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ATO report exposes Ankara detention center as a 21st century concentration camp

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“There is no official detention or arrest center at the Ankara Police Department’s counterterrorism branch, and in the 21st century, in the capital of Ankara, there are places and conditions that have more of the qualities of a concentration camp,” Onur Karahancı, a member of the Ankara Medical Association (ATO), told a press conference on Tuesday, unveiling a recent report on the conditions at the Ankara Police Department’s detention center, which was originally a sports hall, according to the Evrensel daily.

The report was written by the ATO’s human rights commission after the detention of Turkish Medical Association (TTB) members and Professor Onur Hamzaoğlu, who was the editor of a medical periodical published by the TTB.

Karahancı revealed that hygiene standards at the detention center are dangerously low, that there is constant noise measuring between 60 and 65 decibels due to an air conditioning unit that works every hour and that detainees are not able to sleep properly because the lights are on all the time.

In addition detainees have no opportunity to go outside or access books or newspapers, the report found. Law enforcement’s refusal to provide any privacy for medical services is against universal medical ethics and human rights, Karahancı said.

According to the report, there is no way for detainees to learn the time, causing difficulty for those who have chronic illnesses and need regular medication. Also, there are only two washbasins, three toilets and four showers, some of which have no doors. Three of them have trash bags affixed as makeshift curtains.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) had previously received credible reports of mass torture and abuse at an unofficial detention center in the Turkish capital. According to the account provided by a group of lawyers who have knowledge of the recent detention of some 1,000 people, police practiced torture and abuse on victims in a sporting hall that had been converted into a detention center a short distance from Ankara city center.

The facility, owned by the State Waterworks Authority (DSİ), was used to practice both verbal and physical torture on victims including threats to kill, rape, beatings, strappado and spraying with ice-cold water.

The lawyers, who wanted to remain anonymous for reasons of safety, had told SCF that male suspects in custody were not only subjected to torture but also threatened with the rape of their wives and daughters by the police. Female victims were directly threatened with rape.

(Turkish Minute with Stockholm Center for Freedom [SCF])

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