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Turkey behaving badly

The pictures shows the Istanbul Security Directorate in Vatan Street, Turkey. behind these walls unspeakable things are happening.

Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and a party to several human rights treaties, including the European Convention on Human Rights
AND the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

Following the attempted coup on July 15, the government declared a state of emergency and invoked its right to temporarily place extraordinary restrictions on some of the standards in the human rights treaties it has signed. These actions clearly violate many guarantees, including the rights to freedom of expression, liberty, and security, and access to justice.

Doctors at human rights organisations treating victims of torture, not only within Turkey but in multiple other countries, continue to hear the accounts and document the injuries of Kurdish men and women released very recently from Turkish government security facilities. They hear this is a dangerous time to be a Kurdish political activist in South East Turkey.

This is what happens in custody to those suspected of Kurdish terrorism. There are usually four men in the room, with truncheons. They may be uniformed but their shirts will be off as they are hot with the exertion of it. The detainee is naked, bound, bruised and bleeding, teeth broken, eyes swollen shut, dizzy with head injury and thirst. There are beatings, electric shocks, repeated immersion in the toilet, sexual assault, threats of death. Some have described being threatened with suicide vests, or being taken to high windows and told they will be pushed out. All for a confession you can never trust and a promise to inform that will not be kept.

The sensible man guesses that the torturers are as full of fear as of hatred. Their boundaries have been reset and they don’t know how to question their suspects without it. The unacceptable has become the norm. Yet beating and burning and drowning the people you don’t trust won’t make them help you. Police all over the world have discovered that the way to persuade people to talk to you is to treat them humanely, question them fairly, hear their story. The evidence for this is widely published. Dehumanising and brutalising people you fear and hate won’t make you feel safer. It will, in the long run, make you less safe.

The two leaders of Turkey’s legal pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP) have been detained, like many others. Their detention and questioning should conform to the treaties that Turkey has signed, to the absolute prohibition on torture, to the standards expected of any country that wants a seat at the international table. Turkey seeks a seat in Europe too, but whilst a steady stream of torture survivors are showing their scars, Mr Erdogan has work to do.

Turkey is a signatory to OPCAT. Membership of OPCAT commits a country to regular external inspections by Independent National and International bodies. OPCAT is non judgmental, believing that the increased transparency from such inspections reduces abuse. Its time for Turkey to allow Human Rights Watch or Physicians for Human Rights, both with excellent records of impartiality, to inspect.

Email the Turkish Consulate. Ask them to open the doors of their detention centres to inspection by external NGOs. Ask Turkey to honour its obligations, to its citizens and to the world.


Postal address:
Rutland Lodge Rutland Gardens,
London SW7 1BW,
United Kingdom

Telephone: 020 7591 6900
Fax: 020 75 91 6911

BizeYazin For all your queries:
KCM Consulate Call Center:
+44 203 608 80 90

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