I. Introduction
The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment, Nils Melzer, conducted a visit to Turkey, at the invitation of the
Government, from 27 November to 2 December 2016.
During his visit, he met high-level officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs,
Justice and the Interior (including the Turkish National Police and the General Command of
the Gendarmerie) in Ankara, magistrates of the Constitutional Court and the Court of
Cassation, the Public Prosecutors of Ankara and Diyarbakır, a representative of the Human
Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, members of the Council of Forensic Medicine in
Istanbul, and representatives of administrative, judicial and security services of the areas he
visited (Ankara, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa and Istanbul). He also met with representatives of
United Nations agencies and of the diplomatic community, with civil society organizations,
activists, lawyers and doctors, and with victims of torture.
The Special Rapporteur expresses his sincere appreciation to the Government of
Turkey for renewing the invitation extended to his predecessor to visit the country, despite
the volatile security situation and the various political challenges. In particular, the Special
Rapporteur wishes to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its excellent cooperation, for
its efforts to facilitate meaningful official meetings, and for granting access to detention
facilities in full compliance with the terms of reference for fact-finding missions by special
procedures mechanisms.
The Special Rapporteur shared his preliminary findings with the Government at the
conclusion of his visit. He expresses his appreciation for the responses provided by the
Government to his preliminary observations on 17 December 2016, 1 and in particular for
the measures taken in response to his observations as announced by the Government during
the interactive dialogue with the Human Rights Council of 2 March 2017.
Due to maximum duration of five working days imposed by the Government in
respect of visits by special procedure mandate holders (most States grant 10–14 working
days), the Special Rapporteur was unable to conduct a thorough analysis of all areas of
relevance to his mandate, and focused primarily on torture and ill-treatment alleged to have
occurred in the contexts of the failed coup attempt in July 2016 and the escalating violence
in the south-east of the country. As a consequence, important issues of interest, such as the
extracustodial use of force by the police and security forces, the situation of irregular
migrants, of residents of psychiatric clinics and of other particularly vulnerable populations,
gender-based violence, and the issue of the death penalty, could not be examined with
sufficient rigour. While fully acknowledging the logistical and administrative burden that
such visits represent for the host State, the Special Rapporteur strongly encourages the
Government to favourably reconsider the said time constraints for future visits by special
procedure mandate holders so as to ensure comprehensive and objective reporting on all
issues of mutual interest.

II. Legal framework

International and regional level
Turkey is a party to the main United Nations human rights treaties prohibiting
torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols, the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or


Press release on the Special Rapporteur’s preliminary observations, of 17 December 2016. Available
at www.judiciaryofturkey.gov.tr/Press-Release-on-the-Preliminary-Observations-of-Nils-MELZERthe-UN-Special-Rapporteur-on-Torture.


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