Number of prisoners in Turkey increased fourfold since AKP came to power

It was reported by BirGün daily on Tuesday that number of prisoners in Turkish prisons has increased fourfold since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government under the rule of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has come to power at the end of 2002.

As a reply to Turkey’s main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputy Gamze İlgezdi’s question motion at the Parliament, Turkish Justice Ministry has stated that the number of prisoners has hit 230,735 as of November 1, 2017 in Turkey’s jails.

According to a report published by BirGün daily, the response of the Justice Ministry to the motion submitted by CHP’s İlgezdi has revealed that there is a fourfold  increase in the number of prisoners in jails since the AKP has came into power.

The data given by Justice Ministry has also showed a fifteen percent increase in the last 11 months, indicating that the increase in the number of prisoners in Turkey continue. The report shows that there were 201,010 prisoners in Turkey of January 2, 2017, but it has reached 230,735 prisoners as of November 1, 2017.

The increase in the number of female prisoners also turned out to be terrible. The number of female prisoners was 2,108 as of the end of 2002, when the AKP came into power. However, this number has increased to 10,277 as of November 1, 2017.  The data given by the Justice Ministry indicates that there has been a 388 percent increase in the number of female prisoners over the past 15 years. Moreover, the increase in the number of female prisoners from the beginning of 2017 to November 1 was 23 percent.

The number of prisoners has now become higher than the populations of the provinces of Ardahan, Artvin, Bayburt, Bartın, Bilecik, Çankırı, Erzincan, Gümüşhane, Iğdır, Kırşehir, Kilis, Sinop and Tunceli according to population data of 2016.

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

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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. 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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