About four thousand victims have told the Justice for the Victims organisation horrifying tales in the aftermath of the State of the Emergency in Turkey.
The comprehensive report, which about a 1 000 pages, covered the period after the failed coup in July 2016, after which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared the State of Emergency.
The State of Emergency period was extended every three months until last year. For two years, Turks lived under harsh regulations of the State of the Emergency.
The report covered the variety of injustices the victims of this period faced throughout the two years.
According to the report, some 125, 800 public servants were expelled from their jobs via emergency decrees. Nearly half a million people were subject to judicial procedures and currently, there are more than 100 000 ongoing investigations.
With more than 48 000 court cases, some 33 000 people are currently imprisoned on charges of being part of the Gulen movement or being involved in the coup.
The report states that the average monthly income of most victims is under $150. Financial troubles rank as the biggest complication reported by 95.3% of participants, followed by degradation and social exclusion expressed by 86,6%. Families of 41,6 percent of the victims are reportedly shattered.
The findings of the report suggest 99,64% of the victims had no previous judicial record before the failed coup.
One of the most basic principles of the modern school of law, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, has been utterly suspended in the case of these victims, the report asserts.
“Burden of proof was borne by the victims instead of the people who lay charges,” says the report. It continues to state: “The ones who claimed innocence were accused of an organised crime in doing so.”
According to the report, the legal security and the employment security of the victims and their close relatives were taken away: “People are condemned to starvation. This predicament resembles the hate crimes committed against the Jews in Nazi Germany.”
Over ninety-eight percent of the interviewees had some sort of a license degree, this figure represents some 17% of Turkey’s population. More than eighty-three percent of the interviewed victims say they would leave Turkey to live elsewhere if they had an opportunity for an alternative. The report defines this situation as a significant loss of human capital.
“The victimization of these people has far-reaching implications. More than the individual damages inflicted, societal damages that are large enough to pose a threat to the national security of the country are imminent,” says the report.
The report also looks into the committee to view the State of Emergency acts. This committee, the only way for most of the victims to seek justice, doesn’t meet the criteria of due processes of law according to the report.
More than 100,000 people have downloaded the ByLock messaging app from Google Play, but in the minds of Turkey's paranoid government, that is definitive evidence that they all are coup plotters and "terrorists." https://t.co/mxrHNLzyb3 pic.twitter.com/ZDf6wJemPA
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) January 21, 2019
Victims from the Military: “We were trapped”
Most victims with military origins claim they were lured into the coup scene by a false terrorist attack or drill alerts.
They say they are not putschists but were trapped instead. “We love our country. We are not terrorists,” said many of them.
Other outstanding issues touched by the report are;
– 86% of the interviewees confirm there are two times more people than there should be in the prison cells.
- 46% of the interviewees say the prison has heating problems in the winter, while 83% of them claim cooling off in summer is a big problem.
- While 67.8% of the victims think correctional officers do not treat the prisoners with regards to human rights, 37% of them thought of committing suicide at least once.
- There are currently 700 babies in Turkey’s prisons.
- 49 % of victims interviewed state they are not being held in prisons close to their families. Many have lost their lives in traffic accidents while travelling through thousands of kilometres to visit their family members.