Torture carried out with impunity in Turkish prisons – human rights defender

Turkish human rights advocate, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, shared with Ahval her reflections on last week's United Nations periodic review of Turkey, which focused on the country's human rights violations including the use of torture that she said was being carried out systematically and going unpunished.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reviewed Turkey for the third time in 10 years on Jan. 28 to examine the country’s broad human rights trends, covering a diverse range of topics including hate crimes, minority and LGBT rights, and press freedoms.

It covers a period in which Turkey was rocked by an attempted coup in 2016, followed by two years of emergency rule during which the government used its heightened security powers to sack and arrest thousands of people who were alleged members of the Gülen religious movement that it blamed for the failed putsch.

Fincancı made a presentation during the UN session, detailing torture in Turkish prisons. She said journalists and lawyers had been jailed for shedding light on human rights violations, and perpetrators of torture in those prisons were carrying out crimes with impunity.

Fincancı said the representatives at the review had subjected Turkey to 455 different criticisms for human rights violations.

Turkey's representative at the UN review, deputy foreign minister Faruk Kaymakçı, hit back at the criticism by saying that heightened security measures were necessary after the 2016 coup attempt, and that journalists were jailed not for their reporting but for their links to terrorist groups.

Fincancı said that Kaymakçı had resorted to using lies to cover for the massive human rights violations revealed during the U.N.'s review.