An unprecedented increase in the number of people jailed as part of Turkey’s ever-expanding purge following a July 15 coup attempt has created the need for more space in prisons.
The Justice Ministry said in response to the situation that the government will build 174 new prisons over the next five years and create space for as many as 100,182 people.
Responding to complaints that six prisoners have been, since the massive arrests, forced to live in a cell that is supposed to accommodate only three, the ministry said new prisons will have adequate space.
Gül Altay, a lawyer representing some prisoners in the Tekirdağ F-type prison, told the Hürriyet daily: “Six people are living in three-person cell. They go to bed in shifts. … While the state is supposed to do something to solve this, it is planning to open new prisons and put more people behind bars.”
Turkey has already detained 43,000 people and arrested 24,000 over alleged ties to the Gülen movement, which it accuses of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt. While the movement strongly denies any involvement, thousands have lost their jobs over alleged ties to the movement.
The government’s unorthodox steps as part of its widespread crackdown are nothing new. In a penal reform announced in mid-August, the government ruled for the release of 38,000 prisoners to free up space for newcomers. (Turkey Purge)