People detained for alleged links to the Gülen movement have been tortured in a police detention center in Ankara, according to news site TR724 reported.
According to TR724, 300 people have been arrested in the past two weeks during police raids across Turkey in investigations overseen by Ankara’s attorney general’s office.
Some of the detainees were beaten and forced to sign false confessions while in police custody, the website reported, citing their families and lawyers.
Human rights defender and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu called Turkish authorities to investigate allegations of ill-treatment and torture at the Ankara Police Centre.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting supporters of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since corruption probes from December 17-25, 2013, which involved then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and those around him.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and a plot against his government, Erdoğan branded the movement a terrorist organization and began targeting its members. He stepped up the crackdown on the movement following an aborted July 15, 2016 putsch that he accused Gülen of orchestrating. Gülen and the movement strongly deny any involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on November 22.
After the aborted putsch, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers, as evidenced by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in a report based on his mission to Turkey between November 27 and December 2, 2016. The lack of condemnation from senior officials and the desire to cover up the allegations rather than investigate them resulted in widespread impunity for the forces of security.
According to the UN special rapporteur, “torture and other forms of ill-treatment were commonplace” in Turkey. “[T]here seemed to be a serious disconnect between stated government policy and its implementation in practice,” the special rapporteur noted.
The Council of Europe (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has confirmed in two gears published in August 2020 the continued existence of ill-treatment, torture, informal interrogations and restricted access to a lawyer as well as a fundamentally flawed medical screening system in Turkish detention centers.