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What’s going on in Turkey’s prisons?

Hunger strikes in Turkish prisons, joined briefly by the country’s top Kurdish politician, aim to draw attention to mounting allegations of ill-treatment and other violations of inmate rights since last year’s coup attempt.
A Turkish Gendarmerie (Jandarma) officer stands guard outside the Erdine Prison (background) after a delegation from the Party of European Socialists (PES) visited the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) party Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned in Edirne, on November 21, 2016.
Ten MPs from the HDP, including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yukseksag, were arrested this month on charges of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey declared a state of emergency a

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — Myriad allegations of rights violations in Turkish prisons have marked the aftermath of last year’s coup attempt as thousands of suspected putschists, political dissidents and journalists landed behind bars. In December, a senior UN official said torture seemed to have been “widespread” in the days after the coup attempt, while reports of ill-treatment have continued to date, including overcrowded wards and denial of medical care and sufficient food.

The story of the overcoat of Cumhuriyet and Al-Monitor columnist Kadri Gursel — detained in late October and still awaiting charges — has made headlines both in the Turkish and foreign media. To help her husband keep warm, Gursel’s wife had to buy several coats before getting the right one as prison authorities rejected coats because of their color, hood or button shapes. Another prominent journalist, Ahmet Sik, was kept in solitary confinement and denied drinkable water for three days, according to his lawyer.

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