This is Turkey, the closest ally of US-Europe.

A girl tortured
Turkish prisons
Turkish prisons


Döne Talun

Döne Talun was just 12 years old when she was arrested in January 1995. Her crime? She was suspected of stealing bread.

For five days she was illegally held at Ankara Police Headquarters without access to her family or a lawyer:

"They beat me in the car as they were taking me to the police headquarters. In the evening I was blindfolded. They tied me up and connected a wire to my fingers. Then they said: 'We will give you something.' Then one of them switched on the generator. They also gave me shocks to my face. Next morning I was interrogated ... I told them that I didn't do it. One of them beat me with his walkie-talkie hard on the head. They also punched me in the stomach ... The bruising I had on my neck came from being hit with a truncheon."

A year later, to her distress, Döne Talun learned that the prosecutor had decided not to prosecute anyone for torturing her. The system which propagates torture in Turkey had once again served to protect torturers.

Mahir G. was 14 years old when he and 15 other students and young people were detained in December 1995. The authorities claimed that they were members of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front and accused them of writing slogans on walls, distributing leaflets and of starting a fire in a barber's shop -- despite reports from the fire brigade that the fire appeared to be an accident.

The students say that they were held in Manisa Police Headquarters and for 10 days tortured. Mahir's testimony shows what can happen when members of security forces feel themselves to be above the law.

"...about 10 police fell upon me...They kept hitting my head and my stomach...They forced me to undress and kept me under a cold shower...There were sounds of screams and cries coming from other rooms...they twisted my testicles...Four of them held me by the hands and arms and gave electric shocks to my right thumb, to my sexual organs, to my arms and to my stomach..."
Mahir still suffers psychological and physical after-effects.

Halil Ibrahim Okkali, a 12-year-old boy, was arrested on 27 November 1995, on suspicion of theft. By the time his father came to pick him up later that evening he was covered in bruises. He was subsequently treated in intensive care and his arm put in plaster. After just hours in the police station he had to spend three days in hospital.

Halil says that when he was taken to the Çinarli Police Station in Izmir two police officers interrogated him. They took him to the toilet area, beat him repeatedly with their truncheons and kicked him when he fell down.

A complaint was filed and a trial against two police officers was opened in March 1996.

Children at risk

No one who finds themselves in a Turkish police station is safe from torture, not even a child.

Children and young people, many arrested on suspicion of minor offences, are being tortured and ill-treated in police stations and denied the special protection which the law provides for them.

Turkish law recognizes that children need special safeguards. It states that those under 16 years old can only be interrogated by a prosecutor and in the presence of a lawyer. But these provisions are often flouted.

Children from less advantaged backgrounds seem to be particularly at risk. So are children and young people charged under the Anti-Terror Law.

For decades Amnesty International has been drawing attention to the underlying causes which allow torture and ill-treatment to persist: incommunicado police detention, the failure to investigate torture allegations and to make sure that those responsible for torture and ill-treatment are brought to justice.

Turkish law recognizes that children are particularly vulnerable; in order to make these safeguards effective the Turkish Government should not only prosecute and punish torturers but also impose strong penalties against police or gendarmerie officers who ignore proper custody procedures for children.