Torture in [Turkey] [other countries]
Human Trafficking in [Turkey] [other countries]
Street Children in [Turkey] [other countries]
Child Prostitution in [Turkey] [other countries]
Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance
& Other Ill Treatment
In the early years of the 21st Century gvnet.com/torture/Turkey.htm
CAUTION: The following links
have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in
*** ARCHIVES ***
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
[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.
The state of the world's human rights
Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013
[accessed 11 Feb 2014]
TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT
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.
EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE
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.
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).
Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
[accessed 4 January 2013]
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
Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3 Civil Liberties: 3 Status: Partly Free
[accessed 4 January 2013]
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.
Torture in [Turkey] [other countries]
Human Trafficking in [Turkey] [other countries]
Street Children in [Turkey] [other countries]
Child Prostitution in [Turkey] [other countries]