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Rights Group Says Torture Is Widespread in Turkey

From Times Wire Services

Amnesty International said Tuesday it has received reports nearly every day of widespread torture in Turkey, where authorities allegedly regularly force confessions out of men, women and children through beatings, sexual abuse, electric shocks and even crucifixion.

The 73-page report by the London-based organization, which monitors human rights violations around the world, was one of the most scathing documents Amnesty International has published on a single nation in recent years.

The Turkish government has failed to respond seriously to the documented evidence of torture, Amnesty International said.

“Amnesty has received reports of torture from Turkey virtually daily during the past two months,” it said.

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Since the 1980 military coup, Amnesty International said, an estimated 250,000 political prisoners were detained and most of them were tortured.

Thousands among them were imprisoned for nonviolent political or religious activities, more than 60,000 political prisoners were jailed after unfair trials, more than 700 people were sentenced to death and at least 200 people died while in custody because of torture, the report said.

Those subjected to physical and mental torture nationwide included members of outlawed political parties, trade unionists, religious activists, members of the Kurdish ethnic minority, journalists, editors and writers and, in several cases, children, Amnesty International said.

“The authorities appear reluctant to take even the most elementary practical steps to eradicate human rights abuses and have failed to implement the provisions of the international conventions it ratified,” the report said.

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It said Turkey still has an “appalling human rights record” despite public relations efforts by its embassies around the world to improve its image.

In another effort to improve its image, the Turkish government will open the archives of the Ottoman Empire--predecessor of modern Turkey--to clear up charges that about 1.5 million Armenians were massacred during World War I, the Istanbul daily Milliyet reported.


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