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781 people reported torture in Turkey in 2023 (human rights foundation)

781 people reported torture in Turkey in 2023 (human rights foundation)
781 people reported torture in Turkey in 2023 (human rights foundation)


A total of 781 people requested help in 2023 from the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (THV) for themselves or a loved one due to alleged incidents of torture and ill-treatment. Stockholm Freedom Center » reported, citing a recent TIHV report.

THE report reports that 739 people personally claimed to have been subjected to torture, while 42 reported it on behalf of a loved one, bringing the total number of requests made to THV over the past decade to 7,548 and since its creation in 1990, at 21,894.

The report also notes that six people died in custody due to torture.

Torture in detention and prisons is a systematic problem in Turkey about which local rights groups, parliamentarians and state authorities receive hundreds of complaints each year. Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution expressing concern over the increase in alleged incidents reported in Turkey in recent years.

The report indicates that 81.8 percent of torture victims (598 people) underwent formal detention procedures, while 18.8 percent (133 people) reported experiencing unofficial detentions without an official record. This high rate of unofficial detentions is believed to be linked to police interventions during public demonstrations.

Rights groups also complain of a climate of impunity, with most complaints about alleged incidents leading to no thorough investigation, in some cases despite available CCTV footage.

Among the victims, 240 identified as women (32.8%), 428 as men (58.5%) and 63 as non-binary. The age range of the victims was 7 to 77 years old, with almost half (49.2%) aged 19 to 35 years old. June and July saw an increase in the number of requests due to police interventions during Pride Week events.

The highest number of reports of torture came from Istanbul, with 251 requests, followed by Zmir (172), Van (161), Diyarbakr (125), Cizre (40) and Ankara (32). Istanbul police topped the list of places where detainees reported being tortured.

The distribution of torture reports shows a significant concentration in the southeastern and eastern regions of Anatolia, which are home to a large Kurdish population. Kurdish speakers made up 67 percent of reports, a stark contrast to the 23.5 percent Turkish population in these areas, highlighting a disproportionate impact on Kurdish individuals.

Eight of the reported torture cases occurred outside Turkey. Since the July 2016 coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoan's government has resorted to extra-legal methods to secure the return of his critics after his official extradition requests were rejected. The government's campaign has relied primarily on renditions, in which the government and its intelligence agency, MT, persuade affected states to hand over individuals without due process. The victims suffered numerous human rights violations, includingarbitrary arrests, home searches, torture and ill-treatmentduring these operations.

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