Turkey’s General Director of Prisons and Detention Houses, Enis Yavuz Yıldırım, said on Friday that Turkey’s prisons are now over capacitated with nearly 40,000 new arrests following the failed coup attempt on July 15.

According to the information shared by Yıldırım at Human Rights Commission in the Turkish parliament on Friday, there are nearly 195,000 prisoners in 372 prisons across Turkey which is four percent more than the maximum capacity, Yıldırım added.

Yıldırım also said that nearly 40,000 people have been jailed since July 15 and 34,000 of them are arrested over links with Gülen movement whose sympathizers are accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the failed coup.

In a penal reform announced mid-August, the government ruled on releases of 38,000 prisoners to free up spaces for newcomers. A month after Justice Ministry said the government will build 174 new prisons within the next five years and create space for as many as 100,182 people.

Anonymous tips submitted to Turkey Purge and letters by journalists who were briefly detained following the coup have also confirmed that people have been held in overcrowded cell.

Amnesty International stated that it had collected credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are beaten, tortured and on some occasions raped in official and unofficial detention centers across the country, on July 24.


This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on October 14.