Turkey

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered at on 8 February 2005.

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Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the number of (a) allegations of police mistreatment, (b) charges brought against police officers and (c) dismissals of police officers following allegations of mistreatment in each year since 1997 in Turkey; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Our Embassy in Ankara monitors the human rights situation in Turkey closely, including implementation of the Turkish Government's reforms introduced to eradicate torture.

According to NGO statistics, the number of allegations of police mistreatment for 2003 increased compared to previous years. However, NGOs attributed this to a greater inclination to report incidents of torture rather than an actual increase in the number of incidents. In the first six months of 2004 the Turkish NGO, the Human Rights Association, recorded 202 allegations of torture arid ill treatment under police custody compared with 818 in the whole of 2003. The European Commission's 2004 Progress Report on Turkey states that:

the Government's serious efforts to implement the legislative reforms have lead to a decline in instances of torture".

We believe that the number of police officers charged with mistreatment, and the number who have been dismissed following allegations of mistreatment has risen, but the numbers of cases opened and the number of successful prosecutions remains very low.

There is growing evidence of improved implementation of the Turkish Government's reforms introduced to eradicate torture. However, allegations of torture continue, and it is clear that more needs to be done.

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