Last year on May 26, we were shocked by the news that our former colleagues were severely tortured under police custody. Ankara Bar Association, by interviewing the victims, documented in its report that the police tortured at least five former diplomats of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. We, as the members of the Institute of Diplomacy and Economy (INSTITUDE), will never let this villain and heinous act be forgotten.
On 20 May 2019, more than 100 former colleagues were taken into custody on trumped up politically motivated terrorism charges. MP Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, well-known human rights activist, informed the public on 26 May 2019 that “detained former diplomats were severely beaten, tortured and threatened with rape with batons whilst under police custody”. ,
Ankara Bar Association investigated these claims and documented the torture and ill-treatment. The Bar Association reported that some of the victims, in one case until passed out, were severely beaten. At least in five cases our former colleagues were stripped naked, handcuffed behind the back, forced to sit in fetal position, batons were moved around their anal openings, all the while threatened with rape. We are saddened to state that, according to the credible information we received, at least in one case, the rape through penetration of baton occurred.
Although the Office of Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor stated that it launched an investigation on the incident, the investigation has so far proven to be ineffective and inconclusive despite the existence of credible and well-documented findings.
Torture is a crime against humanity under both the domestic and international law. It is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances, including armed conflict, the fight against terrorism, political instability or any other conditions meriting state of emergency. Particularly, systematic and widespread practice of torture triggers universal jurisdiction without any statutory limits at all, for anyone involved as inciter, instigator or accomplice.
We urge the Turkish government to abide by its obligations arising from the Constitution and international treaties, particularly the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
We call on Turkish authorities to refrain from, prevent, and effectively investigate, any kind of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. It’s also vital that international bodies such as the UN Committee against Torture, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and international human rights organizations remain vigilant against torture and ill-treatment cases in Turkey and continue closely monitoring those cases.