Turkey’s Security General Directorate has ordered the country’s police officers to stop people from recording videos while law enforcement is carrying out its duties, according to a document revealed by the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), which labels the move as an attempt to prevent incidents of police brutality from going public.
İçişleri Bakanlığından 1 Mayıs öncesi personelini garantiye alma genelgesi.
Personeliniz görevini ifa ederken işkence yaparsa kayıt da alınır, delil de toplanır. Çünkü tekrarla, işkence yapmak görev sınırlarınızda değil, suçtur! pic.twitter.com/AFiARI20yT
— ÇHD İstanbul Şube (@CHDistanbul) April 29, 2021
“The person that is being protected by this order is here. He should be recorded on sight,” the ÇHD’s İstanbul branch tweeted, sharing the photo of a police officer kneeling on the neck of a male suspect.
According to the document, signed by Governor Mehmet Aktaş, the head of the Security General Directorate, the grounds for the prevention of recording is the protection of police officers’ privacy.
“The Interior Ministry is taking steps to protect its personnel before May 1 (Labor Day). If your personnel torture people while they are on duty, they will be recorded, pieces of evidence will be gathered. Because, once more, torture is not your job; it is a crime against humanity,” ÇHD tweeted.
According to Human Rights Watch, there has been a marked resurgence of police torture and ill-treatment in Turkey over the past five years and since a coup attempt in particular. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them has resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces. The rights watchdog’s Europe and Central Asia director, Hugh Williamson, said, “Turkey has an entrenched culture of impunity when it comes to abuses by the security forces, no matter how serious.”