A report by the Association for Solidarity with Inmate and Convict Families (TUAY-DER) revealed that inmates from a prison in the eastern city of Erzurum were not allowed to see a dentist unless they had seven decayed teeth.
"Female inmates at the Erzurum Oltu T Type Prison were denied a visit from the dentist on the grounds that they didn't have seven decayed teeth," said TUAY-DER Co-Director Elif Harran, as reported by the Mesopotamia News Agency.
Among the inmates' further complaints were overcrowding, body searches that border physical harassment, raid-like cell searches, lack of access to books and magazines, surveying of personal notebooks and insufficient and non-hygienic food.
TUAY-DER visited six different penitentiary facilities in the southeastern part of the country and compiled a report about inmate complaints. Harran said that living conditions worsened following the hunger strikes of November 2018. Those hunger strikes protested the continued isolation of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan.
"After the hunger strike protests, prisons have become impossible to breathe in, let alone live in," Harran said. "It concerns inmates' families and NGOs like us that inmates, and especially sick inmates have basically been left to die."
In the Diyarbakır Closed Prison for Women, inmates reported being examined by the doctor with both hands shackled, Harran said. He added that the Office of the Attorney General had claimed the practice was carried out for "safety reasons".
Harran said that those malpractices in prisons and jails persist because prison administrations are reluctant to denounce human rights violations.
“We are concerned that if this practice continues, it will seriously put the well-being of inmates at risk," Harran said, adding that the Parliament's Human Rights Investigation Commission and the Ministry of Justice should look into the issue.