Several deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have directed questions to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in Parliament about torture claims made by jailed Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Co-chair Mehmet Arslan.
Arslan was arrested in February over his criticism of an ongoing Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria. There are claims that the Kurdish politician, who is currently incarcerated in Kalkandere Prison in the Black Sea province of Rize, was subjected to a strip search, and when he objected was attacked by prison guards and beaten until he passed out.
Speaking during a parliamentary session on Thursday, HDP deputy Garo Paylan said the government is keeping silent about the torture claims related to Arslan and not even denying the accusations. Paylan said the government is silent because acts of torture have been normalized in Turkey as there are also many torture allegations from other prisons as well.
Another HDP deputy, Mahmut Toğrul, who also spoke in the Parliament the same day, said the torture of Arslan is an attack on the will of the nation and that torture is a crime against humanity.
Claims of torture in Turkey’s prisons have frequently come to the nation’s agenda in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15,2016, and many national and international human rights organizations have documented the acts of torture. The Turkish government denies the torture claims.