Children as young as 3 subjected to torture in Turkey, report reveals

Children as young as three were subjected to torture in Turkey in 2020, according to a report by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), which revealed the grave extent of police mistreatment in the country.

Duvar English 

Mistreatment by security forces remains a grave problem in Turkey and children as young as three were subjected to torture, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) said. 

According to TİHV's 2020 report based on 605 individuals, people between the ages of five and 70 applied to them because of mistreatment and torture. The five-year-old child was three when the torture took place, it said. 

The report revealed that torture and mistreatment on the streets increased during COVID-19 lockdowns and that one out of every four individuals who applied to TİHV is still a student. 

All segments of the society were subjected to torture, TİHV said, adding that 190 individuals sought help from them in Istanbul alone. 

Istanbul was followed by the eastern province of Van with 128 persons, the southeastern province of Diyarbakır with 116, the Aegean province of İzmir with 78, the capital Ankara with 58 and the Cizre district of the southeastern province of Şırnak with 35 individuals. 

A total of 572 applied to TİHV on complaints of torture and mistreatments and two over heavy human rights abuses. Some 31 individuals sought help from the foundation as relatives of those tortured. 

In twelve instances, the torture process was determined to be suffered abroad. 

Some 62.5 percent of the applicants were male, 36.5 percent were female and one percent was LGBTQI+, TİHV said, adding that 3.4 percent of those who sought help were below the age of 18. 

The foundation said that streets, open spaces, police vehicles and headquarters were the areas that torture was most common. The lack of necessary health reports paves the way for security forces to mistreat people, it said. 

The most horrifying part of the report concerned children. According to TİHV, the average age of underage applicants was 10, and that the youngest one was three when the torture happened. 

The children who were determined to have been subjected to torture over ethnic and political grounds were all Kurdish.