Turkish minister denies Amnesty International report on coup detainee torture
ISTANBULJustice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has denied a report by human rights group Amnesty International that it has credible evidence of abuse and torture of individuals detained in relation to the July 15 failed coup attempt. Bozdağ said the report was part of a “misinformation campaign.”
“No detainee has been tortured or mistreated during or after their detainment,” Bozdağ stated on his Twitter account on July 25, accusing the rights group of “being an instrument of FETÖ/PDY [Fethullahist Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure] propaganda.”
“Amnesty International believes in the slander of FETÖ/PDY members and unfairly accuses Turkey without any accurate information,” he added.
The London-based group reported on July 24 that some of those being held over links to the coup plot were being “subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centers in the country.”
The report was denied by a senior Turkish official, who claimed that it was “absurd” that Turkey – a country seeking membership to the EU – would not uphold human rights.
“We categorically deny the allegations and encourage advocacy groups to provide an unbiased account of the legal steps that are being taken against people who murdered nearly 250 civilians in cold blood,” the official said.
Amnesty said it had received reports that police in Istanbul and the capital Ankara were holding detainees in “stress positions” for up to 48 hours.
It said detainees were also being denied food, water and medical treatment while being verbally abused and threatened, adding that higher-ranking military officials were subject to worse treatment than other detainees.
It said its report was based on interviews conducted with lawyers, doctors and one person on duty in a detention facility.
“Turkey is understandably concerned with public security at the moment, but no circumstances can ever justify torture and other ill-treatment or arbitrary detention,” said Amnesty’s Europe director John Dalhuisen, who urged Turkish authorities to stop “these abhorrent practices” and allow international monitors into the centers where detainees are held.
Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry has also issued a statement saying Turkey is a constitutional state, and that it was meeting national and international criteria on human rights law even amid a state of emergency.
“The health conditions of the detainees were checked by doctors after the detention and during custody, in line with detention regulations,” the statement said.
It added that contrary to Amnesty International’s claim that Turkey lacked an institution that monitored detention conditions, the Human Rights and Equality Institution was continuing to fulfill its duties.