We stand by our colleague Yigit Aksakoglu and his family

Published February 16, 2020
Our colleague Yigit Aksakoglu with Istanbul family support centre staff and others.

Yigit Aksakoglu has served as our Representative in Turkey since 2014.

During his tenure with the Bernard van Leer Foundation, he has demonstrated a tireless commitment to our mission to help all children get a good start in life. He has worked to support our Turkish partners who come from across the political spectrum, showing in practice how supporting babies, toddlers and their families can and should be a non-partisan priority.

In November 2018, Yigit was detained by police for his alleged involvement in the organising of the Gezi Park protests of 2013 in Istanbul. He was subsequently held in pre-trial detention until June 2019, when he was released pending the outcome of the trial.

As his next court hearing approaches, this Tuesday February 18th, we are deeply concerned that Yigit is now facing the possibility of a life sentence. Yigit does not deserve this.

Yigit is a kind, humble and peace-loving man who has always put the needs of young children and their families first. He is an honest, responsible and loyal colleague. He is a committed husband and a wonderful father to his two young daughters.

We stand by Yigit and his family at this difficult moment.

We are holding Yigit in our hearts and hope that he will soon be free.

For more information regarding the case:

Yigit Aksakoglu