The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) held a press conference on Tuesday regarding allegations of the torture of lawyer Mustafa Koçak during a 10-day period of detention, the Haberdar news website reported.
At the press conference İHD Co-chair lawyer Gülseren Yoleri said Koçak was detained without any grounds while walking down the street in İstanbul’s Mecidiyeköy district and kept under detention at a police station for 10 days. Koçak was reportedly tortured by four policemen both physically and psychologically. The policemen were reported to have tried to turn Koçak into an informer and threatened him by saying they would kill him and rape his sisters, according to Turkish media sources.
Upon hearing of the arrest of Koçak along with 109 other lawyers, Yoleri and Koçak’s lawyer, Berrak Çağlar, immediately went to the police station. She said decisions on the restriction of lawyers’ activities have been taken to prevent allegations of torture from being heard by the public.
Human rights group Amnesty International reported on July 24, 2016 that it had received credible evidence of detainees in Turkey being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, since a failed coup on July 15, 2016.
In September Yoleri said there is torture in Turkey’s detention centers and that torture devices that were used during coup periods in the past have been put to use again during the ongoing state of emergency declared after the coup attempt last year.
Confirming the claims, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, president of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), said during the Ankara Bar Association’s general assembly on Oct. 16, 2016 that people imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the faith-based Gülen movement are being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses.
“They remove the nails of colleagues [during detention] at police stations. Believe me, I saw people who underwent a colostomy after they were tortured with objects inserted into their anuses in prison and police stations,” said Kozağaçlı.
The İHD said in a report on Oct. 21, 2016 that there were nearly 220,000 people in Turkey’s prisons, which was more than 20 percent above the 183,000-person capacity.
According to the İHD report, Turkish prisons rapidly became overwhelmed by detentions and arrests that followed the failed coup in Turkey last July.
More than 70,000 people have been detained and 35,000 jailed as part of the witch-hunt against the Gülen movement following the coup attempt.
This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on Oct 4.