Commission Assessment of Candidature Countries: Amnesty Says Systematic Torture Continues in Turkey

As the European Commission finalizes its 2002 progress reports on EU Candidate Countries, Amnesty International releases a new report showing that systematic torture in Turkey is continuing despite recent legal reforms. Amnesty International calls on the EU to urge Turkey to set a date for the abolition of incommunicado detention.

Amnesty International has forwarded its report: “Turkey: Systematic Torture Continues in 2002″ together with an assessment of the most recent legal reforms to Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen and representatives of all EU governments. It has also informed the Commission about its concerns in the other candidate countries, through the report “Concerns in Europe January-June 2002”. (The reports are available here – see links at end of page).

Amnesty International’s report on Turkey, launched today in Brussels, contains summaries of case histories investigated by the human rights organisation. They concern the torture and ill-treatment of more than 60 people in Turkey between January and early June 2002.

Methods of torture detailed in Amnesty International’s report include:

  • electric shocks;
  • hanging by the arms;
  • beating of the soles of the feet;
  • spraying with cold pressurized water;
  • sexual abuse.

Amnesty International has observed that in 2002, there has been an increase in Turkey in the use of torture methods that do not leave visible marks.

“The EU must thoroughly assess the practical impact of any legal reforms on the human rights situation in Turkey, and indeed in all EU candidate countries. Compliance on paper is not enough. When assessing progress on human rights, the criteria must be what is happening in practice, and as far as torture is concerned, this report shows that in Turkey, the reforms are clearly not sufficient” said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

“Amnesty International calls on the European Union to urge Turkey to immediately end incommunicado detention. As part of its assessment of Turkey’s human rights reforms, the EU should obtain a commitment from the Turkish government to end a practice which is an open invitation to torture and ill-treatment of detainees.”

“Amnesty International has no opinion on whether Turkey should or should not be admitted as a member of the European Union. However, the assessment of all candidate countries’ human rights performance is an important statement about the level of human rights protection the citizens of an enlarged EU will enjoy. Only the highest standards should be good enough for the Europe of tomorrow,” said Dick Oosting.

Click here for AI document “Turkey: Systematic torture continues in 2002”.

Click here for Turkey: Briefing on the present state of human rights development during the pre-accession process.

Click here for AI document “Concerns in Europe: January-June 2002”.

For further comment/background and interviews:

Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686
[email protected]