There has been an increase in kidnapping, torture and ill-treatment in custody, with the aim of exerting pressure on people, punishing, intimidating and forcing to be confessor, which has started especially with the State of Emergency process and increased in recent years.
In the case of Ankara, these practices have unfortunately become systematic.
In Ankara Police Department, allegations of physical, psychological, sexual violence and torture have been brought up against 46 former employees of the Ministry of Justice. According to the information explained to the press and the public by the lawyers of the suspects following the meetings with their clients, as well as the information conveyed to the members of the Parliament, it is alleged that the persons were taken to a dark room in the Ankara Police Department, where they were stripped naked and beaten and subjected to sexual harassment. No explanation has been made by the Ministry of Interior and other competent authorities regarding these allegations, which have received wide public repercussions.
As is known to all of us, 7 abduction cases have been detected with the application of their families since February 2019. The Rights Initiative Association has prepared a report in relation to abduction of 6 people, and Human Rights Association has applied to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. It was understood that they were exposed to torture and ill-treatment.
According to the information given by Kocaeli Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu on May 26, 2019 and also to the allegations reflected in the press; approximately 100 former personnel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were dismissed through Decree Law, were detained in the Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau and tortured, beaten up until they passed out and forced to sign a statement under torture. The Ankara Bar Association interviewed 6 people whose names were notified to the Bar, and as a result of these interviews, a report on torture was prepared. Kocaeli Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu made a motion on the allegations in the Parliament. In response to this motion, the allegations were rejected and it was stated that the practices were in accordance with the procedure. The Grand National Assembly (TBMM), Human Rights Investigation Commission rejected the allegations of torture by presenting medical reports that were taken in violation of the Istanbul Protocol.
While these are happening in Ankara;
At least 54 people were detained in the early hours of 18 May in Dergili (Dêrto) neighbourhood of Halfeti district of Urfa City. Upon a total of 51 applications of the families of the suspects to the Human Rights Centre of Sanliurfa Bar Association, the Bar prepared a report. According to this report; interviews with the suspects, forensic reports, detailed explanations, observations and investigations confirmed that the detainees were subjected to torture and ill-treatment. Due to the extension of the detention period, the victims were brought before the Urfa Peace Criminal Judge on duty on 25.05.2019, it was observed and recorded by the mentioned judgeship that the detainees were physically tortured and ill-treated.
Torture and other ill-treatment data recorded in the first 11 months of 2019:
The data of the torture and other ill-treatment data that can be recorded in the first 11 months of 2019:
A total of 840 people applied to the Turkey Human Rights Foundation in the first 11 months of 2019 claiming that they were exposed to torture and other ill-treatment. According to the Human Rights Association (IHD) data, the number of people claiming to have been detained -legally or illegally- and tortured in the first 11 months of 2019 is 830. All these applications regarding torture and ill-treatment remain inconclusive due to impunity policy, ineffective investigations and those responsible are not punished.
According to Article 17/3 of the Turkish Constitution: “No one shall be subjected to torture and ill treatment; no one shall be subjected to a punishment or treatment, which is incompatible with human dignity.”
According to Article 94 of the Turkish Penal Code titled Torture; “(1) A public officer who performs any act towards a person that is incompatible with human dignity, and which causes that person to suffer physically or mentally, or affects the person’s capacity to perceive or his ability to act of his own will or insults them shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of three to twelve years.”
According to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights; “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
According to Article 1 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: “For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
The article states the following and prohibits torture; “This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation, which does or may contain provisions of wider application.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 5), the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights (art. 7), the European Convention on Human Rights (art.3), the UN Convention against Torture, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (art. 7) and domestic law; Turkish Constitution (article 17) and Turkish Penal Code (article 94) explicitly prohibit torture.
According to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, the provisions of the international treaty shall be taken as basis in disputes that may arise due to the fact that the international treaties on fundamental rights and freedoms, which have been put into force in accordance with the procedure, and the national laws contain different provisions on the same subject.
As a result;
- Torture in Turkey must be terminated immediately.
- In cases of torture, the impunity policy should be ended and those responsible for the torture should be punished.
- Turkey has to comply with the agreement she signed, which prohibits in absolute terms torture, and should prevent it.
- Medical inspections should be carried out according to the “Istanbul Protocol”, to which Turkey is a signatory.
- Turkey Human Rights and the Equality Authority, which has been authorized to perform the functions of the national preventive mechanisms that are effective and important tool in the prevention of torture, must fulfil its duty against torture allegations.
We are pointing out once again that we will fight against torture practices that ignore the dignity of humanity and call on all institutions to prevent torture.
Ankara Medical Chamber, Human Rights Association Ankara Branch, Lawyers Association for Freedom Ankara Branch, Contemporary Lawyers Association Ankara Branch, Rights Initiative Association, Revolutionary 78’ers Federation, Human Rights Agenda Association, SES Ankara Branch and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey.