380 people, including 2 minors, mistreated in Turkey in December: rights report

CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu

Cases of human rights violations in Turkey in December included 380 incidents of mistreatment, with 86 of them taking place in prisons, according to a report by a main opposition party lawmaker.

The December report on human rights violations in Turkey was drafted by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) who is also a prominent rights activist and deputy chair of a parliamentary committee on human rights.

According to Tanrıkulu, two of those who were subjected to mistreatment were minors.

After an abortive putsch in July, 2016, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish prisons and detention centers. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

According to the report Turkish police intervened in at least 29 demonstrations, public press statements and gatherings last month, detaining at least 393 people. Seventy-three  people were also arrested for participation in protests, the report said.

In December Turkish authorities launched investigations into five members of the press; two journalists were convicted; five members of the press were detained; and four journalists were attacked while performing their jobs.

Access to 44 URLs was blocked, 23 individuals were arrested over their social media messages, and nine people were convicted for their social media posts in December, the report said.

Rights groups routinely accuse the Turkish government of trying to keep the press under control by imprisoning journalists, eliminating media outlets, overseeing the purchase of media brands by pro-government conglomerates and using regulatory authorities to exert financial pressure, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan survived a failed coup in 2016.

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