Turkey – Midnight Express 2020

The Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes two reports on Turkey. Ill-treatments continue in Turkish prisons.

Prisons in Turkey (like here in Ankara) are still places of ill-treatments of all kinds. Foto: ilhan turun / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 3.0

(CoE / Red) – The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published the reports on its 2017 periodic visit and 2019 ad hoc visit to Turkey.

The full report and the executive summary of the 2017 report, and the response of the Turkish authorities to a 2017 report; as well as full report and the executive summary of the 2019 report, and the response of the Turkish authorities to the 2019 report show that the situation in Turkish prisons is alarming.

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. 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 Istanbul areas.

In addition, the delegation visited various severely overcrowded prisons in Istanbul and south-eastern Turkey. In 2017, particular attention was paid to the specific situation of prisoners suffering from a mental disorder or chronic somatic health problems in two specialised prisons in Istanbul and Izmir. In 2019, the delegation carried out a follow-up visit to Imralı F-type High-Security Prison, in order to review the conditions of detention of all prisoners and the application in practice of their right to receive visits from relatives and lawyers.

During the 2017 visit, the CPT also examined the situation of foreign nationals (including minors) who were held in several removal centres in Istanbul and Izmir.

In their responses, the Turkish authorities provide information on the measures taken or envisaged to implement the CPT’s recommendations. The Committee is pursuing its dialogue with the Turkish authorities on the issues raised in the reports.

The CPT reports and the responses of the Turkish authorities have been made public at the request of the Turkish Government. And still, it is appalling. How comes that Turkish prisons still make think of the movie “Midnight Express”?

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