A State of Emergency (OHAL) was declared after coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and lasted two years negatively affected human rights in Turkey.

DW Turkish scrutinised Turkey’s human rights record with the occasion of “December 10 World Human Rights Day” which is celebrated every year. Prisons are one of the places affected by this situation. It is a fact expressed by the Ministry of Justice that the problems in prisons have also increased with the rising number of prisoners during the state of emergency.

OHAL Affected Prisons Adversely

In response to a request to the Grand Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) Petition Commission, the Ministry stated: “Recently, there has been capacity problems due to the excessive increase in the number of prisoners in penal institutions.” In addition to the overcrowding, the diversity of the profile of the convicts and detainees as well as the excess in the number of organizations cause the capacity distress to be felt more. Minister of Justice, Abdülhamit Gül stated that as of 16 November 2018, 202 thousand 434 people were convicted and 57 thousand 710 people were detained and in total 260 thousand 144 people were in prison.

Thousands of Public Employees Expelled from Office

36 Decree Laws (KHK) were issued in the two-year period. According to the joint statement made by CHP, HDP and SP in the Assembly last October, 134 thousand 207 civil servants were expelled during the state of emergency. According to the report of CHP titled as “2 Years with State of Emergency / Balance of the Civilian Coup”, the highest number of people expelled from office was under the Ministry of Interior with 41 thousand 797 people. In addition, the Decree Laws issued in the State of Emergency affected the activities in the field of organization. With the Decree Law, 19 trade unions, 1431 associations, 145 foundations and 375 non-governmental organizations were closed.

Regression in Freedom

In the report “Freedom in the World 2018 ” released by Us-based think-tank organization named “Freedom House”, Turkey defined as “the country where freedom is restricted most” regressed from the “partly free” category to “non-free countries” category. In the report, particular attention was paid to the problems experienced in the field of freedom of expression and press. International Press Institute (IPI) stated that 162 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey.

Cases of Suspected Deaths Increased

Other issues related to prisons are maltreatment, torture, suspected death and suicide cases. According to the CHP report, at least 50 people who were arrested during the period of State of Emergency killed themselves by committing suicide. In the report” Violations in the State of Emergency and its and Social Aspects” prepared by Rights and Justice Platform, 23.5 percent of the people detained in the post-coup period during the state of emergency period stated that they were ill-treated and tortured. The most frequent allegations of torture and maltreatment were psychological pressure, verbal violence and toilet-bathroom restrictions.

Violation of Rights Remains Unpunished

Prof. Dr. Şebnem Fincancı, President of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, who was interviewed by Burcu Karakaş from DW Turkish stressed that severe human rights violations took place in Turkey in recent years, but these violations remain unpunished “We live in a country where arrangements are made to protect torturers. Impunity is being legalized. The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are not recognized.” Professor Fincancı pointed out that those who use freedom of expression were detained and prosecuted with the accusations of being “terrorists” or “terror-related”. Fincancı stated that “there were very serious rights violations in prisons and added: There are important problems in meeting the basic requirements. There are heavy isolation conditions. Monitoring conducted by independent human rights organizations in the prisons is limited and they are under threat.”

CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrikulu prepared a report on the violations since 2002, when AK Party was founded. In the report,

  • Between 2002 and 2018, the rights to life of 47 thousand 910 people were violated.
  • At the same time, at least 14 thousand 960 women were murdered.
  • 58 people died as a result of hate crimes.
  • 22 thousand 224 people were killed as a result of occupational homicide.
  • 21 thousand 325 people were found to be tortured and ill-treated.
  • 591 journalists were arrested.
  • Between 2011 and 2018, the right to life of 4 thousand 3 children was violated.
  • Between 2008 and 2018, 357 people died while performing their mandatory military service. 35 of those have suspected deaths.
  • 16 thousand 28 people committed suicide between 2012 and 2017.”


Another important issue to consider is that women are detained while they are pregnant or immediately after they have given birth.  Security officers who are informed that these patients are registered at the hospital are waiting in front of the door of the patient room. This practice makes it difficult to monitor the medical condition of the patients and supplement the medication and diet. On the other hand, there were cases where mothers who gave birth were not even allowed to breastfeed their babies during their custody. A mother who has just given birth can go to prison together with her baby. The number of children currently in prison together with his mother, including infants, has exceeded 740.


Sezgin Tanrıkulu, CHP Istanbul deputy and Vice President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Committee, announced “March 2019 Violations Report”.

According to the report, the number of violations of the right to life in March is 180. In this context, 1 person lost his life and 4 others were injured due to “extrajudicial killings, stop warnings and random firing events”.

7 people died in prisons and 22 right violations took place in armed conflicts.

Number of journalists detained in a month is 15.