IRCT: “IRCT Member in Turkey Warns of Torture in the Aftermath of Failed Coup”



IRCT member in Turkey Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) has released a statement following Friday night’s failed coup d’état in Turkey, expressing its deep concern about the mass arrest of thousands of soldiers and civilians as well as allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

Images have recently surfaced, showing dozens of detainees huddled together naked and handcuffed on the floor. According to HRFT, the images suggest that the detainees have also been subjected to torture and ill treatment.

The IRCT is deeply concerned about the mass arrests and allegations of torture and ill treatment of detainees, calling on Turkey to ensure the physical and psychological wellbeing of all prisoners, commit to a fair and just treatment of detainees in accordance with international human rights standards and investigate all allegations and reports of torture and ill treatment in accordance with the principles of the Istanbul Protocol.

In the past five days, the Turkish authorities have ordered thousands of judges and university staff to resign their positions and on Wednesday, a three-month state of emergency was declared.

This happens in a context where the space for dissenting voices has been rapidly shrinking in recent years. The IRCT is deeply concerned that the attempted coup may be used as an excuse for further erosion of fundamental rights and calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure rule of law and full compliance with international human rights standards.

People in Turkey who have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, as well as those who have been affected by the severe social violence atmosphere related to the coup attempt are encouraged to contact one of HRFT’s rehabilitation centres for assistance.

To read the full HRFT statement click here.

To go to official web site of IRCT click here.

IRCT Has Released a News Story Over UNCAT Turkey Review

Committee Against Torture Urges Turkey to Take Serious Action to End Torture and Stop Crackdown on Civil Society


The UN Committee against Torture has expressed serious concern about torture and ill-treatment in Turkey, particularly in the context of counter-terrorism operations in the south-east of the country, and is calling on the Turkish Government to publically condemn acts of torture and commit to effective investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators. The Committee is also urging Turkey to stop its crackdown on civil society including on health professionals working to provide support and rehabilitation to victims of torture and ill-treatment.

The recommendations follow a two-day hearing in Geneva where the Committee carefully scrutinised the performance of Government in eradicating torture.

As part of the hearings, IRCT member the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) travelled to Geneva to brief the Committee on its key concerns. These concerns related to torture in unofficial places of detention, torture during the curfews in the south-east of the country, lack of independent institutions to investigate and monitor torture and ill-treatment and the deliberate targeting of individuals and organisations working to support victims of torture and ill-treatment. HRFT was recently fined because of its provisions of rehabilitation to persons who were tortured during the Gezi Park protests.

Among the key issues addressed to Turkey are:

  • The multiple concerns about impunity for torture and ill-treatment and the need to create an independent and effective investigation mechanism and ensure that the credible evidence lead to prosecution and convictions with sentences that match the seriousness of the crime. The Committee specifically addressed issues pertaining to the continued application of statutes of limitation and the use of counter charges to prevent victims from seeking redress.  
  • The serious concerns about torture and ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings committed by law enforcement and security forces in the south-east part of the country. Here the Committee saw it necessary to recall the absolute prohibition against torture and once again highlighted impunity as a key concern and recommended the issuance of a clear public policy statement against torture and effective investigations and prosecution. The Committee also expressed serious concern that the curfews have resulted in restricted access to basic goods and services such as healthcare, causing severe pain and suffering.
  • The dramatic increase in excessive use of force against demonstrations, the expansion by the Domestic Security Package of powers to use firearms against protesters, and the lack of effective investigations into this abuse.
  • The numerous and consistent reports of intimidation, harassment and violence against human rights defenders including health professionals providing rehabilitation support to torture victims. The Committee recommended that Turkey refrained from these reprisals and ensures that health professionals are not prosecuted for providing healthcare to victims of torture and ill-treatment.
  • The need to adopt formal regulations explicitly authorising non-governmental organisations, medical professionals and bar associations to undertake independent visits to places of detention.
  • Finally, the Committee extensively analysed the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey and expressed deep concern about the lack of assurances of individual review of asylum requests and the risk of collective returns. The Committee also issued recommendations to ensure appropriate reception conditions and establish procedures for identification of torture victims among asylum seekers.

“We now have an up-to-date expert assessment of the state of torture and ill-treatment in Turkey, which is far from positive. It is clear that most safeguards are absent or failing; monitoring and investigation mechanisms are controlled by the State; when prosecutions do happen, the sanctions mock the severity of the crime; and the State is not only failing to provide rehabilitation, it is actively targeting those trying to support victims of its abuse. We sincerely hope that this will be a wake-up call for the Turkish Government and for those neighbouring states who have ignored the deplorable state of human rights in Turkey for too long,” said IRCT Advocacy Director, Asger Kjaerum

Human Rights Foundation Turkey report to CAT available here.

Committee against Torture Concluding Observations on Turkey available here.

7-9 November 2015 HRFT Daily Human Rights Report

7-9 November 2015 Daily Human Rights Report

(11/036) Person Killed by the Police in Diyarbakır…

Ferhat Doğru (18) who was wounded when the police opened fire during operations in Sur district of Diyarbakır died on 7 November 2015 in the hospital.

(11/037) Armed Attack in İstanbul…

2 police officers were wounded when a police vehicle was opened fire on 8 November 2015 in Gaziosmanpaşa district of İstanbul.

(11/038) Operations and Attacks in the Southeast…

According to the official announcement by the General Staff, 11 militants were killed during the operations conducted on 7 November 2015 in the rural areas of Şemdinli district in Hakkari.

3 police officers and a child were wounded when a bomb exploded during the passage of an armoured vehicle on 8 November 2015 in Nusaybin district of Mardin.

On the 6th day of curfew in Slvan district of Diyarbakır, Mehmet Emin Çiçek (65) died on 8 November 2015 when Special Forces attacked a house with howitzer.

Rıdvan Us was wounded on 6 November 2015 in Silvan and Adnan Bakır on 7 November 2015.

A soldier died when a mine exploded on 7 November 2015 during the passage of a military troop in the rural area of Uludere district in Şırnak.

(11/039) Explosion in Hakkari…

M.F. (11) and S.F. (10) were heavily wounded when a material they found exploded on 8 November 2015 in the Üzümkıran hamlet of Durak village in Şemdinli district of Hakkari.

(11/040) Torture and Ill-treatment in Custody Allegation in Hakkari…

According to the news appeared in the press on 8 November 2015, N.U. who was detained during a house raid in Şemdinli district of Hakkari was subjected to torture and ill-treatment in custody. S/he was reportedly beaten and kept in an unheated cell. S/he was not able to walk when taken to Şemdinli State Hospital for health control.

(11/041) Torture and Ill-treatment in Custody Allegation in Şanlıurfa…

According to the news appeared in the press on 8 November 2015, Hasan Aydın who was detained in Ceylanpınar district of Şanlıurfa on the allegations of “being responsible with the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) in the district” was allegedly subjected to torture in custody with Palestinian hanging.

(11/042) HRFT Founder Indicted…

Bakırköy (İstanbul) Heavy Penal Court No 2 accepted the indictment against Diyarbakır Bar Association Chairperson and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey founder Tahir Elçi.

On 19 October 2015, Bakırköy (İstanbul) Penal Court of Peace Judge issued a warrant against Tahir Elçi for the expression “PKK is not a terrorist organisation” he used on a TV show. Tahir Elçi was detained on 20 October 2015 and transferred to Bakırköy Court House in İstanbul.

The indictment wants Tahir Elçi to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment up to 7 years and 6 months for “making propaganda of an illegal organisation”. Bakırköy (İstanbul) Heavy Penal Court No 2 will start to hear the case.

(11/043) Children on Trial on the Allegations of Insulting the State President…

According to the news appeared in the press on 6 November 2015, a court case was launched against 14 persons for shouting the slogan “Murderer Erdoğan” during demonstrations on several dates in Kocaeli. The indictment wants the defendants to be sentenced according to the Article 299 TPC for “insulting the State President”. Kocaeli Penal Court of First Instance No 8 will start to hear the case.

(11/044) YÖK Protests Intervened…

Protests were staged in several cities on 6 November 2015 on the anniversary of the foundation of Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

The police intervened the protests by using tear gas and water cannons. The protesters were also beaten and assaulted by the police. 9 students in Antalya, 37 students in İzmir, and 39 students in İstanbul were detained during the interventions.

Beyza Kural, correspondent with the, was handcuffed from behind by the police during the intervention in İstanbul. A police chief saying “Everything’s changed, we will teach you that!” was reportedly recorded by Beyza Kural.

(11/045) Commemoration Attacked in Van…

On 6 November 2015 in Erciş district of Van, the police attacked the condolence tent for the funeral of PKK militant Azad Güney (Azad Welat) who ws killed during an armed clash in Hakkari. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and detained at least 20 persons under beatings.

(11/046) Public Statement Prevented in Van…

On 6 November 2015, the police prevented a public statement by YÖDER (Van 100th Year University Students Association) and DEM-GENÇ (Democratic Youth) in Van and detained 22 students.

(11/047) Protesters on Trial in İzmir…

According to the news appeared in the press on 8 November 2015, a court case was launched against 55 persons upon official complaint by the police officers Hüseyin Usman and Can Özcan. The defendants staged a demonstration to protest in the killings of 301 miners in Soma district of Manisa.

The indictment wants the defendants to be sentenced for “resisting security forces” and the court will start to hear the case on 13 January 2016.

(11/048) Persons on Trial in Adana…

Adana Heavy Penal Court No 5 started on 6 November 2015 to hear the case against 9 persons who were arrested after house raids conducted in Yüreğir district of Adana. The indictment wants the defendants to be sentenced for “being member of an illegal organisation” and “resisting security forces”.

After the identification, the defendants testified in Kurdish. The court decided to release 4 remanded defendants to be tried without remand relying on the period of pre-trial detention and adjourned the hearing to 21 January 2015.

(11/049) Operations throughout Turkey…

Hikmet Alp who was detained in Kooperatif quarter of Siirt and Berivan Gürhan who was detained in Siirt State Hospital were arrested on 6 November 2015 on the allegations of “being member of an illegal organisation”.

The police intervened the persons who were protesting the curfew in Silvan district of Diyarbakır by making noise on 7 November 2015 and detained 23 persons.

105 – By the Rules: Comparative Study on the Legal Framework of Torture in Turkey and Israel

This research began by questioning the root causes of impunity for torture and other forms of ill treatment1 in Turkey and Israel. Our main focus was the means by which states construct the regime of impunity. Yet in examining this question, we have been motivated not only by an academic curiosity regarding the nature of impunity, but also by the hope of finding common tools in the fight against torture.

by the rulesThere are several glaring differences between Israel and Turkey, in terms of their respective size, history, and ethnic and religious make up. Yet the two countries do share significant similarities, not only by virtue of their relative geo-political closeness, but also — and mostly — in terms of the challenges encountered by the state’s sovereignty. These include significant ethnic tensions, increasing protests by citizens over economic and political issues, political factions debating the state’s democratic character, and continuous violence and unrest in neighboring countries.

The two countries also share a harrowing history of widespread and systematic torture in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, the frequency and nature of torture have changed in different ways, which will be examined in the research.

Click here to download the Study.