May 12 2019

Turkey criticises Germany's call to comply with U.N. Convention Against Torture

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday said Turkey was implementing a "zero tolerance against torture" policy in response to Germany's call to the country to remain committed to the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

"Turkey is a party to all United Nations and Council of Europe conventions against torture and ill-treatment," said Hami Aksoy, the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Zero tolerance against torture” policy is meticulously implemented since 2003," he added. 

Following accusations of torture by Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel during his detention in Turkey, the Federal Foreign Office urged Ankara to comply with the United Nations Convention against Torture without specifically mentioning Yücel's name. 

Yücel testified on Friday in Berlin as a part of an ongoing trial against him in Turkey, and he said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was personally responsible for the psychological and physical violence that he was exposed during his time prison.

"Allegations by the person subject to the statement were previously investigated by the relevant Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which decided to not further prosecute the matter," said Aksoy, adding that statements of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany are "completely groundless".

After his arrest in 2017, Yücel was held without a formal indictment being filed until February 2018. He was released from pretrial detention after a year in prison, 10 months of which were spent in solitary confinement. He returned to Germany immediately after his release, the German-Turkish journalist continues to face charges of "engaging in terrorist propaganda" and "inciting the public to enmity and hatred" for his reporting.