Turkish government builds prison in Jarablus in northern Syria

Turkish government has reportedly started to build a prison in Rai in Northern Syria’s Jarablus district where the Turkish military took control with the the military campaign of  Euphrates Shield.

The Environment and Urbanism Directorate of Kilis Governorate acted as the controller in the bid which went to Reytaş Construction Co., an İstanbul-based company that has grown rapidly thanks to tenders given by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. According to a report by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) the construction of the prison started on December 6, 2017 and the promised delivery date is May 6, 2018.

The move came after Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that Turkey has a district governor in Jarablus. Soylu attended AKP’s Merkezefendi District Congress on January 28, 2018 in the Denizli province and said that “I as the interior minister, say that today we have a district governor in Azaz, Jarablus and Marel, we have police chiefs and gendarmerie commanders.”

The Turkish Ministry of Justice has also plans to build 228 new prisons across Turkey with a capacity of 137,687 in the next five years. In response to a question from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Murat Erdemir regarding prison projects, the General Directorate of Prisons stated that 79 new prisons have been built since 2013, increasing capacity by 66,451. The new plan is to build 228 new prisons with a capacity for 137,687 inmates in the next five years. There are currently 384 prisons with a capacity of 207,279 in Turkey; however, the total number of inmates was 228,983 as of October 2017.


Meanwhile, a Turkish soldier was killed on Tuesday after rocket and air attacks on a military observation point in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said. The TSK added that five more soldiers and one civilian staff member were wounded during the attacks on observation point No. 6.

According to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, the Turkish military established several observation points in Idlib as part of the de-escalation zone deal reached during Astana peace process, backed by Turkey, Russia and Iran. The aim of the observation posts is to establish, monitor and sustain the current cease-fire in the de-escalation zones, deliver humanitarian aid to persons in need and to ensure the secure return of displaced people.

During peace talks in the Kazakh capital, the three guarantor countries, Turkey, Iran and Russia, had agreed to establish de-escalation zones in Idlib and parts of Aleppo, Latakia and Hama provinces.

A Turkish military convoy reached western Aleppo countryside Monday to set up another observation point in the area. On Jan. 30, the PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorists targeted another Turkish military convoy in Idlib with a car bomb, killing a civilian personnel and wounding a soldier and another civilian personnel.

According to report by Reuters, Turkish army began setting up the outpost on Monday southwest of Aleppo city, the deepest position they have established so far inside northwestern Syria under the agreement with Moscow and Tehran aimed at “de-escalating” the violence.

Turkey, which supported rebel fighters trying to overthrow Assad, has worked with Assad’s main international backers Russia and Iran in recent months to try to stem some of the bloodshed in Syria’s nearly seven-year-old civil war. But all three countries remain deeply involved in the fighting, and stark divisions remain.

Iran urged Turkey on Monday to stop its two-week-old military offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria’s Afrin region, which neighbors Idlib.

In a warning to Ankara, a commander in the military alliance supporting Assad said the Syrian army had deployed new air defenses and anti-aircraft missiles to frontlines with rebels in the Aleppo and Idlib areas close to Turkey. “They cover the air space of the Syrian north,” the commander told Reuters. That would include the Afrin area where Turkish warplanes have been supporting a ground offensive by the Turkish army and Free Syrian Army factions.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the observation post being established by Turkey was near the village of al-Eis, which would place it less than five km from territory held by Syrian government forces and their allies. A week ago, a large Turkish military convoy heading for the same area pulled back after it was hit by a car bomb which killed one person.


Meanwhile, Erdoğan’s racist ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has said he is “ready to sacrifice his life” in Turkey’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in the northern Syrian district of Afrin. “If necessary I will go to Afrin just like a Bozkurt (Grey Wolf). If it is necessary, if there is a need, I will sacrifice my life for this nation,” Bahçeli said on Tuesday, addressing his party group in parliament.

The grey wolf is a ultra-nationalist symbol among far-right nationalist groups in Turkey. Reiterating the MHP’s support for the Afrin offensive, which has entered its third week, Bahçeli said it aims to “to destroy the terrorist organizations that the West has fed and brought up.”

“Whoever opposes us in this process, our attitude should not and will not change,” he said and added that “This is a fight about existence or nonexistence. Afrin must be destroyed!” Bahçeli has also said that “The US has unnamed malicious intentions against Turkey, which could also be seen during the Cold War.”

Bahçeli has also stated that the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), representing 80 percent of Turkey’s doctors, should immediately be subject to legal sanction or shut down after calling for peace in reaction to Turkey’s ongoing operation in northern Syria. “The Turkish Medical Association is Turkophobic, it is a blemish on the face of medicine,” Bahçeli said. “There must immediately be legal arrangements carried out or a lock must be put on its door.”The association had committed treason, Bahçeli said, and must be punished for it.

A total of 970 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and allegedly ISIL militants have been “neutralized” since the launch of Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin region, the military said on Tuesday. Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured. In a statement, the Turkish General Staff said 23 PYD/PKK and ISIL militants had been neutralized in the early hours of Tuesday.

Moreover, Turkish government has detained at least 10 people on Tuesday for allegedly promoting the PYD/PKK on their social media accounts, according to a police source. Turkish anti-terror squads conducted simultaneous operations in the Kulu and Karapınar districts of central Konya province on Tuesday morning. The suspects allegedly voiced their support of the PYD/PKK and spread “black propaganda” against the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.

Ayşe Gökkan, a Turkish activist and a member of Free Women Movement (TJA), has been detained by Turkish police in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province, the sendika.org news portal reported on Monday. According to the report, Gökkan was taken into custody in Nusaybin’s Abdulkadir Paşa neighbourhood due to an outstanding detention warrant and was taken to the Mardin Police Station.

Hasan Özaydın, Bursa district head for the Labour Party (EMEP), has also been put in pre-trial detention over social media messages concerning a Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria, the Birgün daily reported. According to the report, Bursa police detained Özaydın and several other officials from the party early on February 2 due to tweets in critical of the Turkish government for the recent military operations in Syria.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Mersin Province Co-chair Fatmagül Demirtag was also detained at a police checkpoint in Osmaniye province. As the reason for the detention is unknown she was taken to Osmaniye Province Security Directorate first, and later to Mersin Province Security Directorate.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!