174 jails to be built in Turkey

174 jails to be built in Turkey

İsmail Saymaz – ISTANBUL
174 jails to be built in Turkey

Turkish gendarmes work outside the Silivri prison complex near Istanbul, Turkey, August 5, 2016. Picture taken August 5, 2016. REUTERS photo

More than 170 jails will be built over the next five years in Turkey, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry. The ministry’s move comes after the overcrowding in jails caused by the arrests linked to the July 15 failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).

A group of convicts gave a complaint petition to the management of a prison in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, where as many as six convicts have been placed in cells designed for three. The management directed the complaint petition to the Justice Ministry’s related department, daily Hürriyet reported on Sept. 14.

A total of 174 prisons will be built in the next five years, increasing capacity by 100,182 convicts in order to “meet the unanticipated increase in the number of convicts,” the reply sent to the prison by the ministry read. 

“The number is above the capacity of the overall penal institutions in Turkey,” the reply sent on Aug. 25 also read. 

Thousands of convicts were released from prisons after the failed seizure of government in order to open space to those arrested over links to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The release decision was announced with a state of emergency decree published in the Official Gazette. 

Meanwhile, the lawyer of the convicts who gave the complaint petition to the prison’s management commented on the situation in Turkey’s prisons.

“They are six people staying in cells built for three people,” lawyer Gül Altay told daily Hürriyet.

“They are sleeping in bunk beds in turns. The prison is already overcrowded. Instead of taking steps to solve the situation, the state plans to jail more people via opening more prisons,” she added.