STATEMENT BY TURKEY, AMBASSADOR NACİ KORU, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY, 37 TH SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, CLUSTERED INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR NILS MELZER AND MICHEL FORST
In line with our continuing constructive cooperation with the UN human rights mechanisms, Special Rapporteur on torture, Mr. Melzer, visited Turkey in November 2016. This visit came only a couple of months after 15 July terrorist coup attempt.
Despite the severe security conditions, Turkish authorities extended full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur, who was provided full access to places where individuals were deprived of their liberty.
It is our understanding of transparency and respect to human rights, which made the visit possible at such a critical time.
Turkey is a party to all relevant international conventions for the prevention of torture and ill treatment. We continue our constructive cooperation with international mechanisms, such as CAT, OP-CAT and CPT.
Turkish Government implements a “zero tolerance policy against torture and ill-treatment” since 2003. As such, all relevant measures are in place. Lately in 2013, the statute of limitations for the offence of torture was abolished, enabling more effective investigation.
At present, the newly restructured National Human Rights and Equality Institution is determined to carry out its duties as the national preventive mechanism function.
Turkey’s resolute stance for implementing its policy of zero-tolerance has never changed against the backdrop of grave security concerns due to multiple terrorist threats.
At present, Turkey is combatting terrorist organizations such as YPG/PYD, PKK, FETO and DEASH concurrently. As of July 2015, PKK heavily intensified its decades old acts of terror. On the night of 15 July 2016, members of the FETÖ (Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organization) in the military attempted to overthrow the government and abolish the constitutional order. This coup attempt caused the death of 250 persons and wounded more than 2.000. Turkey’s campaign to fight DEASH also continues with same resolve.
Terrorism per se is a crime against humanity and violates the fundamental rights and freedoms. In order to eliminate these threats, the Turkish state has the right and the responsibility to take all necessary measures. Ongoing State of Emergency is necessary for measures to be taken in the most speedy and effective manner within the limits of the rule of law and international obligations. Domestic legal remedies exist for those believing they have been wrongfully processed
The Government shows utmost care to strike a proper balance between fundamental rights and freedoms, and public order and security. In case of isolated incidents, necessary steps are naturally taken such as investigations and sentences.
In this context, the Ministry of Justice established a specific unit for complaints regarding torture. “Acts of torture” has also been listed among reasons for dismissal of law enforcement officers from public service. During his visit, the Special Rapporteur has been informed on the relevant ongoing investigations.
Against this background, we regret that the report fails to reflect the serious nature of the terrorist threats faced by Turkey. FETO/PDY and PKK are not even named as terrorist organizations.
After carefully examining the claims, the Turkish Government decided to submit a comprehensive Addendum. It is our expectation that the Report will be studied together with this Addendum.
Indeed, many comments and generic conclusions in the Report are built on the claims of a limited number of persons interviewed and flow of information from unknown sources whose reliability could well-be questioned and some of them are apparently affiliates of terrorist organizations. Although the Rapporteur was given full access and conducted confidential interviews, no physical signs were reported consistent with allegations of ill-treatment cited in the Report.
The recommendations in the report will be duly examined by the relevant Turkish authorities and those based on objective and impartial assessments will be taken into consideration.
Turkey is determined to continue its full cooperation with UN Special Human Rights Mechanisms. Nonetheless, when Turkey is concerned we were dismayed to see that some Special Rapporteurs disseminated unacceptable messages through social media or behaved irresponsibly on highly controversial political matters. Some press statements and reports include evident factual errors as well as some misleading comments and misrepresentation of realities. These attitudes seriously harm the credibility of UN Special Mechanisms and we expect that they will be avoided in the future.
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