Nurcan Baysal is a Kurdish author and human rights defender. She is also a regular columnist with the independent Turkish news site, Ahval.
She was born and grew up in Diyarbakır, where she has helped to establish a number of NGOs. For years she has worked to defend the rights of Western Turkey’s forcibly migrated Kurdish population, serving as an advisor or board member for various non-profit organizations. She is one of the founders of the Platform to Save Women Kidnapped by ISIS and of the Diyarbakir Political and Social Research Institute (DISA).
She is the author of O Gün (That Day), Kürdistan’da Sivil Toplum (Civil Society in Kurdistan, co-author), Ezidiler: 73. Ferman (Ezidis: 73rd Verdict) and O Sesler (Those Voices). She is one of the very few reporting from the inside the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, writing in particular on human rights and war crimes.
In 2017 Baysal was awarded the “Brave Women Journalists Award” presented by the Italian Women Journalists Association. In 2018 she was named Global Laureate for Human Rights Defenders at Risk by Front Line Defenders.
She was detained in 2018 because of her human rights work, had her home raided in 2019 for her reporting on Syria and was arrested again in 2020 for her coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in Turkey.