Profiles of the Istanbul10

The Istanbul10 are eight Turkish human rights activists and two international trainers. Here you'll find their profiles.

Ali Gharavi

Swedish writer and consultant

Ali Gharavi (b. 1967) studied for an advanced degree in Electrical Engineering with a focus in Robotics. He worked as head of Information Technology at the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) based in Minneapolis, USA, an organisation providing direct support to survivors of torture and carrying out international advocacy to end torture and inhumane treatment. He also contributed to CVT's "New Tactics for Human Rights" project. Ali subsequently worked for Tactical Technology Collective, directing their "Privacy and Expression" programme, which sought to increase public awareness on issues related to privacy and security on-line, and facilitate Human Rights Defenders' access to tools and resources for digital strategy and security. For the last three years, he has collaborated with a wide range of human rights organisations as a trainer and consultant on their use of information technology. Writing under the pen name of Ali Ravi, he has contributed to a number of materials for human rights defenders.

Günal Kurşun

Academic, lawyer and board member of Human Rights Agenda Association

Günal Kurşun has worked for years as a lecturer at Ankara University Faculty of Law before he was sacked by a statutory decree. He is one of the few people in Turkey who has produced academic studies on the International Criminal Court (ICC). He also took part in advocacy activities for Turkey’s membership to ICC and against hate crimes. He is a member of both the Amnesty International Turkey Branch and the Human Rights Agenda Association.

İdil Eser

Activist, translator and director of the Turkish branch of Amnesty International

İdil Eser worked as an independent translator for a long time. One of her translations titled “Global Development and Market Powers” was published by Yapı Kredi Publications. İdil Eser has worked in several civil society organizations in Turkey, including the History Foundation, the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly, and the Médecins Sans Frontières.

İlknur Üstün


İlknur Üstün was born in 1965 and grew up in Ankara. She graduated from Ankara University Department of Philosophy and continued her graduate studies on “Gender and Women’s Studies” at the same University. She has taken part actively in several women’s rights organizations. She formerly was the President of KADER's Ankara Branch and the coordinator of the Women’s Coalition in Turkey. She also conducts research studies on gender issues and local governance. Nowadays, she is taking part in monitoring gender equality at the local level and trying to develop an original model for monitoring and evaluating local government’s activities from the perspective of gender equality. She has also played an important role in legal reforms in favor of equality between women and men. Her publications include: “Home Sweet Home”, Women and Men in the Democratization Process; “Try that Perspective: Gender Inequality Is Not a Women’s Issue, It Is a Social Issue”; “Gender Equality: Are We Able To Take It Into Account?”; “Understanding Trabzon”; “Did We Get All That Education for Nothing”.

Nalan Erkem


Nalan Erkem coordinated the EU supported project on “The Role of Lawyers in Preventing Torture” in her function as board member of the Izmir Bar Association. She later took part in RUSIHAK’s - Human Rights in Mental Health Initiative Association- projects for monitoring human rights in mental health hospitals and care institutions. She worked as an expert and published monitoring guides for several projects, including “Preventing Violence in Juvenile Detention Centres” implemented by the Bar Association, “Don't Remain Silent Against Torture” project implemented by the Human Rights Joint Platform (IHOP), as well as other projects of IHOP for monitoring violence against women, judicial processes, and discrimination.

Nejat Taştan


Nejat Taştan has been a human rights defender since 1986. He had been a board member of the Human Rights Association for several terms, and worked at the same Association as the general bookkeeper between 2002-2004 and deputy secretary general between 2004-2006. He is one of the founding members of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey. He also has taken part in administrative and advisory committees of several organizations working for human rights and against discrimination. He is an expert on numerous dimensions of human rights, including discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, religion, the rights of the disabled, the freedom of expression and association and the right to fair trial. Moreover, as a member of the Independent Election Monitoring Platform, he has been actively taking part in monitoring all elections in Turkey since 2011. He is one of the founders of the Association for Monitoring Equal Rights and has been the Association’s general coordinator since 2010.

Özlem Dalkıran

Translator, author and activist

Özlem Dalkıran has worked for years as a human rights advocate and campaigner for numerous human rights organizations. She was one of the leading persons who worked for the establishment of Amnesty International’s Turkey branch during the 1990s and she is also one of the founders of the Citizens’ Assembly (formerly known as Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly). She served as the president of the Amnesty International Turkey Branch for two terms and also worked as the organization’s head of media relations. She later became the coordinator of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly’s Refugee Support Program. She recently worked as a coordinator at Bianet, the Independent Communication Network. She is a member of the Hrant Dink Foundation’s International Hrant Dink Award Committee and supports the Foundation’s activities as a volunteer. She also works as an independent translator and she can’t live without drinking tea.

Peter Steudtner

German trainer, coach, photographer and documentary film maker

Peter Steudtner was born in 1971 in Berlin, Germany, and studied Political Science. He worked for two years in Mozambique, focusing his work on the reintegration of child soldiers in local communities. He spent several years working as the Mozambique desk officer for the Development-Policy focused INKOTA Network in Berlin. Since 2011 he has led international trainings on nonviolence at the Centre for Training and Networking in Nonviolent Action – KURVE Wustrow (Germany). Together with Ali Gharavi, Craig Higson-Smith and Daniel Ó Cluanaigh, he co-authored a handbook on the use of digital technology in the context of Human Rights work. In 2015, he worked for HIVOS to provide support in information security to human rights organisations, wherein he has focused his work in Angola, Kenya and Mozambique. In cooperation with Justicia Ambiental (Friends of the Earth Mozambique) he has developed a number of documentary films regarding land grabbing and human rights-related conflicts in Mozambique. In 2016 he created a documentary film about a best-practices project with regard to agricultural development for the INKOTA Network, in which he accompanied the Mozambican farmers union ORAM.

Şeyhmus Özbekli


Şeyhmus Özbekli was born in 1992, in Diyarbakır. He graduated from Dicle University Faculty of Law and is still continuing his internship as a lawyer in Diyarbakır Bar Association. He has been involved in human rights work for four years. He first gained experience as a human rights activist in Mazlumder, a well-known Islamic human rights association. He later joined the Rights Initiative and continued to act as a human rights defender. He is also working at the Diyarbakır Bar Association’s Human Rights Department.

Veli Acu


Veli Acu was born in 1988, in Siirt. He graduated from Gazi University Department of Political Science and Public Administration. He is still a student at Gaziantep University Department of English Literature. He has been a board member of the Human Rights Agenda Association since 2009 and also a member of Amnesty International Turkey Branch since 2010. He is interested in human rights, nationalism, political science, social movements, liberal thought, theories of democracy, and civil society. For the last seven years, he has been working in civil society organizations as a professional, including United Nations World Food Programme, which he joined in 2016.