In a political climate where those who do not submit to the government are announced as traitors alongside the coupists, torture is openly displayed without the need to hide. The proud display of torture attests to the state’s entry into the extralegal realm and serves no purpose other than routinization of state violence in Turkey, in whose prisons torture and ill treatment reports never come to end.
The photographs and video footage showing physically abused people in print and visual media after the putting down of July 15 coup attempt was a clear sign of this process.
The unrestrained exhibition of violence illustrates that the aim of the state mechanism is not the exposition of truth through a fair judgment process but rather revenge and consolidation of power.
Torture is a crime that targets human dignity. It is absolutely banned in all basic human rights agreements. The violation of human dignity not only leaves torture victims with great suffering but also has long time effects even on today’s perpetrators and harms social dignity. These lands become more precarious and ruinous with the total disregard of law and human rights, which may protect today’s powerholders in the future.
One of the first undertakings of the State of Emergency was the lengthening of detainment times and people have been precariously held in custody up to 30 days. Following the first statutory decree, ten people including the municipality co-chair have been detained in Diyarbakir’s Dicle province and they are still kept in custody. On August 1, 67 party members from HDP and DBP have been detained in Erzurum Karayazi. The violence of the operation was captured in footage.
Detainment and arrest operations continue full force in many cities including Diyarbakır, Hatay, Adana, Van, Dersim, Muş, Bitlis, İstanbul, İzmir, Mersin, and Ankara. These operations target a wide array of people including co-chairs of municipalities, Education and Science Workers’ Union workers, public workers, and shopkeepers. The statutory decree that was initially passed to prosecute coupists is used to suppress people who have nothing to do with the coup.
While all the judges, prosecutors, and policemen who took charge in the KCK operations that started in 2009 and led to over 8000 arrests have been arrested one after another, Kurdish politicians are once again scapegoated and targeted by the state. In long detainment periods that violate personal security and right to freedom, people are prevented from seeing a lawyer and this gives the go ahead to torture.
The groundless, haphazard, and violent detention of peace and democracy supporters has nothing to do with the efforts against coup attempt. An arbitrary State of Emergency rule that disregards the basic human rights and freedoms is as unlawful as a coup attempt that aims to eliminate constitutional rule.
Because it disregards the people’s will, this wave of detention and torture targeting the elected representatives of the people and those who work in the legitimate political terrain can only contribute to the polarization in the society and remove the possibility of peace to a greater distance. Torture and long detention periods are unlawful and against basic human rights. They must be stopped right away.
HDP Vice Co-Chair
August 16, 2016