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The Logics of Supranational Human Rights Litigation, Official Acknowledgment, and Human Rights Reform: The Southeast Turkey Cases before the European Court of Human Rights, 1996–2006


  • This article is based on the research project “The Judicial Legitimacy and Authority of Supranational Human Rights Courts: A Comparative Analysis of the Perception of the European Court of Human Rights in Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Turkey and the United Kingdom,” Economic Social Research Council (United Kingdom) Grant No: RES-061-25-0029. For comments on earlier drafts, I am grateful to Kevin Boyle, Jane Cowan, Françoise Hampson, Toby Kelly, and four anonymous referees.

Başak Çalı ( is a lecturer in human rights, Department of Political Science, University College London.


This article examines the domestic impact of supranational human rights litigation on acknowledgment of state violence in the context of macroprocesses of global governance. The article's argument is that the impact of supranational human rights litigation on the process of acknowledgment must be seen through counternarratives on state violence. The article undertakes a detailed textual analysis of the truth claims and denial strategies that emerged from the European Court of Human Rights proceedings on state violence during Turkey's struggle against the armed group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). It assesses these in the context of the human rights reforms that were created following pressure from European-level governance processes. The article argues that attention must be paid to agency in acknowledgment and truth-telling processes, and points to the limits of technical-bureaucratic forms of human rights reform interventions in the context of state violence.