on sexual harassment and abuses, rising dormitory rents and food expenses and hindrances to the club activities.

Study Trips to Brussels and Strasbourg with Student Activists

Young activists will meet leading right defenders in Europe and representatives of international NGOs. The five-day trip aiming at increasing the sustainability of grassroots organizations and initiating international solidarity and communication of experiences has planned to be hold within the last two weeks of November.

#YouHaveYourRight Video Campaign

We maintain the video campaign called #HakkınVar with the purpose of attracting attention to students’ attainments in universities.

“University in the News” Reports

In “University in the News” Reports which are penned by journalist Beyza Kural and consulted by Burak Özçetin, we survey and analyze the news about student activism, made by pro-government media. You can click here to read the English version of the reports.

Student News Bulletin #WhatIsHappeningOnTheCampus

In bimonthly issued Student News Bulletin, #KampüsteNeOluyor, we collect student news which took place in last two months and try to make the right violations students experienced apparent and to draw attention to their attainments. You can click here to read the English version of the reports.

Chronology of Bogazici Resistance

To make a contribution to the memory of ongoing Bogazici Resistance since Melih Bulu was appointed as trustee rector to Bogazici University on January 2, we have prepared the Chronology of Resistance. The chronology gets updated at regular intervals and it is open to anyone who wants to contribute.

Solidarity with the Arrested Students

We have organized a video campaign suggesting various ways to show solidarity with arrested students who strives for education. We continue to make right violations that arrested students are subjected to apparent and defend their rights.

The Study of Freedom of Expression on Campus

We have conducted a study called “Freedom of Expression on Campus” to empower student activism in the universities in Turkey and make a contribution to its sustainability. In result, we have published a report based upon the findings of that study, called “Campuses as Civic Spaces: 3 Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in the Universities in Turkey- 2021” (in Turkish only).


As part of the intention to improve student activism and freedom of expression on campuses, we hold ‘Citizen Journalism on Campus’ and ‘International Protection Mechanisms’ workshops. 138 students coming from 21 different cities and 31 universities participated in the workshops in which Beyza Kural– a journo and Baran Kaya– a lawyer took place as the facilitators.

In the end of the workshops, we produced 2 videos and prepared booklets for students.

Defending Rights Is Not A Crime Video Campaign

Saying that to expand civic spaces and to show solidarity with all the right defenders are our duties, we made a video campaign through which we invited all the allies of civil society to stand against the slanders directed at human rights defenders.


We have conducted a series of workshops in cooperation with Nonviolent Education and Research Association. We took action to express the disturbance resulted from our shrinking spaces, through art and to expand the limits of the spaces where we come together.

Activities Undertaken by Us

  • Litigation

We litigate the lawsuits of students who are subjected to usurpation and confronted with legal sanctions while defending human rights especially on campuses and try to make their struggle more public.

  • Legal Support

As part of students’ freedom of expression on campuses, we provide them legal support against the attempts to suppress their struggle for rights by using methods like disciplinary investigations and the cut-off of scholarships when they act in accordance with their freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

Through student agenda tracking and making student news more public, we intended to give voice to campuses by exhibiting student struggles and attainments which hardly appear in the media.

We are grateful especially to university students and also to all our friends being with us within this 3-year-duration, crossing our path, supporting us generously, believing us and encouraging us to keep working. In solidarity and many happy returns!

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