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Ankara denies torture accusations as prisons fill with dissenters

There has been an alarming spike in allegations of ill-treatment and torture in Turkish prisons, and although the claims are backed by a damning EU Commission report, Turkish journalists are scarcely covering the story for fear of their own detention.
A demonstrator stands next to a fence with padlocks left by prisoners, during a protest against the arrest of three prominent activists for press freedom, in front of Metris prison in Istanbul, Turkey, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RTX2HYKN

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag fiercely denied widespread allegations of abuse of detainees Nov. 10 amid mounting criticism from Western governments and rights groups. “Let me be clear, we will never allow ill-treatment or torture in Turkish prisons,” Bozdag told the semi-official Anatolian news agency.

Bozdag was responding to the European Commission’s annual progress report concerning Turkey’s increasingly unlikely membership in the European Union (EU). The report, one of the most critical in recent years, stated, “There were reports of serious human rights violations, including alleged widespread ill treatment and torture of detainees. The crackdown has continued since and has been broadened to pro-Kurdish and other opposition voices.”

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