Parliament speaker rejects request for inquiry into torture allegations, claiming objectionable language in complaint

Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Mustafa Şentop returned a letter to human rights activist and lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, claiming that it contained “vulgar and hurtful words.”

According to the Evrensel daily, Gergerlioğlu, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), submitted the letter of a torture victim and requested the opening of a parliamentary inquiry into his allegations. The victim, Hasan Cura, claimed he was tortured while in custody back in 1990.

Cura claimed he was detained in the Elbistan district of the southern province of Kahramanmaraş and was subjected to various types of torture for more than 10 days, including electrical shock to his genitals.

“They accused me of membership in a terrorist organization, but my only guilt was being an Alevi Kurd,” Cura said. “I was in Malatya Prison for 10 months, and the only ‘evidence’ they had was a complaint by someone. They wrapped wires around my genitals and electrocuted me. I constantly spit up blood and had rectal bleeding.”

Cura said he wanted to display the marks of torture on his body in court but that he was thrown out. He was released pending trial after 10 months. He then migrated to Switzerland in 1992

“I am not ashamed to talk about this. Let those who tortured me be ashamed,” he said. “I have been receiving psychological treatment for years.”

In his response to Gergerlioğlu, Şentop quoted a bylaw that states, “If a submission sent to the speaker’s office contains vulgar or hurtful words, the speaker will return the request in question for the necessary changes to be made.”

Torture was rampant in Turkey in the 1990s, in the context of the heightened conflict between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed secessionist group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

In its 2012 report “Time for Justice: Ending Impunity for Killings and Disappearances in 1990s Turkey,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) underlined that “In scores of rulings against Turkey from the 1990s onwards, the European Court of Human Rights found … a pattern of torture of Turkish and Kurdish detainees throughout Turkey in the 1990s.”

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