The Turkish government’s aggressive policies both at home and abroad have reached an alarming level according to Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) 2021 report released on Thursday. In addition to the human rights violations perpetrated by the state’s security forces, the violations committed by third parties have increased due to Turkey’s failure to fulfil its legal prevention and protection obligations.
The increasing numbers of violations in the report are caused partly by an increasing culture of impunity and by the legal normalisation of the state of emergency practices approved by the Turkish President on 31 July 2018 in the article of law numbered, 7145.
According to the IHD Documentation Centre’s data, in 2021:
● 16 people lost their lives, and 27 were injured as a result of extrajudicial executions by law enforcement officers.
● Five people were killed and one person was injured in ‘unidentified attacks’.
● A total of 352 people, including at least 69 security personel (soldiers, police and village guards), 275 militants and eight civilians, lost their lives due to armed conflicts.
● Four people, including two children, lost their lives, and six were injured in mine explosions of mines and discarded bombs, .
● In Turkey’s prisons, at least 57 people lost their lives for various reasons like illness, suicide, violence, etc.
● A total of 156 people died, and 322 were injured due to negligence. Four people, including three children, lost their lives after being hit by heavy armoured military vehicles.
● 2170 workers lost their lives due to accidents at work.
● According to recorded figures, 375 women were murdered, 239 women died suspiciously, and 1305 were injured. A total of 23 women committed suicide, and nine women survived suicide attempts. The number of women forced into prostitution is 767.
● As Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention to prevent violence against women and girls on 20 March 2021 violence against women increased.
● 12 people, including three children were killed and 60 injured as a result of racist attacks.
● Security forces intervened to stop 409 demonstrations and street meetings.
● The number of people claiming to have been tortured or suffered other ill-treatment in custody is 531, 12 of whom are children. 704 people claimed to have been tortured and have suffered ill-treatment outside the places of detention 25 of whom are children. Separately, the number of prisoners claiming to have been tortured and to have suffered ill-treatment is 1414.
● According to figures from the Ministry of Justice, prisons are operating at over capacity with over 37,000 inmates in 399 prisons. The number of overcapacity prisoners indicates that the physical conditions of prisons have deteriorated further and that a significant increase in deprivation of rights continues.
The İHD drew special attention to these increase in prisoner rights violations, especially the isolation in prisons, pointing out the severe isolation conditions in İmralı Prison since 2019.
● As far as can be determined through close monitoring, there are 1517 sick prisoners, 651 of whom are seriously ill. This number is increasing year by year says the report.
● As of the end of 2021, the number of former members of parliament in prisons is seven, and the number of detained co-mayors is 25.
● Direct interventions in democratic politics continued in 2021 with widespread and repetitive detentions and arrests, especially against Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). The arrests of HDP executives and members have reached global highs and a case of closure was also filed against the party. The closure case continued throughout 2021.
● A total of 13 party buildings, one foundation, three cultural centres and five association buildings were raided by the police. Eleven party buildings were physically attacked.
A persistent state of emergency
The state of emergency declared after the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 ended on 19 July 2018. However, with the law numbered 7145, approved by the Turkish President on 31 July 2018, the state of emergency was made permanent with all its draconian consequences.
With this law, the practices that were implemented under the state of emergency, such as the 12-day detention period, the prohibition of press statements, meetings and demonstrations by the governors, the expulsion of public, were all legally normalised until 31 July 2022.
Stating that Turkey should take a step towards a de-conflicting process, the IHD advised that Turkey should ratify and put into effect the UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, recognise the UN Rome Statute, and accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, .