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Detained woman says tortured for 6 months at secret center in Ankara

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A woman detained on allegations of terrorism claimed at a hearing on Tuesday that she was tortured for six months at a secret center in Ankara run by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

Ayten Öztürk, who was detained in Lebanon in March 2018 for alleged membership in the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), was tortured for six months, her lawyer Murat Yılmaz said at the hearing on Tuesday.

She said in her testimony that after being brought to Ankara from Lebanon by MIT, she was subjected to various forms of torture and finally transferred to a counterterrorism unit in Ankara.

Another of her lawyers, Nazan Betül Vangölü Kozağaçlı, also said she saw marks of severe torture on the detainee’s body.

Öztürk remains in pre-trial detention as the Ankara court decided to transfer the case to İstanbul.

In December Correctiv, a non-profit investigative newsroom in Europe, reported that as part of a massive purge and persecution of the faith-based Gülen movement on accusations of orchestrating a failed coup on July 15, 2016, Turkey has established secret torture sites inside the country to interrogate followers of the movement.

Correctiv, composed of nine international media organizations, interviewed two Gülen movement followers who were abducted and tortured at secret sites and reported that the accounts of the witnesses do not contradict each other.

According to Correctiv, the abductions run by Turkey’s MİT both inside Turkey and abroad have already been reported. However, they added, “There are also accounts of another, darker side to the suppression machinery that has remained unreported till now: secret torture sites inside Turkey.”

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