On 2nd June 2024, thousands of protesters rallied in Istanbul, the capital of Türkiye, complaining about the Turkish government’s proposals to kill stray dogs to solve the problem of uncontrolled overpopulation. The protest took place around Yenikapi Square, on the European side of the city.

The government plans to pass a law that sets the rules for the capture and sterilisation of stray dogs, and putting them down if they are not adopted within 30 days. Sule Giritlioglu, one of the demonstrators, said to AFP,  “This is not good for animals. It is a murder law…We think the cats will be next.”

The governing AKP party under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the reform is needed to control the three to four million stray dogs in the country and prevent dogs from attacking people. The government claims these dogs have caused 3,544 road accidents over the past five years.

Haydar Ozkan, vice-president of the Animal Rights Federation in Türkiye, said to the Gazete Duvar that the government should instead prioritise effective sterilisation and animal shelters.

On 1st August 2023, Funda Bayrı, a 73-year-old animal rights activist, was arrested in Türkiye for sharing images on social media of people abusing animals. Bayarı is the chair of the Aegean Animal Rights Federation, and she faced a total of three years and four months in prison on the charges of “obtaining or disseminating personal data.”

In 2021, the Turkish parliament passed a landmark law that defined animals as “living beings” and made animal abuse a crime punishable between six months and four years in prison. As sentences of less than two years are usually deferred in Turkey, most animal abusers avoid jail. This is why animal rights activists expose them on social media to warn the public about who they are.

Support animal rights! Sign our monthly featured petitions: https://veganfta.com/take-action

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.