CHP report on prisoners highlights mistreatment and mischarges in post-coup attempt probes
ISTANBULA recent report prepared by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on its deputies’ observations on inmates in Turkish prisons has highlighted mistreatment during their time behind the bars, while also serving as means for the interviewed prisoners to convey their belief that they had been subjected to mischarges with mounting probes into both Gülenists and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
In the report prepared after CHP deputies Veli Ağbaba and Zeynep Altıok’s visited the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison and Silivri Prison, interviewed inmates Necmiye Alpay, Aslı Erdoğan, Deniz Seki, Hülya Sarıdede, Ümmü Çapraz, Alp Çetiner and Uğur Topkaraoğlu described their detention conditions and voiced their belief their arrests were arbitrary, against the law and politically motivated.
Linguist and author Alpay, a member of the terror-charged and now-closed daily Özgür Gündem’s advisory board who shares a ward with fellow board member Erdoğan, said their rights in the prison were much more restrictive now compared to the past.
“Upon Aslı [Erdoğan’s] objections and complaints that took place in the media, they have given her clean sheets and water… There used to be a chance for a visit from a friend, but now they have banned it. You can see only immediate family members… In wards rights are being restricted. I had served in Mamak [Prison]… for being linked with the TKP [Communist Party of Turkey] for three years. The system is very different [now],” said Alpay, as quoted in the report.
Özgür Gündem was closed and many of its members were detained after raids on their homes for allegedly publishing in support of the PKK and making propaganda for the outlawed organization.
She also stressed her place on Özgür Gündem’s advisory board was completely symbolic and that everyone closely or distantly related to the daily were being detained.
“They are fixed on enlarging the Özgür Gündem case. They are embroiling deputy editors-in-chief and others too, maybe they will arrest them,” said 70-year-old Alpay, likening the current period to a “war period” and saying that “enemy-creating policies” were still ongoing.
Erdoğan meanwhile said during the interview that her crucial needs such as a hernia pillow for her neck were not being met, adding she was at risk of paralysis as a result.
Erdoğan also said her arrest was an “arbitrary and illegal practice.”
“The law clearly says that the editorial advisory board cannot be held responsible for the daily on legal grounds... Since World War II no literary person has been arrested in Europe. My books have been translated into 14 languages but the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] looks down on literary people. My approach to violence is clear in my book. Whoever is curious about it, they can open it up and read,” said Erdoğan.
The other interviewed inmates, Sarıdede, Çapraz, Topkaaraoğlu and Çetiner, charged with being members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), said they were being subjected to a conspiracy for their actions in attempting to prevent torture and save inmates during a fire that erupted in the prison on Aug. 1.