Prison in northwestern Turkey operating at 300 percent capacity


An opposition lawmaker in Turkey has announced that a prison in Edirne is holding 1,800 inmates even though its capacity is 600, forcing some 650 prisoners to sleep on the floor, the Kronos news website reported on Monday.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a leading rights advocate and a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), held a press briefing at parliament about the poor conditions in the prison, located in the border province of Edirne.

Gergerlioğlu said the water supply in the prison was limited to half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. He added that inmates are not provided with hot water and that some babies who are accompanying their imprisoned mothers were being bathed in cold water.

The prison administration refused to respond to mothers’ request for protective measures after a 7-month-old fell from the top of a bunk bed.

Prisons in Edirne are typically the destination of Turkish asylum seekers who are intercepted and arrested while attempting to flee to neighboring Greece and those who are summarily pushed back by Greek authorities after crossing the border.

In other news on Monday, eight inmates incarcerated in the central Anatolian province of Konya sent a letter to the Human Rights Association (İHD) complaining of what they described as “severe isolation,” the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

The prisoners said their wards were not ventilated and the windows were sealed off with iron bars. They also said they were not allowed to have any open-air time.

The inmates added that some of them were denied parole despite their eligibility.

Turkey is by far the leader in the number of prisoners in Europe, according to the 2022 Council of Europe (CoE) Annual Penal Statistics on Prison Populations Report. The country’s prisons are also often criticized for being overcrowded and unhygienic.

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