Background to the Legal System

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Background to the Legal System in Turkey

Focus on freedom of expression, political trials, torture and impunity

Last update: January 2007

Even though there have been immense revisions of legal provisions during recent years including a complete renewal of the penal code, problems with freedom of expression, trials of political prisoners and impunity of torturers still exist. This study tries to point at some basic shortcomings in the system and explain developments since the military coup of September 1980. A host of laws that punish free expression exist in Turkey. Like the 1982 Constitution many of these laws were passed during military rule between September 1980 and November 1983 (1) including the Law on Political Parties, the Law on Associations and Law No. 2911 on Demonstrations and Meetings. (2) Despite several changes to the Constitution restrictions of the freedom of expression still exist.

Footnotes at the end

The 1982 Constitution

On 3 October 2001 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) adopted a law amending 34 Articles of the Constitution (Law No. 4709). The law entered into force on 17 October 2001. Articles 13 and 14 concerning abuse of fundamental rights and freedoms were reworded to a large extent. Previous explicit restrictions were removed from Article 13, but retained in Article 14. Article 13 now reads: Fundamental rights and freedoms may be restricted only by law and in conformity with the reasons mentioned in the relevant articles of the Constitution without infringing upon their essence. These restrictions shall not be in conflict with the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the requirements of the democratic order of the society and the secular Republic and the principle of proportionality.

Article 14 now reads: None of the rights and freedoms embodied in the Constitution shall be exercised with the aim of violating the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, and endangering the existence of the democratic and secular order of the Turkish Republic based upon human rights. No provision of this Constitution shall be interpreted in a manner that enables the State or individuals to destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms embodied in the Constitution or to stage an activity with the aim of restricting them more extensively than stated in the Constitution. The sanctions to be applied against those who perpetrate these activities in conflict with these provisions shall be determined by law.

Paragraph 3 of Article 26 on freedom of expression and paragraph 2 of Article 28 on freedom of the press, which had banned statements and publications in a language prohibited by law, were abolished.

Article 26 introduced the following restrictions to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression for the purposes of protecting national security, public order and public safety, the basic characteristics of the Republic and safeguarding the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, preventing crime, punishing offenders, withholding information duly classified as a state secret, protecting the reputation and rights and private and family life of others, or protecting professional secrets as prescribed by law, or ensuring the proper functioning of the judiciary.

The Turkish Penal Code

The Turkish Penal Code (Law No. 765) took its spirit from the Italian Penal Code under Mussolini. It changed frequently since its introduction in 1926 (1 March). Most of the political offenses were defined in the chapter on “Crimes against the Personality of the State” (Articles 125 to 173). At the end of 2004 the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) passed a number of basic laws including the Penal Code (TPC) and the Criminal Procedures Code (TCPC). The TPC is now Law 5237 and the TCPC is Law 5271. Even though the wording of some restrictive provisions was altered and/or the sentences lowered, there are several provisions in the new TPC that restrict the freedom of expression.

Depending on the kind of punishment different courts are responsible to hear these cases. A main difference in prison terms was made between “light imprisonment” and “heavy imprisonment” (even though current law does not make such a difference any more). Accordingly, penal courts for light imprisonment (asliye ceza) or criminal courts for heavy imprisonment (agir ceza) are responsible to hear these cases. I have shortened the expressions to penal court and heavy penal court to mark the difference. Some provisions of the Turkish Penal Code (TPC) were included in the scope of the State Security Courts (SSC). (3) Therefore, political prisoners may find themselves charged either at usual penal or heavy penal courts, but mostly at the extraordinary heavy penal courts (further details on the abolition of SSC below).

Until 1991 most prisoners of conscience were charged under Articles 140 (disparage the State abroad), 141 (propaganda and membership of a communist organization), 142 (separatist propaganda) and 163 TPC (propaganda and membership of a fundamentalist organization). The Law 3713 on Fighting Terrorism (also called Anti-Terror Law, I shorten it LFT) of 12 April 1991 abolished these provisions. Article 7 LFT provided for imprisonment for members of terrorist organizations as defined in Article 1 LFT (in a sense Article 7 LFT replaced Article 141 TPC). Article 8 LFT replaced Article 142 TPC.

While Article 7 LFT was mostly applied for members of non-violent (unarmed but illegal) organizations, Article 8 LFT was used to punish dissident voices of journalists, trade unionists, politicians and human rights defenders and, therefore, became the focus of criticism until it was abolished (see below).

Oral or written expressions have also been punished under a number of provisions of the TPC. They included Articles 155, 158, 159, and 312 of the old Penal Code. The new TPC has retained most of these provisions.

Article 155 of Law 765 (old TPC) stated that,

Those who, except in circumstances indicated in the aforementioned articles, publish articles inciting people to break the law or harm the security of the country, or make publications or suggestions that make people unwilling to serve in the military or make speeches to that end in public meetings or gathering places, shall be imprisoned from between two months to two years and be punished with a heavy fine of between twenty-five and 200 lira.

Law 5237

Discouraging people from performing military service

ARTICLE 318 - (1) Anyone who instigates, recommends or spreads propaganda which results in discouraging people from performing military service shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from six months to two years.

(2) If the act is committed through press and publications, the penalty shall be increased by one half.

Article 158 of Law 765 (old TPC)stated that,

Whoever insults the President of the Republic face-to-face or through cursing shall face a heavy penalty of not more than three years... Even if the name of the President of the Republic is not directly mentioned, allusion and hint shall be considered as an attack made directly against the President if there is presumptive evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the attack was made against the President of Turkey. If the crime is committed in any published form, the punishment will increase from one third to one half.

Law 5237

Insulting the President of the Republic

ARTICLE 299- (1) Anyone who insults the President of the Republic shall be imprisoned for a term of from one to four years.

(2) (Amended by Law 5377 dated 29 June 2005/Article 35) Where the offence is committed in public, the sentence shall be increased by one sixth.

(3) Initiation of a prosecution for this offence shall be subject to authorization by the Minister of Justice. (this paragraph new)

Article 159 of Law 765 (old TPC) warned that,

Those who publicly insult or ridicule Turkishness, the Republic, the moral personality of Parliament, the Government, State Ministers, the military or security forces of the state, or the moral personality of the Judiciary will be punished with a penalty of no less than one year and no more than three years of heavy imprisonment... (4)

Amendments before the new TPC entered into force include reduction of the lower sentence to six months (Law 4963) and a similar wording as found in paragraph 4 of Article 301 new TPC. (5)

Law 5237

Insulting Turkishness, the Republic, the organs and institutions of the State

ARTICLE 301- (1) Anyone who publicly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be punished with imprisonment of from six months to three years.

(2) Anyone who publicly insults the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial bodies of the state, the military or police shall be punished with imprisonment of from six months to two years.

(3) Where a Turkish citizen denigrates Turkishness in a foreign country, the penalty shall be increased by one third.

(4) Expressions of opinion with the intention of criticism shall not incur punishment.

At the time of updating this report Article 301 new TPC was about to be amended again. Public debate peaked when the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink (the only person who had a confirmed sentence under this provision) was assassinated in Istanbul on 19 January 2007. (6)

Another frequently used Article was 312/2, which prohibited “incit[ing] people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious, confessional, or regional differences.” This provision was mainly applied against certain religious opinions or views on the Kurdish question (if it could not be termed "separatist propaganda"). Article 312 was amended by Law No. 2370 in October 1981, after the military coup of September 1980, to add paragraph 2. Before the amendment, Article 312 made no mention of “racial, religious, confessional, or regional differences.” In addition, Article 312/2 carried a heavier penalty, one to three years of imprisonment, than did Article 312/1 (praising a crime), which hitherto had mandated imprisonment of three months to one year. Imprisonment under Article 312/1 was also raised under Law No. 2370, to between six months and two years.

Law No. 4744 also amended Article 312/2 TPC. The new version narrowed the use of this article by introducing the condition that the incitement was done in a form that could endanger public order (so far this condition had been a reason for an increase of the sentence).

The new wording (and sentences) for such an "offence" are now contained in Article 216 of Law 5237 (the new TPC). It reads:

Inciting the population to enmity or hatred and denigration

ARTICLE 216- (1) Anyone who openly incites sections of the population to enmity or hatred towards another group on the basis of social class, race, religion, or sectarian or regional difference, in a manner which may present a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from one to three years.

(2) Anyone who openly denigrates a section of the population on grounds of their social class, race, religion, sectarian, gender or regional differences shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from six months to one year.

(3) Anyone who openly denigrates the religious values of a part of the population shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from six months to one year, where the act is sufficient to breach public peace.

As an example for additional laws that restrict freedom of expression one may point at Law 5816 on Crimes against Atatürk. This Law entered into force on 31 July 1951. Article 1/1 of this Law penalizes, “anyone who publicly insults or curses the memory [of Atatürk]...with a sentence of between one and three years.”

The Law to Fight Terrorism (LFT)

The Law 3713 to Fight Terrorism entered into force on 12 April 1991. It commuted all death penalties passed for offences until 8 April 1991 and also reduced the prison terms for these offenses to 1/3 or 1/5. Articles 140, 141, 142 and 163 TPC were abolished as well as Law 2932 on Publication in Languages other than Turkish. Law 3713 introduced the notion of “terror crime” broad enough to include almost all kind of oppositional activities.

Article 1 introduced the definition,

“Terrorism is any kind of act done by one or more persons belonging to an organization with the aim of changing the characteristics of the Republic as specified in the Constitution, its political, legal, social, secular and economic system, damaging the indivisible unity of the State with its territory and nation, endangering the existence of the Turkish State and Republic, weakening or destroying or seizing the authority of the State, eliminating fundamental rights and freedoms, or damaging the internal and external security of the State, public order or general health by means of pressure, force and violence, terror, intimidation, oppression or threat.”

Article 3 termed specific offenses from the Penal Code terrorist offenses.

“Offences defined in Articles 125, 131, 146, 147, 148, 149, 156, 168, 171 and 172 of the Turkish Penal Code are terrorist offences.”

Article 5 provided for increased sentences for all terrorist offenses. Journalists have been facing prosecution under Article 6 if they “disclose the identity of officials on anti-terrorist duties, or who identify such persons as targets” (7) or those who “print or publish leaflets and declarations of terrorist organizations”. The penalties are fines and closure of the publication.

Most notorious Article 8 was abolished on 19 July 2003 with the Law 4928. It stated that,

“Written or oral propaganda, along with meetings, demonstrations, and marches that have the goal of destroying the indivisible unity of the state with its territory and nation of the Republic of Turkey cannot be conducted.”

Law 4744 of February 2002 had introduced a condition: If this act is committed in a form that encourages the use of terrorist methods the sentence will be increased by one third. The same Law narrowed paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the LFT on support and propaganda for illegal organizations by introducing the condition in a form that encourages the use of terrorist methods.

Article 1 (the definition of terrorism) changed with Law No. 4928 of 15 July 2003 and Article 7/2 of the Law to Fight Terrorism changed with Law 4963 of 30 July 2003 (the sixth and seventh reform packages) and with Law 5532 of 29 June 2006 (see below).

In its original form Article 7 read,

“Under reservation of provisions in Articles 3 and 4 and Articles 168, 169, 171, 313, 314 and 315 of the Turkish Penal Code those who found organizations as specified in Article 1 under any name or who organize and lead activities in such organizations shall be punished with imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years and with a fine of between TL 200 million and 500 million; those who join these organizations shall be punished with imprisonment of between 3 and 5 years and with a fine of between TL 100 million and 300 million.

(2) Those who assist members of organizations constituted in the manner described above or make propaganda in connection with such organizations shall be punished with imprisonment of between 1 and 5 years and with a fine of between TL 50 million and 100 million, even if their offence constitutes a separate crime.”

Law 5532 of 29 June 2006 amended Article 7 LFT decisively. In its current form it reads:

"Those who found organizations for purposes as specified in Article 1 by using force or violence (and) methods of pressure, intimidation, scaring, daunting or threat, lead the organizations or are members of them shall be punished according to Article 314 TPC. People organizing the activities shall be punished as leaders.

(2) Those who make propaganda for such organizations shall be punished with imprisonment of between 1 and 5 years. If the offence is committed via press and publications the penalty will be increased by one half…

Specific conditions were introduced for owners and editors-in-chief of such publications. The clauses a) and b) specified that in case that demonstrations would turn into propaganda for a terrorist organization those would be punished who covered their faces, carried symbols of the organization, shouted slogans etc.

Further amendments to the LFT introduced with Law 5532 of 29 June 2006 reversed some positive developments during the harmonization process. Article 9 LFT was changed to the effect that detainees who are held under provisions of the LFT have only the right to one lawyer. During the first 24 hours the right to legal counsel may be restricted. On demand of the prosecutor and a judge's order the lawyer can be prevented from inspecting the whole file during the investigation.

Besides the offences laid out in the LFT, Article 2 of Law 5532 defined the offences committed under Articles 302, 307, 309, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315 and 320 TPC as terrorist offences. Offences under Articles 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 86, 87, 96, 106, 107, 108, 109, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 142, 148, 149, 151, 152, 170, 172, 173, 174, 185, 188, 199, 200, 202, 204, 210, 213, 214, 215, 223, 224, 243, 244, 265, 294, 300, 316, 317, 318 and 319 TPC count as terrorist offences, if they are committed within activities of a terrorist organization. A number of further offences was added such as an offence against the Law on Firearms. Among the offences cited above as examples to restrict freedom of expression only offences under Article 318 (discouraging people from performing military service) might be tried at a Heavy Penal Court competent according to Article 250 TCPC (if it is seen as part of the activities of a terrorist organization).

The State Security Courts (SSC)

The Law 2845 on the Establishment and Procedure of State Security Courts was introduced on 16 June 1983. On 13 November 1992 Article 9 of the Law was changed to include inter alias Articles 125, 146, 168, 169, 171 and Article 312/2 TPC to the scope of responsibility of state security courts (besides all offences prescribed in Law 3713 on Fighting Terrorism). Another change was made on 13 December 2001 with the Law 4721. This time Article 313 and 314 TPC were excluded from the scope of responsibility of state security courts (the provisions mainly concern the Mafia type gangs).

In June 1999 military prosecutors and judges (one in the panel of three judges was a military judge) were excluded from the SSCs. This step obviously aimed at avoiding negative decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECoHR) that had ruled trials at SSC to be in violation of Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR, the right to a fair trial) because of the presence of a judge as part of a military hierarchy.

Law 5190 of 16 June 2004 repealed Law 2845 of 16 June 1983 on the Establishment and Prosecution Methods of State Security Courts, and provided for the replacement of State Security Courts by Heavy Penal Courts. The courts that have replaced State Security Courts were, between June 2004 and June 2005, identified as “Heavy Penal Courts competent under Article 1 of Law 5190”. There was no change in the places of the courts that only exist in eight out of 81 provinces and take responsibility for defined regions that were not changed either. Article 2 of Law 5190 provided that for a period of at least three years judges and prosecutors at the SSC should remain in their position.

The new criminal procedures code (TCPC, Law 5271) defines in Article 250-252 the rules that apply for the special heavy penal courts, once termed SSC. The special rules include that anyone detained under provisions that can be termed "political offences" can be held for 48 hours (instead of 24 hours for ordinary criminals) and that the maximum period of pre-trial detention is twice as long as for ordinary offences. Since 1 June 2005 the correct name for SSC is “Heavy Penal Court competent under Article 250 TCPC”.

Political Trials

Law 4771 of 3 August 2002 abolished the death penalty in peace times. Death penalties for terrorist offenses were commuted to life imprisonment (until death). This is called aggravated life imprisonment. Article 125 TPC (now Article 302) carried the death penalty for “an action aimed at separating part of the territory of the State”. This provision, now demanding imprisonment until death, was and is mainly used against leading members and/or violent activities (usually killing/s) for illegal Kurdish organizations such as the PKK/KADEK.

Article 146 TPC (now Article 309) carries the same punishment for the “violent attempt to change the constitutional order”. This Article was and is mainly used against leading members and/or violent activities (usually killing/s) of leftist organizations such as TIKKO, MLKP, DHKP/C, but also against militant Islamic organizations such as Hezbollah.

In terms of law illegal (Turkish, Kurdish or Islamic) organizations were called “armed gangs” (now they are called "armed organizations"), if they have resorted to violence. The usual membership and even leading membership (if no orders to kill were given) was charged under Article 168 TPC (now Article 314). Leading membership to such an organization carried a penalty of no less than 15 years’ imprisonment and simple membership was punished by a prison term of between 10 and 15 years (these sentences have to be increased by 50% according to Article 5 LFT). The sentences in Article 314 new TPC were set to imprisonment of between 10 and 15 years for leading and five to 10 years for simple members of such organizations.

Article 169 TPC was about to become a provision used against dissident voices. This provision sought imprisonment of between 3 and 5 years for all those, who “help or provide shelter to militants of an armed gang”. Until Law 4963 of 7 August 2003 the additional conditions, “…or who facilitate their movements in whatever kind of way” was the basis to charge a large number of demonstrators, members and executives of trade unions or associations of civil society (NGOs), who staged protests for instance against isolation in F-type prisons. Some of them were convicted. Students, who presented petitions to the deans asking for Kurdish as an elective course in their university, and parents, who asked for Kurdish lessons in school, have also been prosecuted under this provision, although most of them were acquitted. Law 4963 cancelled this condition narrowing the offence to concrete acts such as providing food, shelter etc.

The seemingly replacement of Article 169, Article 315, has almost no resemblance to the old provision. Article 315 of Law 5237 of June 2005 reads:

“A person that produces, buys or provides, transports or stocks arms in order to bring them into the country with the aim that they are used in activities of organizations described in the previous Article [armed organizations] and in knowledge of the aims of such organizations will be punished by imprisonment of between 10 and 15 years.”

Yet, the judges at the (special) heavy penal courts have found a way to pass increased sentences on supporters of armed organizations. They use a provision introduced for criminal (mafia-type) organizations. Article 220/7 of Law 5237 provides that supporters of such organizations are punished like members. This provision is applied in connection with Article 314 and thus the usual sentence for supporters increased from 3 years, 9 months' imprisonment to 6 years, 3 months' imprisonment.

Note: "Usual" sentences are calculated like this: for a first-time offence the lower limit of the sentence is taken (Article 169 = 3 years, Article 314 = 5 years). This sentence has to be increased by 50% according to Article 5 LFT (169 = 4.5 years; Article 314 = 7.5 years). Then the sentences are reduced because of "good conduct by 1/6 (169 = 3y., 9m.; 314 = 6y., 3m.)

Trials of Torturers

In Turkey torture is prohibited not only by the Constitution, the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures, but also by having ratified the UN and the European Convention against Torture. However, the TPC used to have a very narrow definition of torture, which was limited to acts committed with the aim of making the victim confess to an offence. On 26 August 1999 the definition of torture was broadened, making acts committed by a civil servant or public employee for any purpose punishable.

The old version of Article 243 TPC read:

"Any president of a court or assembly, or any other public servant who tortures a suspect in order to elicit a confession or resorts to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment shall be sentenced to up to five years' imprisonment and temporary or permanent disqualification from service."

In 1999 this was amended to:

"A civil servant or other public employee who resorts to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in order to make a person confess a crime, to prevent a victim, plaintiff, somebody participating in a trial or a witness from reporting incidents, to prevent them from filing a formal complaint or because they filed a formal complaint or for any other reason, shall be sentenced to a heavy prison penalty of up to eight years and permanent or temporary disqualification from service."

A sentence of up to five years' imprisonment and temporary disqualification from holding public office was introduced for ill-treatment or physical harm (Article 245 TPC). According to an important ruling of the Appeal Court, Turkish courts should stick close to the lower limit of sentences for torture. (10) If the lower limit of one year's imprisonment was applied the judge could postpone the imposition of the sentence and the perpetrator was normally not suspended from duty.

In case that the torture results in the (unintentional) death of the victim Article 452 TPC was applied, providing for imprisonment that is to be increased by 1/3 to 1/2. If lasting damages of the health of the victim occur, Article 456 TPC is applied and the sentences also have to be increased by 1/3 up to 1/2.

Law 4963 of 7 August 2003 introduced a new provision to the old Code of Criminal Procedures (Law 1402=TCPC). Additional Article 7 of Law 1402 provided that offences under Articles 243 and 245 TPC count as urgent affairs that have to be investigated and prosecuted immediately. Hearings had to be conducted at least once a month and the legal holiday was not considered in these cases.

These changes have not been retained in the new TCPC. The new TPC makes no difference between torture and ill-treatment, but introduced a "new" offence: (Causing) suffering. The increase in the sentences can be seen as a positive steps but it must be feared that in many cases incidents of torture could be termed "suffering" and would fall under light penalties that could be suspended or commuted to fines.

The new provisions read:


ARTICLE 94- (1) Any civil servant who carries out actions against a person that lead to bodily or mental pain incompatible with human dignity, that influences their ability to perceive or their will or is degrading, will be punished by imprisonment of between three and twelve years.

(2) If the offence is committed

a) against a child or someone unable to defend themselves bodily or mentally, or against a pregnant woman,

b) against a lawyer or another civil servant because of their duty,

a sentence of between eight and fifteen years' imprisonment will be passed.

(3) If the offence is committed in the form of sexual abuse, a sentence of between ten and fifteen years' imprisonment will be passed.

(4) Any other person found to have participated in this offence shall be subject to the same punishment as the civil servant.

(5) Where the offence arose out of an act of negligence, this shall not provide grounds for reduction of sentence.


ARTICLE 96- (1) Anyone who carries out an act leading to another's suffering will be sentenced to imprisonment of between two and five years.

(2) If the above offence is committed

a) against a child or someone unable to defend themselves bodily or mentally or against a pregnant woman,

b) antecedent or descendant relatives, father or mother or spouse

the person shall be sentenced to imprisonment of between three and eight years.


(1) Within the period of 3 years some 800 laws were passed.

(2) Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstration entered into force on 6 October 1983. Article 28 of this law provides for imprisonment between 1.5 and 3 years for organizing or participating in illegal demonstrations and meetings. Within the harmonization efforts to join the EU some provisions of this law were changed. Package 7 (Law 4963 of 30 July 2003) amended provisions related to governors' rights to ban or postpone demonstrations, but did not change the prison term in case of abuse.

(3) In June 2004 the State Security Courts were renamed and added to the existing heavy penal courts that existed in the eight provincial capitals where SSC existed, e.g. Ankara SSC became Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 11 (10 existed before).

(4) The Adjustment Law (Package) No. 1 (Law No. 4744 of 6 February 2002) mainly changed the prison terms from heavy imprisonment to light imprisonment. The Prime Ministry commented: “Under the article, those who openly vilify the laws of the Republic of Turkey or Parliamentary resolutions will be given prison terms ranging from 15 days to six months. If such a crime is committed in a foreign country by a Turkish citizen, then punishment is increased by 1/3 to 1/2. In addition, under the new arrangement, the heaviest punishment was reduced from six years to three, and all fines were lifted.”

(5) Law No. 4771 of August 2002, but again changed by Law No. 4963 of 7 August 2003 added the following paragraph (condition) to Article 159 TPC: “No penalty is required if opinions are declared with the aim of criticism and no intent to insult the organs and institutions mentioned in the first paragraph.” Such a condition was actually not necessary, since the principle was firmly established in the case law.

(6) For a general discussion of Article 301 TPC see the AI-Report: "Article 301 is a threat to freedom of expression and must be repealed now". The report can be found at: A briefing of Article 19 on International and Comparative Defamation Standards can be found at:

(7) This provision could include publication of the name of alleged torturers.

(8) Thus the penalties for membership of unarmed and armed organizations (Article 314 TPC) were equaled to be between 5 and 10 years' imprisonment.

(9) Examples for convictions of this kind have been a father who visited his son at a PKK camp in Iraq, a female politician who had phone calls with her brother, a militant of the PKK, the member of an association for displaced people who collected signatures for a petition stating that Abdullah Öcalan was the political will of the undersigned and a human rights activists who had issued a statement on killings of villagers.

(10) The Penal of Chambers at the Court of Cassation quashed a sentence imposed by Bolvadin Criminal Court on 7 July 1994. The local court had sentenced a deputy gendarmerie commander to two years above the lower limit (of one year) for the offence of torture. He had beaten, kicked and slapped two men arrested on suspicion of theft, subjected them to pressurized water and then beaten them with a wet towel and a hose. The Appeal Court ruled that the severity of torture was no reason to increase the sentence. The decision was taken in 1995.

For further reading

Download the book by lawyer Meryem Erdal on my translation pages:

View the translation of selected Article of the new Turkish Penal Code at:

An insight into the (unfair) trials at State Security Courts and the successors was published by Amnesty International in September 2006. You find the report at: