Erdoğan says identical uniforms for coup suspects soon in Turkey

Despite reactions that it would be against human rights, Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday said identical uniforms designed for jailed suspects in trials concerning a failed coup will soon be put into practice, t24 online news portal reported.

“You will soon see them [jailed people allegedly linked to the Gülen movement] in  identical uniforms. Our judiciary will make decisions [about them] by the end of this year,” said Erdoğan during a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in İstanbul

Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ said on Aug. 15 that the matter of identical uniforms can only be enforced by a law or government decree and that he expects that it will be included in an upcoming decree.

After noncommissioned officer Gökhan Güçlü, one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against President Erdoğan on the night of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, was thrown out of the courtroom on July 13 for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” on it, Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 31 that all suspects in ongoing failed coup trials were going to wear identical brown uniforms during court hearings.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Ahmet Yıldırım said on Aug. 17 that the government made Güçlü wear the hero T-shirt in order to impose identical uniforms on inmates.

Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said that if a proposed government regulation on uniforms for coup suspects were adopted, nearly 50,000 uniforms would be sewn by inmates and then sent to prisons holding suspects in cases involving followers of the Gülen movement.

Speaking on the issue in July, President Erdoğan said: “We recently spoke to Mr. Prime Minister. They should wear uniforms like they do at Guantanamo [prison] when going to court.”

Former European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judge Rıza Türmen said obliging all suspects in ongoing trials concerning the failed coup to wear identical uniforms is against human rights and violates the right to a fair trial.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling AKP government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (

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