The situation in Turkish prisons

Declaration of the EALDH on the situation in Turkish prisons

We, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights, utterly condemn the military storming of prisons in Turkey. The storming of several prisons and the killing of a great number of unarmed prisoners violate the rule of law. The hunger strikers were unarmed; in order to improve their living conditions in prisons, they employed the only means that was left to them, to risk their own lives. These lives have now been extinguished with the approval of the Turkish Government, as were so many lives of prisoners in Turkish prisons before.

The military attack on political prisoners in Turkey must be considered as an attack on fundamental Human Rights and is in no way compatible with the declared aims of the Turkish Government for its country, the sincerity of which it has tried to convince the European Union for many years in vain.  

The Government failed to find a solution by negotiating with the prisoners. It not only stopped the negotiations but decided to forbid negotiations by leading intellectuals with the prisoners. The declarations of Prime Minister Ecevit and Minister of Justice Türk, that the removal of the prisoners would not start before the proper legal basis had been created, and in any case not in the near future, have been shown to be bogus by what in fact happened, the transfer of the prisoners into the F-Type prisons.

It is shameful that such an attack took place after 60 days of hunger strike and on the 52nd anniversary of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights. There was every possibility of solving the conflict without the death of so many victims.

We demand from the Turkish Government

  • To commence immediate investigations against the persons responsible for the killing of unarmed prisoners
  • An immediate end to the forced removal of prisoners into the F-Type prisons
  • Renunciation of solitary confinement, and imprisonment in prison cells which are too small
  • An end to further construction of F-Type prisons
  • The resumption of negotiations with the prisoners on hunger strike, civil organizations and the Bar Association, accompanied by preparedness to take into appropriate account their demands, and to find long-term solutions
  • Renunciation of punishment of the prisoners on hunger strike
  • An immediate end to any repression or terror against the families and the lawyers of the prisoners
  • The liberation of all political prisoners

We demand from the European Union that it intervenes immediately against the Turkish Government. It must be made clear to the Turkish Government that such treatment of political prisoners and political opponents utterly violates the fundamental values of the European Union, and will attract political and economical consequences.