Just one organization named Human Rights Association – (IHA HRD in Turkish) has reported some 2063 complaints of torture in the years between 2013-2018. These statistics show that torture is a significant problem in Turkey today.



Torture has been a historic reality and continues to be a present-day reality. Over the last forty years since the 1980 coup torture has been used widely in Turkey. Statistics show that in the 1990s torture was very common in prisons across the country. Various CPT (Committee for the prevention of torture) and well as UN statistics have shown that between 1991 and 2020 Turkey had 620 cases of violation of article 3 of the ECHR. Article 3 of the ECHR treats torture as a human rights violation without exception. With the brief exception of the 2000s when the first Erdogan government declared its zero-tolerance policy towards torture, throughout this entire period torture has been a pervasive and serious issue. For the years 2010 to 2020 i.e. the entire decade independent sources estimate that 3,000 torture complaints were filed on average. The estimate of 2063 between 2013 to 2018 may also be considered alongside the 3000 complaints filed on an average.


Estimates are a reflection of what is only part of the problem. The Turkish government does not release exact numbers on the cases of torture. However, some other problems include lack of indictment in torture cases, police harassment and intimidation of individuals who pursue torture complaints against such officers who are involved in the torture of individuals, declining trend as far opening a torture case is concerned.


The consequences of torture on political prisoners in Turkey assume an altogether different dimension in Turkey. The least attention is paid to the persecution and torture of political opponents in Turkey. This has especially been so since 2016. Several laws passed after the 2016 coup ensures the possibility of long-term custody in police stations without judicial review, possibility to deny contact with a lawyer for 5 days, refusing lawyers, prohibiting the communication of the judicial file including medical reports, impunity of security officials, (…) which are accompanied by a sharp increase in (allegations of) cases of torture.


Torture in Turkey is a reality and the situation is dire. Various reports on the complaints on torture, the lack of respect for the basic rights of imprisoned people, and vague laws with the intent of persecuting political opponents have placed citizens across various sections of society in a vulnerable situation.  Some laws such as detaining people without a political review increase the possibility of grievous torture being inflicted on the individual. In addition, such provisions in various laws are in every way a violation of International law and various human rights statutes.


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