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More than 5,000 people mistreated or tortured in Turkey in 2021: report

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 Cases of human rights violations in Turkey last year included 5,488 incidents of torture or mistreatment, with 1,414 of them taking place in prisons, local media reported on Friday, citing a report released by the Human Rights Association (İHD).

The “2021 Turkey Rights Violations Report” was released by the İHD on its website on Thursday.

According to the report, 1414 people were subjected to mistreatment or torture in Turkish prisons in 2021, while 2,835 people faced mistreatment as a result of police intervention in protests and gatherings, in addition to 531 people – including 12 children – mistreated or tortured in detention and 704 people – 25 of them children – outside places of detention.

At least 57 people died behind bars due to negligence, suicide, illness or violence, and 375 women died as a result of domestic violence last year, while 2,170 workers were killed in occupational accidents in Turkey.

Sixty-nine security officers, 275 militants and eight civilians died in armed conflict inside and outside the borders of Turkey in 2021, and security forces killed 16 and injured 27 people in raids and by firing into a crowd on the pretext that the people did not obey orders, the report also said.

Turkish police intervened in at least 409 demonstrations, public press statements and gatherings last year, the report said, adding that investigations were launched into 7,704 people for “contravening Law No. 2911 on assemblies and demonstrations” in the same period, citing data from the Justice Ministry.

According to the report, the number of inmates in Turkish prisons, which have the capacity to safely hold 288,798 people, reached a record high of 326,243 in 2021.

The human rights report also pointed out the disappearance of Yusuf Bilge Tunç in broad daylight on August 8, 2019, saying he has not been heard from since.

Tunç’s family has consistently complained about the lack of cooperation from officials to find him after his wife unearthed details indicating that Tunç had been abducted.

Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit, a former Turkish bureaucrat who had been missing since December 2020 and was found in Ankara’s Sincan Prison in September 2021, is still behind bars, the İHD said in the report, adding that there are three more people missing who they think haven’t been found due to the negligence of the security forces.

İHD chair Öztürk Türkdoğan said during a press briefing on Thursday where they announced the report that “a new political power and an increased social struggle” is needed to change the permanent effects of the state of emergency on the country.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016 that remained in effect until July 19, 2018, during which the AKP increased the pressure on human rights by issuing a number of government decrees, known as KHKs.

Human rights violations culminated in Turkey after the abortive putsch in 2016, when the government launched a crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish prisons and detention centers, with a lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them, resulting in widespread impunity for the security forces.

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