Torture and Mistreatment in Pre-Trial Detention by Anti-Terror Police

This report documents a pattern of torture—according to internationally recognized definitions of the term—and mistreatment of security detainees by the Anti-Terror Branch (Teror 'le Mucadele Subesi) of the Security Directorate of Turkey’s Ministry of the Interior. While criminal suspects also face the prospect of torture and maltreatment at the hands of the regular police, Turkey’s anti-terror police have become infamous both within the country and outside of Turkey for the widespread use of such practices against detainees accused of political crimes, both violent and non-violent. The Anti-Terror Branch deals with offenses that fall under the 1991 Anti-Terror Law and/or under the jurisdiction of state security courts; the term “security detainee” is used for individuals held for any period of time in the preceding two circumstances. International bodies have condemned this force, as well as the practice of torture in Turkey. The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) did so in a December 1992 “Public Statement.” Four years later, in another “Public Statement,” the CPT stated that the maltreatment of seven suspects at the Anti-Terror Branch of the Istanbul Police headquarters, “must rank among the most flagrant examples of torture encountered by CPT delegations in Turkey.” In November 1993, the United Nations Committee Against Torture even went so far as to warn that “certain departments” within the Interior Ministry were becoming a “State within a State.”