German gov’t says it’s taking torture, maltreatment allegations in Turkey seriously

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German parliament. AFP PHOTO / Omer MESSINGER

The German government has announced that it is taking claims about torture and maltreatment in Turkey very seriously and is following the trials of political inmates, including the former leader of a Kurdish party, with great attention and concern, Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday.

The German government made this announcement in response to a parliamentary question submitted by the Left Party. 

“Steps taken through law against a part of the opposition, which has democratic legitimacy, are being followed by the German government with great attention and concern,” it said.

 In addition to former co-chairpersons of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, many former HDP deputies and politicians are currently in jail in Turkey on terrorism charges.

The German government said it also closely followed the removal of 105 elected mayors by the government, most of whom are from predominantly Kurdish regions, and their replacement by government-appointed trustees.

The HDP has been one of the main targets of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) since a coup attempt in July 2016, following which the government launched a massive crackdown on its opponents under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

In its parliamentary question, the Left Party asked detailed questions about the HDP, which it called its sister party in Turkey.

In its response, the German government said 10 former HDP deputies and more than 5,000 party members and supporters are in jail, adding that out of the 90 mayors or local administrators jailed since 2015, 40 are still incarcerated.

With regards to the allegations of torture and maltreatment in Turkey, which have become very widespread since the failed coup attempt, the government of Angela Merkel said these allegations are being taken very seriously. 

The German government said it has regular communication with the representatives of nongovernmental organizations about these claims and that it asks Turkey during meetings with officials as well as in international forums to abide by the principles of a state of law.

In a report in January 2019, Human Rights Watch also said it finds continued allegations of torture, ill treatment and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment in police custody and prison and the lack of any meaningful investigation into them to be a source of “deep concern.”

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