Sezgin Tanrıkulu

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Sezgin Tanrıkulu
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Deputy leader of the Republican People's Party
Assumed office
19 December 2010
Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
Member of the Grand National Assembly
Assumed office
7 June 2011
Constituency İstanbul (II) (2011)
Personal details
Born Diyarbakır, Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Occupation lawyer
Known for advocacy for Kurdish rights
Awards Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (1997)

Sezgin Tanrıkulu is a Turkish human rights lawyer known for his defense of the rights of Kurdish citizens. He is currently serving as an MP in the Turkish Grand Assembly with the Republican People's Party (CHP).[1]

Tanrıkulu is from the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakır, Turkey. He attended law school in Istanbul, graduating in 1984. When he returned to Diyarbakır, he found it under emergency rule by the Turkish government and its mayor Mehdi Zana, husband of politician Leyla Zana, charged with separatism. Tanrıkulu became involved in Zana's case and soon became a full-time human rights lawyer.[2]

He is the co-founder of the Diyarbakır Human Rights Association and the Turkish Kurdistan representative of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey. He was indicted several times for his legal activities. In 1994, he was charged with "insulting the judiciary" after he appealed a conviction that had relied on a statement extracted by torture. From 1990 to 1995, six of his friends and colleagues were murdered for their work on human rights cases.[2]

In 1997, he won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, along with fellow attorney Senal Sarihan An award given each year to an individual whose courageous activism is at the heart of the human rights movement and in the spirit of Robert F. Kennedy's vision and legacy.[2]