Opposition deputy asks if justice ministry hid truth about notorious Turkish juvenile prison
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ. AA PhotoA recent response by the justice ministry to a parliamentary question on torture and sexual abuse at a juvenile prison in Aliağa in the province of İzmir contradicted earlier claims, with an opposition deputy questioning if the ministry has hidden the bitter truth.
In a Sept. 22, 2014, response by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ to a parliamentary question filed on Jan. 17, 2014, by opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Bozdağ had said the allegations regarding the Şakran Juvenile Prison in Aliağa were groundless and the prison was being watched 24 hours a day by 288 surveillance cameras.
However, an internal notice by officials of the Şakran Prison had revealed child inmates were torturing each other, while rape and other sexual crimes were almost ordinary occurrences at the prison.
Much of the torture was committed by the older and stronger children, according to the document signed by the head of the prison, Hamit Karslıoğlu.
Upon the publishing of the internal notice, Tanrıkulu filed a second parliamentary question regarding the misbehaviors at the prison, asking why the justice ministry had misguided the public with the given answer and what was being hidden.
“What is aimed at being hidden and who is aimed at being protected?” asked a part of the parliamentary question.
The prison guards were poorly audited, while also exceeding their authority and misusing power, the internal notice report dated Dec. 2, 2014, showed, adding they often provided children with equipment which should not be used by inmates.
The report was compiled from information from prison records and the testimonies of child suspects and convicts, and was apparently sent to the psycho-social rehabilitation department of the prison.