Nordic Monitor reveals content of censored Council of Europe torture report on Turkey

Documents detailing torture and abuse in Turkish prisons and detention centers obtained by Nordic Monitor explain why Turkey has for four years blocked the publication of a report by a Council of Europe committee that paid a fact-finding visit to Turkey in 2016 to investigate allegations of torture and ill treatment in Turkish correctional facilities.

Brutally tortured, robbed of his property and livelihood, imprisoned and his family stigmatized, Col. Cemil Turhan and his story represent the epitome of suffering caused by human rights abuses committed on a massive scale in post-coup Turkey. He was one of victims who gave a statement to the visiting members of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), a Council of Europe-affiliated body.

The CPT aims to combat torture and other ill treatment through unannounced visits to places of detention of CoE member states. The CPT delegation was in Turkey to conduct inspections between August 28 and September 6, 2016. The delegation’s visit came amid widespread allegations raised first by Amnesty International, which stated that it had collected credible evidence that detainees in Turkey were beaten, tortured and on some occasions raped in official and unofficial detention centers across the country.

CPT investigators interviewed Turhan, among others, in the prison where he had been incarcerated and recorded his story in a report that was compiled after the visit. However, the details were never made public because Turkey vetoed the publication of the report. CPT President Mykola Gnatovskyy stated in 2017 that even though he “[wanted] to discuss the findings,” he could not comment on the report due to Ankara’s decision.

A photograph of Col. Cemil Turhan’s taken on July 20, 2016, when he first arrived at Sincan No.2 Prison in Ankara, used for his prison ID. After the CPT delegation spoke to him, Turkish authorities removed this photo from their records.

Turhan had the opportunity during a January 2019 court hearing to expose the gruesome details of the torture and inhuman treatment he had experienced during his time in police custody and pretrial detention, and even while he was being taken to the courtroom for his arraignment. The Turkish press did not cover his statement out of fear that they might invite the wrath of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had seized and shut down nearly 200 media outlets since 2015.

He substantiated his claims with CCTV footage, photos, medical reports, official documents and witness statements. His disfigured face in pictures taken by the government bears testimony to what he said; yet, his allegations were to no avail.

Torture and inhumane treatment have become part of a domestic policy of suppression of dissidents in Turkey under the government of President Erdoğan as evidenced by the civil, criminal, administrative and financial immunity extended by the government to public officials engaged in those practices.

Turhan was a military officer, a colonel, arrested after a failed coup on July 15, 2016 which, according to many, was a false flag aimed at entrenching Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule by rooting out dissidents and eliminating powerful actors such as the military in his desire for absolute power.

Cemil Turhan’s statement in court in January 2019: READ MORE…

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