Punishment and its Optional Protocol, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
At the regional level, Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and is a party to
the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the
European Convention on Human Rights) and its Protocols Nos. 2–12, and to the European
Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment and its Protocol No. 2.


National level
The Constitution was adopted in 1982 and has been revised numerous times, with
the aim — among other things — of putting in place new mechanisms for safeguarding
human rights, namely the Ombudsman Institution and a system for individual applications
to the Constitutional Court. Since the Special Rapporteur’s visit, constitutional amendments
in favour of a presidential system have been adopted, through a national referendum held
on 16 April 2017.
In its article 17, the Constitution enshrines the right to be free from torture and other
ill-treatment and the right not to be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with
human dignity. In its article 19, it provides for the right to liberty and security of the person
and the immediate notification of the next of kin in cases of arrest or detention.
Moreover, article 90 of the Constitution gives priority, in cases of conflict, to
international human rights treaties concluded by Turkey over national law, and specifies
that such treaties carry the force of law.
The Criminal Code of Turkey, of 2004, 2 criminalizes torture and defines it as a
serious crime. Pursuant to articles 94–96, any public official who acts towards a person in a
manner incompatible with human dignity, which causes that person to suffer physically or
mentally or to lose the ability to act according to his or her own will, or which dishonours
or insults a person, is to be punished by imprisonment for a period ranging between 3 and
12 years (art. 94), with up to life imprisonment in aggravated cases (art. 95). The Special
Rapporteur welcomes the abolishment of the statute of limitations with regard to the
offence of torture, by an amendment passed in April 2013.3
The Code of Criminal Procedure4 provides for additional safeguards against torture
and ill-treatment. Article 147 prescribes legal standards for the interviewing of suspects,
which are aimed at the prevention of torture and ill-treatment and which include
notification of charges, the right to legal counsel, the right to remain silent, notification of
the arrest to next of kin, and the obligation to record every interview in writing, or to make
an audio and video recording in the case of individuals suspected of acts of terrorism.
In addition, the exclusionary rule enshrined in article 148 provides that confessions
obtained through any bodily or mental intervention that impairs the free will, such as
misconduct, torture, the administering of medicines or drugs, physical coercion or threats,
shall not be used as evidence and shall not serve as a basis for evidence in any proceedings.
In article 206 (2) (a) it is reiterated that any evidence that has been unlawfully obtained
shall not be admissible in court, and in article 217 (2) it is confirmed that criminal charges
may only be proven on the basis of evidence that was obtained lawfully.
An additional safeguard is the temporal limitation of custody by the police or the
gendarmerie. Generally, the authorized period of custody is a maximum of 24 hours. 5 For




Law No. 5237 of 2004.
Law No. 6459, art. 9.
Law No. 5271 of 2004, available at
minal_Procedure_Code.pdf and at www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.5.5271.pdf.
Code of Criminal Procedure, art. 91 (1); and Regulation on Apprehension, Detention and the Taking
of Statements, of 2005, sect. 1.

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