Chair of United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) Suzanne Jabbour has met with Turkey’s Human Rights Investigation Commission Chairman Hakan Çavuşoğlu, reported Birgün Newspaper.
SPT, the UN’s top body against torture, visited Turkey this September to assess how the authorities and national preventive mechanisms in the country have implemented SPT’s previous recommendations, said Jabbour.
In response to the visit by SPT, and despite being presented with evidence of torture in prisons, police stations and on the streets, Çavuşoğlu stated that systematic torture does not occur in Turkey.
Çavuşoğlu claimed that terrorist organisations abuse the concept of torture in order to weaken Turkey’s political position.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) director of Human Rights, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, spoke to Birgün, saying they reject Çavuşoğlu’s statements and that he speaks as a government representative rather than as the President of the Commission. Turkey’s Human Rights Commission Chairman Çavuşoğlu is also Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Çavuşoğlu makes statements entirely from a State perspective, he forces and denies reality. Torture exists now just as it has in every other period,” said Tanrıkulu.
“The difference with this period now is that torture is not only carried out indoors, but in open places where everyone can see it,” added Tanrıkulu.
Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP also criticised the statements of Çavuşoğlu.
“There are people who recounted in detail that they were held for a long time, like six months, and that they were tortured. They described the place where they were held,” said Taşdemir.
“Since the 1990s, the state’s approach to torture has always used the same arguments. They said it was a lie. However when people lost their lives during torture, instead of active investigation, a policy of denial was followed,” added Taşdemir.