Against the background of massive crackdown on critics and opponents in Turkey and widespread torture practices in detentions and prisons, 54 people were reported to have lost their lives, most under suspicious circumstances and under lock-up in the last eight months.
The 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices — the Human Rights Reports — released by the US State Department on Friday said that Turkish courts had imprisoned tens of thousands of people with little clarity on charges and evidence over their alleged links with a failed coup in July 2016 that was blamed on the Gülen movement.
Many public servants, including police officers and teachers, found themselves working at unskilled jobs in the labor market after being dismissed following decrees issued by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Y., the father of a 6-month-old disabled baby, was reportedly arrested almost three months ago over alleged links to the Gülen movement. The newly-born disabled baby has been left with the mother, who told the news portal that the baby underwent three expensive and crucial surgery in the past three months.
“Mehmet Tosun, 29 year-old, a judge of Council of State. Dismissed with a decree, arrested, got sick in prison, died yesterday, buried today,” Hüseyin Aygün, a former deputy of the main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP), tweeted on Tuesday.
Nearly seven months after former public worker B.K. was arrested, his wife and two children were also detained as part of a government witch hunt against the Gülen movement. She is also diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Twelve businessmen have been detained in Kayseri province for raising humanitarian relief for families of people jailed in an ongoing crackdown on the Gülen movement. According to the Milliyet daily, police detained the “suspects” at a meeting during which they were raising funds for victimized families.
“The day I was detained, five police officers took me to a mountain and beat the hell out of me. I have been kicked in the head and genital area tens of times. I managed to identify two of the torturers. One of them was called Nejdet and the other one was Battal. Yet, maybe they use nicknames…. I do not have strength to tell you about all the humiliating sexual torture I faced that night,” a victim said.
Tuğba Y., a teacher who lost her sanity due to alleged torture during weeks of interrogation, was arrested and has been kept in prison since late January despite doctors’ reports showing her deteriorating mental condition.
Hatice Kökoğlu, the mother of a disabled son and a daughter, has reportedly been detained in Kütahya province over alleged links to the Gülen movement. However, the two disabled children were left alone after their mother was recently taken into custody as part of an investigation launched by the Kütahya Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Yavuz Bölek, a former police chief who was dismissed from his job following corruption probes implicating Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has colorectal cancer and will soon be paralyzed if he is not given medical attention. His requests for treatment have been ignored.
An annual report released by Amnesty International on Wednesday has said a failed coup attempt in July prompted a massive crackdown on civil society in Turkey and that the faith-based Gülen movement has been the main target.
One of the 48 victims said his testicles had been crushed and that a hard object was inserted into his anus while in prison. “I was kept naked in the cold. I was beaten. Pressure was applied to my genital area. The pain didn’t stop for months. I am a bachelor, and I may never be a father,” he said.