UN representative found evidence of torture in Turkish prisons

Turkish police detain a teacher during a protest in Diyarbakir in September. Photo: Ilyas Akengin/AFP
Turkish police detain a teacher during a protest in Diyarbakir in September. Photo: Ilyas Akengin/AFP


Date posted: December 3, 2016

Persons imprisoned in the crackdown after the attempted coup of July 15 and persons alleged to have links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) detailed incidents of ill-treatment in Turkish prisons to the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture.

“[T]orture and other forms of ill-treatment were widespread,” in the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup, stated Nils Melzer in a preliminary report on torture in Turkey published on Friday.

Melzer visited Turkey from November 27 to December 2 and investigated several prisons, where he was able to hold private meetings with inmates, including those alleged to have ties to the Gulen movement, which Ankara blames for the coup, and those detained or convicted in relation to the ongoing security forces’ operation in the Kurdish southeast.


The majority of the abuse occurred during the times of arrest and interrogation, his report noted, adding that most of those who have been subjected to torture have not filed complaints “for fear of retaliation against them and their families and because of their distrust in the independence of the prosecution and the judiciary.


He was also accompanied by a forensic expert who conducted medical examinations and found evidence that some inmates had been tortured.

While noting that Turkey has legislation to safeguard against torture and ill-treatment, Melzer described a “disconnect between policy and reality.

In the sweeping security measures and emergency legislation enacted after the coup, a “general sense of intimidation and distrust” developed in the population that prevented inmates, families, doctors, and lawyers from taking any action that could be deemed as critical of the government, Melzer noted. People feared retaliation from the security forces if they reported the ill-treatment.

As a consequence, incidents of torture and abuse have gone unreported.

While reports of torture and ill-treatment spiked in the first days and weeks after the attempted coup, Melzer noted that the ill-treatment of alleged coup plotters “appears to have ceased.”

In the Kurdish southeast, where the conflict between Turkish forces and the PKK was reignited in July 2015, “my team and I received numerous troubling testimonies of torture and other forms of ill-treatment of both male and female inmates suspected to be members or sympathizers of the PKK.”

The majority of the abuse occurred during the times of arrest and interrogation, his report noted, adding that most of those who have been subjected to torture have not filed complaints “for fear of retaliation against them and their families and because of their distrust in the independence of the prosecution and the judiciary.

Melzer noted that a law granting immunity to counter-terrorism forces has made it “difficult, if not impossible” to investigate reports of abuse, a situation compounded by the extraordinary measures brought in under the state of emergency imposed after the attempted coup.

Acknowledging the challenge the Turkish government faces given the volatile security situation in Turkey after the coup, Melzer stressed that torture and ill-treatment are never justified and urged Ankara to take a public stand against torture and investigate all allegations of ill-treatment.

In October, the rights monitor Human Rights Watch reported on 13 cases of alleged abuse of people arrested after the coup.

“By removing safeguards against torture, the Turkish government effectively wrote a blank cheque to law enforcement agencies to torture and mistreat detainees as they like,” the organization’s Europe and Central Asia director Hugh Williamson said.

Two days before Human Rights Watch’s report was released, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag insisted “there is no bad treatment or torture” in Turkey’s prisons, AFP reported at the time.

Source: Rudaw , December 2, 2016


Related News

Stay course in Gulen case

Ever since the failed July 15 coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his government has applied all of the pressure it can muster to extradite exiled cleric Fetullah Gulen.

Closing down prep schools another poor education policy decision

We are not convinced that shutting down prep schools will either improve quality of education in Turkey or increase educational equality,” said Batuhan Aydagül, director of the Education Reform Initiative (ERI or Eğitim Reformu Girişimi, ERG).

Fountain Magazine wins APEX Award for publication excellence

HizmetNews — September 4, 2013 The Fountain Magazine has received an Award of Excellence in publication in the 25th APEX Awards. APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. The Fountain was granted the award in an intense competition of some 2,400 entries in […]

Turkey targets the Gulen family

Turkish police detained Fethullah Gulen’s brother on Sunday. Fethullah is one of five siblings. He has three brothers – Mesih, Salih, and Kutbettin – and two sisters, Nurhayat and Fazilet. Turkey accuses the preacher of organizing the July 15 coup attempt. His organization denies any involvement in the coup.

Long Arm of Erdogan – His campaign should not be allowed to infiltrate the streets of Britain

Germany, dependent on Turkey to hold back the migrant flow to Europe, has been muted in its response. The United States, under pressure to push Mr Gulen out of his exile, has also tried to soothe nerves in Ankara. Britain should not be so amenable. This campaign should not be allowed to infiltrate the streets of Britain.

Gülen’s lawyer appeals arrest warrant

Nurullah Albayrak, the lawyer of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, has appealed the decision of the İstanbul 1st Penal Court of Peace to issue an arrest warrant for Gülen, citing illegality.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

We make peace with ourselves as we integrate with the world

Ex-ministers call on gov’t to abandon efforts to shut down Turkish schools

What is behind the schools associated with Gülen?

I object to AK Party’s ‘New Turkey’

Can the EU be blamed for Erdoğan’s authoritarianism?

Very bad things are happening in Turkey

11 Gülen sympathizers held hostage at Saudi hotel deported to Turkey

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News