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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                    

Republic of Turkey

Human Rights Watch has reported that security officers specifically target Kurds, Gülenists, and leftists with torture and degrading treatment, and operate in an environment of impunity. Prosecutors do not consistently investigate allegations of torture.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Turkey

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Turkey.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Torture Has Reached "Unprecedented Levels"

Uzay Bulut, International Policy Council, Gatestone Institute, 27 July 2022

[accessed 28 July 2022]

"We saw his body while washing it. There was a scar on his neck as if he had been hanged with a clothesline. Both of his eyes had burst. Blood was coming from his eyes. His nose was completely broken and filled with cotton. There was such a large swelling and bruise on his chest it looked as if a tree had been stuck there. His upper lip was almost as big as a palm. His right foot was stitched." — Hikmet Yılmaz, elder brother of Ferhan Yılmaz, evidently tortured to death in Silivri prison on April 10, 2022.

"Both of his hands have cuts and stitches.... His whole body is bruised.... He can't see any more. They tortured him so much he has lost his eyesight. They hit him so much in the head that his head shakes all the time. His eyes start moving as if he had a stroke.... He has seven stitches on one arm and six on the other...They put him in a cell where there was feces of other prisoners. They told him to eat the feces. They beat my son and hanged him twice. And then removed him from the rope. He also hanged himself once... He said they made him do it... They put a razor blade there and told him to cut himself. They waited there so he had to cut himself." — Beyaz Çelik, mother of prisoner Halil Kasal, who was tortured at Silivri Prison.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Turkey

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 9 August 2021]


Domestic and international human rights groups reported disappearances during the year that they alleged were politically motivated.

In February the Ankara Bar Association filed a complaint with the Ankara prosecutor on behalf of seven men reportedly “disappeared” by the government, who surfaced in police custody in 2019. One of the men, Gokhan Turkmen, a civil servant dismissed under state of emergency powers following the 2016 coup attempt, alleged in a pretrial hearing that intelligence officials visited him in prison, threatened him and his family, and urged him to retract his allegations that he was abducted and tortured while in custody. In April the Ankara prosecutor declined to investigate Turkmen’s complaints. Six of the seven men were in pretrial detention on terrorism charges at year’s end. The whereabouts of the seventh were unknown.


Reports from human rights groups indicated that police abused detainees outside police station premises and that mistreatment and alleged torture was more prevalent in some police facilities in parts of the southeast. The HRA reported receiving complaints from 573 individuals alleging they were subjected to torture and other forms of mistreatment while in custody or at extracustodial locations from January through November. The HRA reported that intimidation and shaming of detainees by police were common and that victims hesitated to report police abuse due to fear of reprisal.

In its World Report 2020, Human Rights Watch stated: “A rise in allegations of torture, ill-treatment and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment in police custody and prison over the past four years has set back Turkey’s earlier progress in this area. Those targeted include Kurds, leftists, and alleged followers of Fethullah Gulen. Prosecutors do not conduct meaningful investigations into such allegations and there is a pervasive culture of impunity for members of the security forces and public officials implicated.”


Rule of law advocates noted that broad use of pretrial detention had become a form of summary punishment, particularly in cases that involved politically motivated terrorism charges.

The trial system does not provide for a speedy trial, and trial hearings were often months apart, despite provisions in the code of criminal procedure for continuous trial. Trials sometimes began years after indictment, and appeals could take years more to reach conclusion.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes two reports on Turkey

Executive Summary, CPT/Inf (2020) 24,  5 August 2020

[accessed 5 August 2020]

POLICE CUSTODY - As was the case during the CPT’s 2017 visit, the delegation received a considerable number of allegations of excessive use of force and/or physical ill-treatment by police/gendarmerie officers from persons who had recently been taken into custody (including women and juveniles). These allegations mainly  consisted  of  slaps,  kicks,  punches  (including  to  the  head  and/or face)  and  truncheon  blows after the persons concerned had been handcuffed or otherwise brought under control. A significant proportion  of  the  allegations  related  to  beatings  during  transport  or  inside  law  enforcement establishments, apparently with the aim of securing confessions or obtaining other information, or as a punishment. Further, numerous detained persons claimed to have been subjected to threats and/or severe verbal abuse. Moreover, a number of allegations were once again received of excessive use of force  and/or  physical  ill-treatment  by  members  of  the  mobile  motorcycle  intervention  teams  (so-called ‘Yunus’)  in  Istanbul.  In  a  number  of  cases,  the  allegations  of  physical  ill-treatment  were supported  by  medical  evidence,  such  as  bodily  injuries  documented  in  medical  records  or  directly observed by medical members of the delegation.

Turkey drops investigation into demise of teacher who was tortured to death

Stockholm Center for Freedom SCF, 19 May 2020

[accessed 19 May 2020]

The Istanbul chief public prosecutor has decided to drop an investigation into the death of Gökhan Açıkkolu, a teacher who died after enduring 13 days of torture and abuse in police custody in İstanbul, the Kronos news website reported.

Açıkkollu died under suspicious circumstances on August 5, 2016 while in police custody after suffering a heart attack. It has previously been documented with witness statements and medical reports that he had endured torture during his 13 days in custody.

Nordic Monitor reveals content of censored Council of Europe torture report on Turkey

Nordic Monitor, 11 May 2020

[accessed 11 May 2020]

“I was struck all over my body, especially my face, eyes and head. I was gasping for breath and collapsed on the floor, whereupon they lifted me up and continued the same treatment. I sustained many fractures to the head, blood was flowing from all over my body, which continued for a long time. I do not exactly remember when the bleeding stopped. But what I know for sure is that the blood was never wiped away but instead dried on my body,” he recalled.

The spree of blows and cursing continued during his entrance into the building. At a certain point, his shirt torn away, his trousers and shoes removed, he was thrown into a ward in his underwear. Yet, his ordeal did not stop there.

“In the ward, I was kept on my knees facing the wall for a long time under a shower of blows and insults.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 15 May 2020]


Torture at the hands of authorities has remained common after the 2016 coup attempt and subsequent state of emergency. Human Rights Watch has reported that security officers specifically target Kurds, Gülenists, and leftists with torture and degrading treatment, and operate in an environment of impunity. Prosecutors do not consistently investigate allegations of torture, and the government has resisted the publication of a European Committee for the Prevention of Torture report on its detention practices.

Lawyers demand release of tortured prisoner held in Turkey

Steve Sweeney, Morning Star, 17 March 2020

[accessed 7 April 2020]

Ezgi Cakir of the People’s Law Office visited Mr Kocak in the high-security Kiriklar F-Type prison in the west coast city of Izmir today.

Speaking in a video message filmed outside the jail, she said that her client showed signs of beating and torture, with his veins bursting as a result of his treatment at the hands of security officials.

Mr Kocak had been tied up and hung while his arms and feet were handcuffed, she said.

She said that he was kept like this for five days during which time he was raped with a baton while prison doctors, guards and the police stood laughing alongside members of the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation.

He was not allowed to use the bathroom and was forced to sit in his own urine and faeces as prison officials refused to clean him, she said.

German-Turkish journalist says Erdogan let him be tortured in Istanbul prison

TurkeyPurge 11 May 11 2019

[accessed 11 May 2019]

For the first time since being released from Turkish custody, German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücelspoke about the torture he experienced while being held in pretrial detention at a prison near Istanbul.

In addition to verbal insults, Yücel told the court that he was also exposed to physical violence, including blows to his feet, chest, back and the back of his head. The assaults always took place where no cameras were installed.

In a library at the prison, one of the guards punched Yücel hard in the face. Another guard threatened him, saying: “What are the Germans paying you to betray your fatherland? Speak or I’ll rip out your tongue.”

Yücel said that there was no doubt in his mind that the abuse he suffered in prison amounted to torture.

“The extent of the violence was not too great; it was less about inflicting physical pain than about humiliating and intimidating me. Perhaps they wanted to provoke a reaction out of me. But even so, this was a case of torture,” he said.

The psychological element to the mistreatment also qualified it as torture. Yücel said that the abuse “was carried out in an organized way that sought to systematically violate the dignity of the person being abused.”

Erdogan's hunt for Gülenists, at home and abroad, includes abductions, torture and disappearances

AsiaNews, Istanbul, 20 December 2018,-at-home-and-abroad,-includes-abductions,-torture-and-disappearances-45796.html

[accessed 23 December 2018]

One of them is Tolga, who was abducted in an Ankara street last year and was held for 92 days (which he counted by placing small paper balls in the cracks of the walls of his cell every time he got the first of his two paltry meals).

In this three-month period, he lost 21 kilos and endured beatings, electric shocks, sleep deprivation and sexual abuse. He remembers with surgical precision the protocols used "in the archipelago" of torture, perpetrated by "professionals" linked "to the State".

Turkish teacher tells story of horrific torture under 30-day police detention in Ankara

Stockholm Center for Freedom SCF, 2 November 2018

[accessed 6 November 2018]

“I was subjected to severe torture. They threatened me, saying, ‘Either you will talk or you’re going to die.’ After they tortured me, they showed me to my wife. They said, ‘There’s no way out for you, your wife won’t leave here, either.’ They increased the dose of torture day by day. They threatened me by saying that they were going to rape my wife. They put a bag over my head. I couldn’t breathe. I started to think I was dying.”

These sentences belong to Mustafa K. (40), a Turkish teacher who was detained and tortured as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement. Journalist Sevinç Özarslan interviewed Mustafa K. and wrote his horrifying story for online news outlet GriHat.

Suspicious Deaths and Suicides in Turkey

Stockholm Center for Freedom SCF, March 2017

[accessed 6 August 2018]

SCF is committed to serving as a reference source by providing a broader picture of rights violations in Turkey, monitoring daily developments on fact-based investigative journalism and documenting individual cases of the infringement of fundamental rights. The founders of SCF are top-notch journalists who had managed national dailies in Turkey and worked for leading media outlets before they were forced to leave. They have the expertise, human resources and network on the ground to track events in Turkey despite serious challenges.

Probe Launched into Torture of Construction Worker at Police Station in Urfa

Ayça Söylemez, BIA News Desk, İstanbul, 20 July 2018

[accessed 22 July 2018]

Living homeless in Mardin, construction worker D.D. was heavily tortured when he was caught by police with a fake ID that he was carrying for tobacco trafficking, and then he was arrested. Torture continued at Security Directorate where he taken to after being arrested.

D.D. told that he was subjected to “electric torture, sexual torture, strap and falanga” for six days in Akçakale District Gendarmerie Commandership and Şehit Nusret Bey Gendarmerie Posts, and three days in Urfa Security Directorate after being arrested.

Report: Turkish soldiers torture Kurdish shepherds in Şemdinli

Stockholm Center for Freedom SCF, 1 June 2018

[accessed 3 June 2018]

Taş (56) told MA that a group of eight soldiers approached them and asked where members of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were. Taş said: “We told them that we just woke up and took our animals out, so we didn’t know. As soon as we said that, the soldiers started to torture us. They took my staff and started to beat me with it. Then they beat us with the butts of their guns. They kicked and slapped us for a long time. After this torture they took me to the banks of the river, pushed my head in the water and said, ‘You are a terrorist, we will kill you.’ They beat us for over two hours.”

Taş said they lost consciousness due to the torture and that their relatives found them hours later at the top of a mountain in a woodland area out of sight where they had been left to die.

Abducted Turkish citizen subjected to heavy torture at Ankara Organized Crime Bureau

Stockholm Center for Freedom SCF, 22 April 2018

[accessed 24 April 2018]

Ümit Horzum,  a Turkish citizen who was abducted from his car in Ankara on December 6, 2017 and handed over to the Ankara police last Monday, is being subjected to torture, torment and excruciating pain at the Ankara Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau, Turkish journalists Erk Acarer and Bülent Ceyhan tweeted.

According to journalist Ceyhan, who tweeted on Friday, Horzum is being held at the Ankara Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau and sustained broken ribs and a burst eardrum after he was brought there.

UN expert says deeply concerned by rise in torture allegations

UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Geneva, 27 February 2018

[accessed 24 March 2018]

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish police custody since the end of his official visit to the country in December 2016.

Melzer said he was alarmed by allegations that large numbers of individuals suspected of links to the Gülenist Movement or the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party 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 no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.

Kurdish reporter sentenced to more than 8 years

Ozgun Ozcer, Xindex, 19 December 2017

[accessed 20 December 2017]

A MESSAGE TO ALL JOURNALISTS - “No legal action was taken against the police, despite 20 witnesses confessing to having testified against Türfent under police pressure. One of the witnesses even told the court during the first hearing that police pulled two of his teeth with pliers in order to get a testimony from him,” Fatih Polat, the editor-in-chief of the left-wing daily Evrensel, told Index on Censorship. “Eventually, Türfent was handed a sentence [with terms] arranged by [the police].”

Police torture reported in Southeast Turkey

Ahval News, 4 December 2017

[accessed 4 December 2017]

“Physical torture was carried out: electrocution, bastinado, beatings, etc.” he wrote in his submission to the association.

He cannot use his left hand from the wrist down. His nose is covered in wounds and there are scars across different parts of his body. There is extreme bruising above the left part of his groin. The scars resemble those made through electrocution. He struggles to talk and his entire body shakes.

Despite all this, my brother has not been brought to a doctor. His arrest and torture continue.

Alternative report to the Committee against Torture – Turkey [PDF]

London Legal Group, London, March 2016

[accessed 8 August 2017]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY -- Excessive use of force by police officers and prison guards continues  to be extensively practiced in Turkey.  In Turkey’s detention facilities, overcrowding and poor living conditions remain unresolved, and torture and ill-treatment of inmates, including beatings, sexual and psychological harassment, and rapes, are still common.  Turkey does not respect principles of juvenile justice and Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws allow juveniles to be detained for their alleged participation in pro-Kurdish protests.  In 2014, there were 133 reported cases of torture against children by either police officers or prison guards. Serious cases of child abuse have been documented, in particular in Pozanti, Mugla, Sincan and Şakran juvenile prison facilities.

Failed Turkish coup attempt sympathizers suffer torture & rape – Amnesty

Russia Today - RT News Network, 24 Jul, 2016

[accessed 25 July 2016]

According to these reports, police held detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denied them food, water and medical treatment, verbally abused and threatened them and subjected them to beatings and torture, including rape and sexual assault.

Based on the information given by a person on duty at Ankara Police Headquarters’ sports hall to Amnesty, a detainee suffered severe wounds after apparently being beaten by police. He could not stand up or focus his eyes and he eventually lost consciousness. Police refused to allow this detainee to receive basic medical treatment and a police doctor reportedly said: “Let him die. We will say he came to us dead.”

According to the evidence obtained by Amnesty, 650-800 male soldiers were being held in the Ankara police headquarters sports hall. At least 300 of them had signs proving that they were beaten, with some of them even having broken bones. About 40 were unable to walk because of serious injuries sustained in custody.

Torture in Turkey

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (irct)

Developed in collaboration with SOHRAM-CASRA (Centre for social Action, Rehabilitation and Readjustment for Victims of Torture), TOHAV (Foundation for Social and Legal Studies) and TIHV/HRFT (Human Rights Foundation Turkey), August 2014

[accessed 23 June 2015]

Torture and ill-treatment remains a systematic problem in Turkey. The occurrence of torture and other forms of ill-treatment has increased in recent years alongside regressive legal amendments and the changed practices and attitudes of State authorities.

Measure introduced to prevent suicides in prison a form of torture for inmates

Today's Zaman, Ankara , April 24, 2015

[accessed 10 May 2015]

The prisoners are monitored by guards who go from cell to cell asking each prisoner every thirty minutes if she is OK, a practice that has become torture for the prisoners at night.

“The inmates who were sentenced to life imprisonment are made to live in isolation for the rest of their life. They are neither instructed to work nor allowed to talk with others. These people are not monsters. The [Interior] Ministry, instead of improving the conditions in prison, tells guards to ask [the prisoners] if they are OK,” said Ülgen.

European court convicts Turkey in police torture case

Today's Zaman, Istanbul, 18 March 2015

[accessed 31 March 2015]

[accessed 8 August 2017]

The European Court of Human Rights has convicted Turkey in a case filed by a man who complained he had been subjected to ill-treatment at the hands of the Turkish police during his detention in 2000.

The man, Şükrü Yıldız, was detained on Dec. 10, 2000, as he, along with three other people, was writing slogans on walls in İstanbul. Police fired shots as they moved to detain the men. During the detention, one of the men sustained an injury to the ear and another suffered head wounds, from which he later died. Yıldız, who sustained minor head injuries, said in his application to the European court that during his detention police officers kicked him in the head while forcing him to get inside their car. He was hospitalized until Dec. 18, 2000, and underwent an operation for a skull fracture with a depression in the right parietal region, according to a press release issued by the court on Tuesday.

The European court ruled that Turkey violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


COMBATING IMPUNITY - Great obstacles remain in securing justice for victims of abuses by police, military, and state officials. In April 2014, the government introduced a law giving immunity from prosecution to personnel of the National Intelligence Agency (Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT), unless the agency itself expressly authorizes prosecution. This measure, which is incompatible with Turkey’s human rights obligations, creates a risk that intelligence personnel might be immune from accountability for serious human rights violations committed during their duties, including torture. At time of writing, the law was under appeal before the Constitutional Court.

Despite thousands of killings and disappearances of Kurds by state officials in the 1990s, only a handful of trials of officials have taken place. The 20-year statute of limitations on the prosecution of unlawful killings remains a major obstacle to justice and many cases risk being timed out without urgent action to address it. Stronger efforts to combat impunity are vital to support the Kurdish peace process. In June, a military court upheld a decision of non-prosecution in the case of the attack by the Turkish Air Force in December 2011 that killed 34 Kurdish villagers near the village of Roboski (Ortasu) close to the Iraqi Kurdistan border.

Six policemen arrested for torture in Istanbul police station

Doğan News Agency, Istanbul, 26 November 2014

[accessed 14 December 2014]

The 26-year-old man, identified only by the initials Ş.Ş., went to the Sultanbeyli Fatih Police station to receive a subpoena two weeks ago. While there, two groups who had been in a fight requested his help to mediate, after which he told them to ask for the police’s help and left the station.

Ş.Ş. was allegedly called by the police again to help mediate between the two groups. He returned to the station, where one police officer allegedly shouted him, “Who do you think you are? How can you mediate here?”

The man says he was then beaten by several police officers with batons, the butts of their guns, and claims that they attempted to push a soda bottle into his anus. He later received a medical report saying that he could work for 15 days due to injuries sustained.

Mother follows son into suicide following latter’s torture by police

Hürriyet Daily News, Istanbul, 3 March 2014

[accessed 13 March 2014]

“While I was in custody, I forced to take off all my clothes. They told me to lean against the wall. I was made to cough, and I was forced for a while to wait while squatting. They then made me listen to the voice of someone crying and pleading with the police. I was hit and subjected to verbal insults,” he said.

Onur Yaser Can said he was again called to the police station on June 3, 2010, on the grounds that there had been a problem with the date on his initial testimony. The architect said police again threatened him, demanded that he become an informant and forced him to sign a different statement before releasing him.

Still operating the under alleged impression that he was a drug dealer, police began following Onur Yaser Can. On June 23, 2010, he was again called to the station; however, fearing a repeat of the earlier torture and threats, the man committed suicide.

New anti-torture agency to start its work

Journal of Turkish Weekly JTW, 1 March 2014

[accessed 1 March 2014]

In a statement following the symposium, TIHV said the anti-torture agency lacks the authority, structure, resources, functional independence, and legal protection to fulfil its duties. Since the anti-torture mechanism has no independent budget and only 70 staff members, critics say it will struggle to supervise the country's detention centres: 1,326 gendarmerie posts in the southeast, almost 400 prisons, and police stations in all 81 provinces and 831 counties.

Warden Sentenced to Life For “Neglecting Torture”

Ayça Söylemez, BIA News, İstanbul, 11 November 2013

[accessed 11 Nov 2013]

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals announced its verdict on Engin Çeber case, approving the life sentence of a prison administrator for “neglecting torture” setting a landmark to find a prison warden guilty even though he didn’t directly take part of torture.

The court approved the life sentences for guardians Selahattin Apaydın and Sami Ergazi as well as former prison warden Fuat Karaosmanoğlu.

"Warden Karaosmanoğlu did not participate in the torture sessions. He was merely the superior of those who tortured [Çeber] and failed to stop them when he could. He consequently received a life-time sentence. This verdict has gone quite far, and if authorities follow through with it, then a security office director, for instance, can also receive as hefty a sentence as the police officer who commits the actual torture. This represents a significant step in preventing torture," Tanay said on October 1.

Turkey: End Impunity for State Killings, Disappearances

Human Rights Watch, Istanbul, September 3, 2012

[accessed 4 January 2013]

The Turkish government should take action to address statutory time limits, witness intimidation, and other obstacles to the prosecution of members of security forces and public officials for killings, disappearances, and torture, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

Those responsible for the serious human rights violations committed after the September 1980 military coup and against the Kurdish civilian population in the 1990s, during the conflict between the state and the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have never been held to account.

Hundreds of deaths in custody and summary executions by the security forces risk being deemed time-barred for prosecution because of a 20-year limitation on murder investigations contained in Turkey’s previous penal code. Thousands more state-perpetrated killings of Kurds from the early 1990s could be similarly excluded from prosecution and trial in the coming three years.

“Old laws that curtail investigations into serious human rights abuses in Turkey have allowed the security forces and public officials to get away with murder and torture,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is vital that Turkish authorities act now to ensure there are no time bars on victims getting justice.”

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/TUR/CO/3 (2011)

[accessed 10 March 2013]

C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations Torture and impunity

7. The Committee is gravely concerned about numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations concerning the use of torture, particularly in unofficial places of detention, including in police vehicles, on the street and outside police stations, notwithstanding information provided from the State party that combating torture and ill-treatment has been a “priority item” and while noting the reported decrease in the number of reports on torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment in official places of detention in the State party. The Committee is furthermore concerned by the absence of prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigations into allegations of torture committed by security and law enforcement officers which are required by article 12 of the Convention and at the pattern of failure to conduct these. It is also concerned that many law enforcement officers found guilty of ill-treatment receive only suspended sentences, which has contributed to a climate of impunity. In this respect, it is a matter of concern to the Committee that prosecutions into allegations of torture are often conducted under article 256 (“excessive use of force”) or article 86 (“intentional injury”) of the Penal Code, which proscribe lighter sentences and the possibility for suspended sentences, and not under articles 94 (“torture”) or 95 (“aggravated torture due to circumstances”) of the same Code (art. 2).

Absence of effective, prompt and independent investigations into complaints

8. The Committee is concerned at the continuing failure of authorities to conduct effective, prompt and independent investigations into allegations of torture and ill- treatment. In particular, the Committee is concerned at reports that prosecutors face obstacles in effectively investigating complaints against law enforcement officers and that any such investigations pursued are commonly conducted by law enforcement officers themselves, a procedure which lacks independence, impartiality and effectiveness, notwithstanding Circular No. 8 of the Ministry of Justice pursuant to which investigations concerning allegations of torture and ill-treatment shall be conducted by the Public Prosecutor and not by law enforcement officers. In this respect, the Committee is further concerned at the lack of clarity surrounding the current system of administrative investigation into allegations of police abuse, which lacks impartiality and independence, and that prior authorization for investigating the highest level law enforcement officers is still permitted under the Criminal Procedure Code. The Committee is also concerned by reports that independent medical documentation of torture are not entered into evidence in court rooms and that judges and prosecutors only accept reports by the Ministry of Justice’s Forensic Medicine Institute. Furthermore, while noting the project launched in 2006 to introduce an “Independent Police Complaints Commission and Complaints System for the Turkish Police and Gendarmerie”, the Committee is concerned that no independent police complaints mechanism is yet in place. The Committee is concerned about a pattern of delays, inaction and otherwise unsatisfactorily handling by authorities of the State party of investigations, prosecutions and conviction of police, law enforcement and military personnel for violence, ill-treatment and torture offences against its citizens (arts. 12 and 13).

Restrictions on fundamental legal safeguards

11. The Committee is concerned at restrictions in the enjoyment of fundamental legal safeguards against torture and ill-treatment as a result of the introduction of new laws and amendments to the 2005 Code of Criminal Procedure. In particular, the Committee is concerned: (a) at the denial of a suspect’s right to contact a lawyer until 24 hours after arrest under the Law on Combating Terrorism (Law No. 3713); (b) at the denial of of legal aid for suspects accused of offences carrying a sentence of less than five years of imprisonment (Law No. 5560); (c) at the absence of a statutory right to an independent medical examination; and (d) that the statutory right to immediate access to a medical doctor is restricted to convicted prisoners (art. 94, Law No. 5275). The Committee is concerned at reports of the presence of a public official during the medical examination of a detainee notwithstanding that this is forbidden by law unless the medical personnel so requests for reasons of personal security. (art. 2)

Registration of detainees

18. The Committee is concerned at reports that suspects are held in police custody without being officially registered and, in this respect, notes with concern the vague provision in law that registration of detainees shall occur “within a reasonable time” upon arrest (art. 2).


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015


Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in official places of detention persisted. In June, the Parliament passed legislation to create an Ombudsman’s Office and a separate national human rights institution. The national human rights institution lacked guarantees of independence. At the end of the year, it was unclear how or whether it would fulfil the obligations of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture in providing independent monitoring of places of detention. Other independent mechanisms promised by the government, such as a police complaints procedure, were not established.

In March, boys held at Pozantı prison in the southern province of Adana were transferred, following allegations that prison officials had subjected them to abuse, including sexual abuse. An official investigation continued at the end of the year. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture visited Pozantı prison in June but its report was not publicly available at the end of the year.


There were frequent allegations of excessive use of force by police during demonstrations, including beatings, throughout the year. Three deaths at demonstrations, allegedly as a result of excessive use of force, were reported.


Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 4 January 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

However, Amnesty International has accused the Heavy Penal Courts of accepting evidence extracted under torture. The court system is also undermined by procedural delays, with some trials lasting so long as to become a financial burden for the defense.

The current government has enacted new laws and training to prevent torture, including a policy involving surprise inspections of police stations that was announced in 2008. A government human rights report issued for the first time in 2008 found that the combined category of torture and ill-treatment was the third-most-common complaint in 2007, after property rights and health care. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey has reported that the number of people subjected to violence or ill-treatment has increased slightly since 2005 after falling sharply overall since 2000. A man arrested for participating in a demonstration died in custody in October 2008, after he was allegedly beaten; 60 police and prison officials were indicted. Prison conditions can be harsh, with problems including overcrowding and practices like extended isolation in some facilities.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 4 January 2013]

[accessed 7 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, members of the security forces continued to torture, beat, and otherwise abuse persons regularly.

Incidents of torture and abuse declined during the year but remained widespread. Courts rarely convicted security officials accused of torture and tended to issue light sentences when they did convict (see section 1.d.). According to the HRF, there were 657 credible cases of torture or abuse reported at its 5 national treatment centers through November. Of these, 180 cases involved torture or abuse inflicted during the year; the rest involved incidents that occurred previously. A number of human rights observers claimed that only a small percentage of detainees reported torture and abuse because they feared retaliation or believed that complaining was futile.

An attorney for Abdulkadir Akgul, Ergin Demir, Cigerhun Erisen, Zubeyit Keserci, and Muzaffer Keserci claimed law enforcement officials tortured his clients during their July detention in Van Province. According to the attorney, security forces were present during his clients' medical examinations, preventing doctors from recording their injuries.

In August Servet Alcinkaya, reporter for the daily Cumhuriyet, claimed Istanbul police severely beat him in detention. He said police held him overnight without allowing him to contact relatives and released him the next day.

In October three juveniles said Ordu police repeatedly beat them, squeezed their testicles, and threatened to rape and kill them while they were held in detention following an incident at a local concert. Medical examinations of the juveniles reportedly confirmed signs of beatings on their bodies.

Also in October, broadcast media outlets aired footage of employees abusing children at the Malatya State Orphanage. Images included employees beating children who were stripped naked and sitting in a bathtub. Several of the children told police their caretakers had forced them to eat excrement. Physicians subsequently examined the children and reported finding evidence that 21 of 46 had been subject to torture, including severe beatings and hot water burns. Authorities pressed charges against five employees and removed four others from their posts. The trial and investigation continued at year's end.

In December Orhan Kara, Velat Haci Ali, Idban Kaplan, Seref Inanc, and Nezir Ayan claimed that police tortured them during their detention in Silopi, Sirnak Province. Erdal Kuzu, an attorney and HRA official who visited the detainees, said police beat the detainees, administered electric shocks to their genitals, forced them to strip and sprayed them with cold water, and placed guns to their heads and threatened to kill them. Kuzu claimed that the prosecutor declined to record the detainees' torture claims, and he claimed the detainees were denied access to prison medical facilities.

There were no developments in the reported 2004 cases of torture of Mehmet Nurettin Basci, Mehmet Gazi Aydin, Sezai Karakus, or several persons detained by police during a raid of the Yeniden Ozlem publishing house.

There were no developments in the investigation of the alleged rape and torture of DEHAP official Gulbahar Gunduz in 2003. Attorneys for Gunduz applied to the ECHR during the year.

Proceedings continued at year's end in the Ankara trial of five police defendants charged with torturing and killing Birtan Altinbas in 1991. The court convicted the defendants in 2004, but the High Court of Appeals returned the case to the lower court on the grounds that the sentences were too lenient.

In September an Istanbul prosecutor charged eight police officers with torturing Firat Develioglu, Emre Nil, Aysegul Huma, and Tugba Babuna, who were detained in 1999 during operations conducted against the Islamist group Adnan Hocacilar. According to the indictment, the officers beat the detainees, handcuffed them to chairs, and squeezed their testicles.

In April an Iskenderun court acquitted four police officers charged with torturing and raping two teenage girls in 1999. The court determined there was insufficient evidence for a conviction. The trial, which began in 2000, had been plagued by repeated procedural delays related to the handling of forensic evidence. The ruling was under appeal at year's end.

Human rights observers said that, because of reduced detention periods, security officials mainly used torture methods that did not leave physical signs, including repeated slapping, exposure to cold, stripping and blindfolding, food and sleep deprivation, threats to detainees or family members, dripping water on the head, isolation, and mock executions. They reported the near elimination of more severe methods, such as electric shocks, high-pressure cold water hoses, rape, beatings on the soles of the feet and genitalia, hanging by the arms, and burns.

Human rights activists, attorneys, and physicians who treated victims said that because of increased punishments for torture and abuse, police who engaged in these practices often did so outside of police detention centers to avoid detection.

Human rights activists maintained that those arrested for ordinary crimes were as likely to suffer torture and ill‑treatment in detention as those arrested for political offenses, although they were less likely to report abuse. Observers said security officials sometimes tortured political detainees to intimidate them and send a warning to others with similar political views. Authorities allegedly tortured ordinary suspects to obtain a confession.

Government-employed doctors administered all medical examinations of detainees. Examinations occurred once during detention and a second time before either arraignment or release; however, the examinations generally were brief and informal. According to the Society of Forensic Medicine Specialists, only approximately 300 of 80 thousand doctors in the country were forensic specialists, and most detainees were examined by general practitioners and specialists not qualified to detect signs of torture. There were forensic medical centers in 34 of 81 provinces. Some former detainees asserted that doctors did not conduct proper examinations and that authorities denied their requests for a second examination.

A justice ministry regulation requires doctor‑patient privacy during the examination of suspects, except where the doctor requests police presence for security reasons. During the year there were fewer complaints of security officials remaining in the room despite objections, according to the Society of Forensic Medicine Specialists.

The law provides for harsh prison sentences and fines for medical personnel who falsify reports to hide torture, those who knowingly use such reports, and those who coerce doctors into making them.In practice there were few prosecutions for violation of these laws

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- - Turkey",, [accessed <date>]