The number of people convicted of sex crimes in Turkey saw a sharp increase from 562 in 2009 to 5,800 in 2019, a 10-fold increase in 10 years, according to the latest data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Turkey’s prison population almost quadrupled, from 74,404 to 281,605 in the same period, the institute said.
Homicide convictions increased by a factor of six, from 1,514 in 2009 to 9,574 in 2019, while convictions for physical assault also grew four-and-a-half times to 34,987.
The number of people convicted of theft and drug production or trafficking increased 7-fold and 11-fold in 10 years, according to the statistics institute.
Of people sentenced to prison in 2019, 15.2 percent committed theft, 12.4 percent physical assault, 7 percent drug production or trafficking, 5.4 percent violation of the Execution and Bankruptcy Law and 3.4 percent committed murder.
In mid-April, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government set free many people convicted of violent crimes as part of a law intended to ease overcrowding in the country’s prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation was criticized by many for keeping thousands of political prisoners behind bars while releasing people such as notorious mob boss Alaattin Çakıcı, who was convicted of a number of violent crimes.