Öztürk Türkdoğan, the co-chair of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD) has stated that Turkey chose not to provide relevant information to the European Council Committee of Ministers in its response to the application made by a number of NGOs regarding a review of the implementation of a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on the execution of aggravated life sentences in Turkey.
The 2014 ECHR ruling in the case of Öcalan versus Turkey had concluded that the solitary confinement imposed on Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and the sentence that disallowed any possibility of conditional release, constituted a human rights violation.
Türkdoğan indicated that, even as the Committee of Ministers was expected to take up the matter at a meeting in December, Turkey has responded to it with “misleading information.”
“Turkey has referred to the provisions of the Law No. 7242, adopted last year, regarding the execution of prison sentences related to common criminal cases,” he said.
“However, everyone knows that there is a Counter-Terrorism Law in Turkey. There is an Article 17 of that law. (…) So, Turkey has provided an incomplete answer.”
He added that this response was probably sent in vain since it was apparent that the application was about the execution of prison sentences regarding terror offences: “Doesn’t the Committee of Ministers know that there is a Counter-Terrorism Law in Turkey? Isn’t it obvious that people who were convicted for offences defined in that law are subjected to a different execution regime? Of course, it is obvious,” he stated.
Türkdoğan also emphasised that the past report and recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) were disregarded by Turkey: “In 2019, the CPT visited the Imrali prison in Turkey. They had certain observations, followed by a series of recommendations. Turkey did not comply with these,” he observed.