A delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Turkey from 7 to 15 September 2003. The aim of the visit was to assess the current situation as regards the treatment of persons while in the custody of law enforcement agencies. This included an examination of the implementation in practice of recent legal reforms concerning matters such as the reduction of custody periods, access to a lawyer and notification of relatives. The delegation also reviewed the operation of the system for the medical examination of persons in police/gendarmerie custody.
The visit was carried out by three members of the CPT: Silvia CASALE (a British criminologist and President of the CPT), Renate KICKER (an Austrian law professor) and Jean-Pierre RESTELLINI (a Swiss medical doctor). They were assisted by Derrick POUNDER (a British forensic doctor) and Trevor STEVENS (Executive Secretary of the CPT).
The delegation visited various police and gendarmerie establishments in Adana, Bismil, Çınar, Diyarbakır and Mersin. Visits were also made to prisons in Adana, Diyarbakır and Mersin in order to interview persons who had recently been in the custody of law enforcement agencies ; in addition, the delegation went to health facilities in these three cities where persons in police/gendarmerie custody are medically examined .
During the visit, the CPT’s delegation met Cemal Sahir QÜRÇAY, Chief Public Prosecutor of the Republic in the Adana Province, Fevzi ELMAS, Chief Public Prosecutor at the Adana State Security Court, Hüseyin CANAN, Chief Public Prosecutor of the Republic in the Diyarbakır Province, and Şaban ERTÜRK, Chief Public Prosecutor at the Diyarbakır State Security Court. The delegation also held discussions with representatives of the Adana and Diyarbakır Branches of the Human Rights Association, of the Bar Associations in Adana and Diyarbakır, and of the Diyarbakır Branch of the Turkish Medical Association .
At the end of the visit, during talks in Ankara with senior officials from the Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Health Ministries, the CPT’s delegation provided the Turkish authorities with its preliminary observations.