One percent of Turkey’s population is either behind bars or on probation, according to the results of a study.
Switzerland’s Lausanne University conducted a study for the Council of Europe and found that Turkey ranks first in Europe in the number of prison inmates per capita and the proportion of prison inmates to population, BBC reported.
As of January 31, 2020, 984 people per 100,000 were either in prison or on probation in Turkey, putting Turkey first in Europe. The European average was 265 people per 100,000.
The report also noted that there was a 6.1 percent increase in the number of people on probation in Turkey from 2019 to 2020. In terms of probationers, Poland ranks first with 643 people per 100,000, followed by Turkey with 627 people per 100,000, while the European average was 149 people per 100,000.
According to the report, probation and imprisonment ratios were simultaneously high in Turkey, Georgia and Lithuania, which in turn implies that probationary measures were not implemented as an alternative to detention, but as an additional sanction.
In Europe, however, probation is regarded as an alternative to detention, and the greater use of this measure is regarded as an important indicator of minimum provision of personal freedom.
Mass detentions and arrests have been taking place in Turkey since a coup attempt in July 2016. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of masterminding the abortive putsch, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.
Human Rights Watch says people alleged to have links to the movement inspired by the ideas and activism of Fethullah Gülen, a US-based Muslim cleric, is the largest group targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to the latest official figures, a total of 622,646 people have been investigated, 301,932 have been detained and 96,000 others have been imprisoned due to alleged links to the group, while there are currently 25,467 real and alleged members in Turkey’s prisons.