Turkey/TİHV: Significant increase in torture cases and impunity persists


The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV-HRFT) released its annual report focusing on the prevalence of torture and ill-treatment in Turkey in the year 2022. The report presents a comprehensive analysis of data collected from victims who sought rehabilitation through TİHV’s programme. The 2022 report demonstrates a disturbing trend with a 22% surge in individuals applying for assistance in comparison to the previous year, highlighting the pressing need to address this critical issue.


Background and Scope

Established in 1990, TİHV has been at the forefront of rehabilitation efforts for victims of torture and ill-treatment, as well as providing support to their families. In the context of the foundation’s history, 2022 stands out as the second-highest year in terms of applications, only surpassed by the peak observed in 2001.

Statistics and Demographics

In 2022, a total of 1,201 individuals sought assistance from TİHV due to torture and ill-treatment. Out of these applicants, 1,117 individuals had personally experienced torture and ill-treatment, while the remaining 84 individuals reached out on behalf of their close relatives. The majority of these cases (1,079) occurred within Turkey’s borders, while 38 incidents were reported to have happened outside the country.

The age range of those seeking help due to torture is strikingly diverse, spanning from a 3-year-old child to a 76-year-old individual. This stark variation underscores the breadth of the issue, affecting people across different age groups.

Types of Abuses

The report delves into the types of abuses suffered by the victims. Physical assault was reported by a significant 70.2% of applicants, indicating the widespread nature of this form of abuse. Additionally, 83.4% of individuals reported facing threats and insults, further highlighting the psychological impact of torture. Shockingly, 45.2% of applicants reported experiencing positional torture, which can lead to prolonged physical suffering.

One particularly disturbing finding is that 497 individuals were subjected to the “reverse handcuff” position, a form of hanging torture that inflicts severe pain and distress.

Moreover, the report brings attention to the alarming prevalence of sexual torture, with 43.5% of applicants reporting such abuses. Disturbingly, three individuals reported cases of rape, and 80 individuals experienced physical sexual harassment, illustrating the gravity of this issue.

Human Rights Violations and Impunity

The report also sheds light on the troubling human rights violations that occur during medical examinations in detention. Many victims reported that inadequate examination processes took place with law enforcement personnel present, which not only compromises the integrity of the examination but also raises concerns about potential intimidation and re-traumatization.

One of the most critical obstacles highlighted in the report is the impunity policy that perpetuates torture. The report emphasizes that the political power in Turkey tends to legitimize torture under the pretext of combating terrorism, maintaining national security, and ensuring public order. Despite international mechanisms and bodies repeatedly condemning torture, the lack of accountability persists due to a disregard for criticisms and recommendations.

Mehdi Özdemir, a Diyarbakır Bar Association Board Member, underscores the concerning leniency in punishing public officials tried over torture complaints. This leniency not only fails to deter such acts but also sends a message of encouragement to perpetrators.


The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey’s 2022 report provides a comprehensive and deeply concerning analysis of the prevalent issue of torture and ill-treatment within the country. The significant increase in applicants seeking assistance underscores the urgency of addressing this human rights violation. The report’s findings highlight the need for effective measures to hold perpetrators accountable, eradicate the culture of impunity, and provide rehabilitation and support to victims and their families. Addressing these issues is not only a moral imperative but also crucial for the establishment of a just and humane society.

Categories: Torture and Impunity

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