Last update: 23-nov-20
European anti-torture committee reports allege abuse in Turkish detention facilities
The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on Wednesday published reports on its 2017 periodic visit and 2019 ad hoc visit to Turkey, raising several allegations of abuse of detainees at the hands of the Turkish authorities.
“The main objective of the 2017 and 2019 visits was to examine the treatment and conditions of detention of persons detained by the police/gendarmerie,” the Council of Europe said in a statement. “To this end, the CPT’s delegation interviewed hundreds of persons who were or had recently been held in police custody, including on suspicion of terrorism-related offences, in the Ankara, Diyarbakır and İstanbul area.”
The reports noted ongoing problems of arbitrary treatment, ill-treatment, unhealthy prison conditions, overcrowding, torture and harassment by officials, outlining the details of several such allegations.
“The CPT also remains concerned about the existence of legal restrictions regarding access to a lawyer during the initial phase of police custody for certain serious crimes, and it emphasises the importance for the prevention of ill-treatment of guaranteeing such access from the very outset of police custody,” the 2019 report noted.
“Further, despite the specific recommendations repeatedly made by the Committee after previous visits, the system of mandatory medical controls at the outset and end of police/gendarmerie custody remained fundamentally flawed,” it added.
“Moreover, the CPT notes with great concern that, in the same way as during previous visits to Turkey, the health-care services in the prisons visited were poorly resourced. For instance, at Silivri Prison No. 5 and Maltepe Prison No. 3, holding some 2,800 and 2,500 inmates respectively, there was only one doctor and five nurses. At Şanlıurfa T-type Prison No. 1, there was only one doctor and four nurses for almost 1,600 prisoners.”
“Moreover, several persons claimed that they had been threatened not to show their injuries by police officers present during medical controls.”
The 2019 report said “the problem of prison overcrowding remained acute, and the steady increase in the size of the prison population already observed in the mid-2000s continued. … Consequently, a large number of prisoners in these establishments did not have their own bed and had to sleep on mattresses placed on the floor.”
It also added that “all prisoners were being held in solitary confinement for most of the time (i.e. 159 hours out of 168 hours per week, including 24 hours per day at weekends). In the Committee’s view, such a state of affairs is not acceptable.”
The committee also underlined that its previous calls for an overhaul of Turkey’s detention regime were ignored by the government.
HRFT Documentation Center Human Rights Report September 2020 about torture and ill-treatment in Turkey.
The indictment against the teenagers arrives amid an investigation against a number of police officers accused of torturing the three youth while they remained under police custody.
The teenagers were detained in Feb. 2019 in their home in Van’s Hacıbekir neighbourhood and claimed police had tortured them during the detention process and following their arrival into police custody.
7 November 20020:
Cases of human rights violations in Turkey in October included 339 incidents of torture and maltreatment, with 200 of them taking place in prisons, a report drafted by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), revealed on Friday.
The report by Tanrıkulu, a prominent human rights activist and deputy head of a parliamentary committee on human rights, also indicated 42 violations of the right to life and 508 violations of freedom of speech as well as 354 violations of the freedom of assembly taking place during the same period.
According to the report, investigations were launched into five members of the press. Eight journalists were detained, four were arrested and 15 either received prison sentences or were sentenced to pay fines. A journalist was also attacked in October.
Police officers raided eight buildings belonging to political parties or organizations and arrested 50 politicians and political organization members, the report also said.
Tanrıkulu further underlined that a total of 194 people were detained and arrested in October for attending 58 events for the public release of statements and protests.
Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop on Saturday rejected a proposal submitted by Tanrıkulu for the creation of a special commission to investigate human rights violations in Turkish prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An inmate infected with COVID-19 in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison, which holds a large number of Turkey’s political prisoners, recently revealed that he and more than 40 other prisoners are being kept in a ward that was designed to accommodate only seven people.
The inmate also reported that they receive seven rations of food for around 40 people almost every day and have only two bathrooms and one kitchen sink, which creates tension between the prisoners who have to wait all the time to take care of their basic needs.
Although Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government adopted a law in April to release thousands of inmates to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the coronavirus, it excluded political prisoners. Tens of thousands of people have been imprisoned on terror-related charges as part of a crackdown launched by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the aftermath of an attempted coup in 2016. Most of those people were merely critical of the government and had not engaged in any criminal activity
6 August 2020:
Turkish police ill-treatment of detainees needs decisive action
Decisive action needs to be taken over the Turkish police’s ill-treatment of detainees, the Council of Europe said in a report published on Wednesday. The report by the council’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) laid out its findings from an ad hoc visit to Turkey in 2019 to examine the treatment and safeguards afforded to detainees.
|Report: Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey|
The CPT said that, compared to the findings of the 2017 visit, the severity of alleged police ill-treatment appears to have diminished. “However, the frequency of allegations remains at a worrying level,” it said.
“The Committee stresses once again the need for more decisive action by all relevant authorities in order to combat the phenomenon of police ill-treatment in Turkey and reiterates its recommendation that a clear and firm message of ‘zero tolerance’ of ill-treatment be delivered to all law enforcement officials, from the highest political level, namely the President of the Republic.” Read the full article
Human Rights Council
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
20–31 January 2020
Summary of Stakeholders' submissions on Turkey
Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights page 4:
Administration of justice, including impunity, and the rule of law58
|Incarceration of turkish lawyers|
26. Several stakeholders observed an escalation of torture and violence towards detainees
while at the same time security personal who may have committed crimes on behalf of the
government, enjoyed immunity from prosecution during and after the attempted coup.
They recommended abrogating any provision that grants retroactive immunity from any legal,
administrative, financial and criminal liability with respect to the perpetration of acts of torture or other ill-treatment, particularly Emergency Decree-Laws Nos. (667, art. 9(1), 2016), (668 art. 37) and (696 art. 121), and related Articles of the Law No. 4483.59 The
Former public servants who were detained on Wednesday (19 Dec 2019.) over membership in the faith-based Gülen movement were subjected to ill treatment and threatened with sexual abuse, according to an opposition deputy, the Euronews Turkish service reported.
Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said relatives and lawyers of the detainees have reached out to him with complaints.
“They say the detainees were stripped naked and beaten. In a dark room [at the detention center] they were also threatened with sexual abuse,” Gergerlioğlu told Euronews.
Meanwhile a group of lawyers from the Ankara Bar Association went to the detention center to speak with the detainees and officials investigating the claims.
In May the bar association issued a report revealing that a group of former public servants were subjected to torture in an Ankara detention center for suspects charged with terrorism.
On Wednesday the Ankara police detained 18 former public servants who were dismissed from their jobs by government decrees in the aftermath of a 2016 failed coup after the chief prosecutor’s office ordered the detention of 27 over Gülen links.
Turkey accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the coup attempt, although it strongly denies any involvement.
According to the Bold Medya news website, the detainees were former employees of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
A detainee’s wife told Bold Medya that her husband was among those who were threatened.
“[Police] displayed greased glass bottles, implying the threat of sexual abuse to the detainees. They intimidated the detainees and signaled that they would start torturing them in further interrogations,” the wife of H. Ç., a former MİT employee, said.
The former civil servants are still in detention, reports suggest.
Recently, a new court was established in Ankara to hear trials specifically of former MİT staff members.
Since the failed coup more than 130,000 public servants have been dismissed from their jobs on allegations of terrorism.
29 May 2020:
Bar Association Report: Former diplomats sexually abused with batons and tortured
The Ankara Bar Association has prepared a report regarding the allegations of torture in custody in the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau of the Ankara Directorate General of Security.
Signed by the Center for Lawyers’ Rights, Prison Council and Center for Human Rights affiliated with the Ankara Bar Association, the report has shared detailed information on the allegations of torture, including the accounts of the ones who claim that they were tortured in custody.
|Unjust arrests and convictions|
On May 26, 2019, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu posted a message on his Twitter account and said, “There are allegations of torture in Ankara Security.”
In the following days, it was reported in the news that around 100 diplomats, who were previously discharged from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by a statutory decree and were being held in custody in the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau, were tortured in detention. Read the full article/report
8 March 2020:
Eighty university students who were detained in police operations on the morning of Feb. 28 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement have been interrogated for days at the Ankara Police Department and subjected to torture.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Lawyers and family members of the students told Bold Medya that the detained students have been kept in police custody at the Ankara Police Department for days, where they are subjected to humiliation and torture.
The police officers interrogating the students, who were still minors when the coup attempt took place, reportedly told them, “If only a war had broken out on July 15 and we had killed all of you.”
The students in detention are both male and female. Contrary to legal procedure, the students have been interrogated three times in a day, and their interrogation sometimes lasts until the early hours of the morning. The female students who are handcuffed from behind have been punched by male police officers on their backs, shoulders and bellies, according to Bold Medya, which based its report on the records of the Ankara Bar Association.
The male students have been forced to undress, have had plastic bags put over their heads, punched in the head and beaten.
All these acts of torture are perpetrated by police officers who don’t reveal their identity and in rooms lacking security cameras, according to Bold Medya.
The students are reportedly being asked questions about the new organization efforts of the Gülen movement.
Some of the students’ parents have been removed from their jobs or jailed due to alleged Gülen links.
18 May 2020:
Prosecutor rules no need for probe into death of teacher tortured in custody
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has once again ruled that there is no need to investigate the death of teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who was allegedly tortured in police custody and subsequently died during a post-coup purge in August 2016, the tr724 news website reported.
Following a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, Açıkkollu was detained on July 24, 2016 on trumped-up charges of coup plotting and terrorism and remained
|The rights to defense fair trial in turkey|
in police custody for 13 days, during which time he was subjected to both physical and psychological torture until he died.
Açıkkollu’s wife, Tülay, tweeted on Saturday that the prosecutor’s office, which ruled in January 2020 that there was no need to further investigate the death of Açıkkollu, has once again issued the same ruling, this time without hearing the witnesses, examining the video records of the 13 days when Açıkkollu was held in custody or examining an additional autopsy report.“Damn your order,” she said. Read the full article
19 December 2019:
Waterboarding, electroshock used on Turkish officers in secret General Staff compound
A secret torture center was set up in the Turkish General Staff headquarters where waterboarding and electroshock tactics were used on pro-NATO officers, documents reveal.
According to a written statement by 1st Lt. Yalçın Toker, an officer serving under the chief of staff in the General Secretariat’s planning department, many of his colleagues who
were detained in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016 were subjected to torture in order to coerce false confessions. In a petition filed with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office from his cell in Sincan Prison on November 7, 2016, Toker revealed details of torture in an unofficial detention facility at General Staff headquarters. Read the full article
|Client Mahsum Aka||Abdulselam Aslan||Cemal Aslan|
|Halil Aslan||Client A.K||Client B.O|
|Client I.K||Client Ö.A||Client O.D|
|C.G.||Mesut Geçer||Hasan Kobalay|
|Yasin Ugan||"University lecturer A|
26 November 2019:
Turkish lawyer exposes torture of client detained over Gülen links
A Turkish lawyer on Saturday said his client, who was detained last week as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, was subjected to torture during his detention in Ankara, the Bold Medya news website reported. The detainee, identified only by the initials N.C., told Rıdvan Çobanoğlu, a lawyer from the Ankara Bar Association, that seven policemen interrogated him at 2 a.m., beating and threatening him with sexual abuse.
|Bylock report by the arrested lawyers|
N.C. also revealed the name of a police officer, Abdulkadir Yılmaztürk, who was personally involved in the torture. After speaking with his client, Çobanoğlu brought officials from the Ankara Bar Association to the detention center in an effort to convince staff to stop torture during interrogations, he told Bold Medya, but they were not allowed to enter the facility
Çobanoğlu said N.C. was in agony and had difficulty walking normally when they met, adding that his client was tortured again after telling him what had happened during interrogations. N.C. was among 77 individuals who were taken into custody after the issuance of detention warrants by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office over alleged Gülen links.
HDP Youth Assembly Members Tortured in Detention.
Detained in police raids in several cities, 36 members of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Youth Assembly have been held at the İstanbul Security Directorate for six days.
The HDP İstanbul Provincial Organization said today (November 13) in a statement that they have been tortured in detention, according to Gülay Alabuga, a member of the HDP İstanbul Provincial Assembly. They have been subjected to "naked search and beating," she said.
|One way ticket to torture/unfair trial|
"The hostile approach of the police at the time of detention turned to imposing a naked search during the placement into the cells and subsequently to assault and torture," Alabuga added. The 36 people were detained because of chanting anti-war slogans at the HDP İstanbul 3rd Ordinary Congress, Alabuga noted.
"The AKP-MHP bloc's unlawful and arbitrary policies of repression have been replaced by systematic torture practices," she said, referring to the alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Alabuga said torture should end and the detained HDP members should be released. Ayşe Acar Başaran, an HDP MP and the spokesperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Human Rights, also called the government to "end the crime of torture." "They began a hunger strike against torture, ill-treatment and degrading treatment," she said.
6 November 2019:
Three Police Officers Sued for Torturing Writer Under Detention
İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Offices has filed a lawsuit against three police officers who were determined to have tortured investigative writer Muhammed Cihad Ebrari, the son of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Hüda Kaya.Ebrari was detained on November 6, 2016, in a protest against the arrest of HDP MPs and suffered fractures in his spinal cord as a result of police violence.
Written three years after the incident, the indictment included reports about the police officers by the
|International Law Breaches Concerning the Independence of Legal Profession in Turkey|
Ministry of Interior. The inspector reports stated that defendant police officers H.Ç., İ.Y. and N.S.D. "exceeded the limits of the authority of using force" and "it was not an obligation to remove those attended the demonstration from the demonstration area in this way and it was possible to remove them with not taking any action or more appropriate actions."
After the examination of the inspector reports, footage and minutes, the prosecutor stated that the three police officers committed the offense of "deliberately injuring some in such a way that causes bone fractures by exceeding the limits of the authority of using force." The prosecutor requested the police officers be trial for "deliberately inflicting pain on another person's body or causing another person's health or perception capability to be impaired." Read the full article
9 August 2019:
Bar association reports ill treatment of inmates by guards in Turkey’s east
The Diyarbakır Bar Association has announced that scores of inmates in a high security prison in eastern Elazığ province were physically battered by guards, the Artı Gerçek news website reported on Friday. After a visit to the prison during which he and his colleagues met with inmates, bar chairman Cihat Aydın shared his observations at a press briefing.
Aydın said some inmates showed traces of physical violence and swelling on their bodies. He
|Lawyers and human rights defenders in Turkey|
estimated that some 50 inmates were subjected to mistreatment based on the reported number of cells where prison guards entered to beat them. Aydın added that the prison administration refused to meet with them and that the bar has filed criminal charges with the Elazığ Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
He also said the inmates were unable to have their voices heard since their petitions to authorities were delivered too late, if ever. “This indifference by the relevant authorities has led to an increase in rights violations in the prison,” he said.
26 May 2019:
Amnesty International campaigns for detainees in southeast Turkey over torture claims
Amnesty International's Turkey branch has launched a campaign calling for "independent medical examination" for detainees in the country's southeastern Halfeti district following severe human rights violations reports.
"Twenty-five people are still kept under detention by Şanlıurfa Counter-Terrorism Branch and these people are under threat of torture and maltreating. Detainees should immediately be provided independent medical examination," rights group Amnesty International said on Saturday.
After an armed conflict between Turkish police and the alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on May 18, one police officer died. Fifty-four people were detained as a part of an investigation launched by prosecutors in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa's Halfeti district.
Şanlıurfa Bar Association Human Rights Center said on Twitter that the detainees, including children, were tortured by the police.
Amnesty International said there were at least 25 people under custody by the counter-terrorism police since Saturday.
"According to the information given by the lawyers of the detainees, many of them have physical injury marks, bruises and cuts on their faces, legs and bodies," the rights group said.
The police shocked genitalia of at least four detainees and assaulted them during detention, Amnesty said in its campaign.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party lawmaker Meral Danış Beştaş said on Twitter that "they (police) no longer need to hide the torture. No matter where such scenes occur, no Minister of Interior could remain in office even for a minute."
Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın said the following on his social media account:
"- It is reminiscent of Auschwitz,
No, be calm, this is a garden of a gendarmerie station in Bozova, Urfa...!
- Those who were handcuffed behind are the Kurdish people who wait for the fast-breaking time."
PKK, designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, has fought a three-decade armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey.
On 10 December 2018, the Human Rights Day, Human Rights Association announced its 2018 Violations of Rights in Turkey
In the chapter "TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT, page 9 and 10 they write:
• A total of 538 individuals applied to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) within the first 11 months of 2018 with allegations that they were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Out of these, 280 applicants stated that they were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in the same year.
|Turkish diplomat describes physical and sexual
abuse in detainment,
Ankara dismisses as “baseless”
• According to data provided by the Human Rights Association (İHD), on the other hand, 10 a total of 2,719 individuals were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment within the first 11 months of 2018. These include 284 cases of beating and other forms of ill-treatment in detention, 175 cases in extra-custodial places, and 2,260 cases at meetings and demonstrations intervened by security forces.
Moreover, allegations of torture and ill-treatment gradually increased in prisons in Turkey, while the documentation of exact figures is still pending. For further information on the issue, please consult İHD’s special reports on prisons.1 Read the report
Torture and Ill-Treatment in Custody
Cases of torture and ill-treatment in police custody were widely reported through 2017, especially by individuals detained under the anti-terror law, marking a reverse in long-standing progress, despite the government’s stated zero tolerance for torture policy. There were widespread reports of police beating detainees, subjecting them to prolonged stress positions and threats of rape, threats to lawyers, and interference with medical examinations.
|Amnesty International campaigns for detainees in
over torture claims
There were credible reports of unidentified perpetrators believed to be state agents abducting men in at least six cases, and holding them in undisclosed places of detention in circumstances that amounted to possible enforced disappearances. At least one surfaced in official custody and three others were released after periods of two to three months. The men had all been dismissed from civil service jobs for Gülenist connections.
15 January 2017:
Prosecutor drops torture complaint due to impunity under state of emergency
A document recently issued by a prosecutor’s office in Trabzon stated that there are no grounds to investigate a torture complaint since police officers can act with impunity under the current state of emergency in Turkey.
A few minor Turkish news portals published the document on Sunday displaying the reasoning for dropping charges against police officers who allegedly tortured a plaintiff under detention.
However, the prosecutor’s office in Trabzon stated that given the impunity granted by Article 9 in decree No. 667, police officers cannot be held accountable for their actions.
The prosecutor’s office issued the decision on Jan. 5, stating that no public investigation is possible as suspects cannot be subject to investigation.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT)
The Session on Turkey and the Kurdstook place in Paris on 15-16 March 2018. The PPT announced its Judgment in the European Parliament on 24 May 2018.
There are significant findings and allegations covering a wide area that point out to a great increase in recent cases of torture and other ill-treatment practices implemented in order to punish and/or intimidate and/or exercise power over persons and/or used as instruments of criminal procedure (intended for extracting confession or information / “collecting evidence”).
TURKEY 2018 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY page 4-5 and 6:
Melzer said he was alarmed by allegations that large numbers of individuals suspected of links to the Gulen movement or PKK were exposed to brutal interrogation techniques aimed at extracting forced confessions or coercing detainees to incriminate others. Reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults, and sexual assault. The special rapporteur said authorities appeared not to have taken any serious measures to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.
|Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East January – December 2017, March 2018|
|Amnesty says has 'credible evidence' of torture of Turkey coup detainees|
|Erdoğan Regime Behind Forced Disappearances - Investigation|
|Human Rights Watch World Report 2018, Turkey|
|Jailed Turkish admiral exposes torture he was subjected to|
|Police beat, put Kurdish minors' head into toilet bowl in Turkey's southeast|
|Turkey torture claims in wake of failed coup|
|Turkish journalist tells horrific stories of people abducted by MİT, tortured in Ankara building|
|Victims of Turkish crackdown deserve more than a pardon|