Prison guards forbade Kurdish language in prison

Prison guards forbade use of Kurdish language in prison and told prisoners that they can only speak the “official language.”

Adana Bar Association Prison Watch Committee Chairperson Lawyer Tugay Bek met with prisoners in the Kürkçüler Type F Closed Prison, and stated that the guards intervened with the prisoners speaking Kurdish among themselves and told them they could “only speak the official language” in prison.

Under the state of emergency rule in Turkey the mistreatment and torture in prisons have increased dramatically. The rights violations against prisoners in the Tarsus Campus Prison and Adana Kürkçüler Type F Closed Prison have skyrocketed. 13 prisoners in the Tarsus Type T Women’s Closed Prison have been on a hunger strike since August 15 with the demand to exercise their legal rights. The prisoners are facing serious rights violations and are subject to attacks by the guards.


Mahsun Günsel, awaiting trial in Adana Kürkçüler Type F Prison, sent a message via his family and said their wards are searched every day with dogs. According to the information provided by Günsel, the prisoners who object to searches are taken to a padded wall, stripped naked and battered, then returned to the ward in that condition. Günsel said: “They torture people who object to the searches in the padded room. They strip prisoners naked and pour water on them, then return them to the ward. The food always has hair in it. Our water is cut off occasionally. Every day the rights violations increase.”


Adana Bar Association Prison Watch Commission Chairperson Lawyer Tugay Bek visited Adana Kürkçüler Type F Closed Prison and spoke with the prisoners about the rights violations. Bek said a prisoner named Deniz Özdemir has been illegally held in solitary confinement since March 9, and was taken to the Dicle district in Diyarbakır on August 8 to give a deposition. Özdemir was held in Dicle Gendarmerie Outpost for 8 days, and in Diyarbakır Type D Closed Prison for 3 days, and was then returned to Adana Kürkçüler Type F Closed Prison. Bek added: “Deniz Özdemir has been held in solitary confinement illegally for a year. Now with the Statutory Decree No.671, this situation has been legalized and added into the law. The practice legalized through the Statutory Decree now continues.”


Bek said there are severe rights violations in prisons and that prison administrations are employing a policy of systemic tension. “The prisoners are not given radios. They wanted to submit a petition to the prison administration that said ‘Selahattin Demirtaş is not a terrorist’, but the prison administration refused to accept it,” said Bek and continued: “The prisoners wanted to buy Amedspor jerseys. The prison administration only agreed to deliver the jerseys after one month of efforts. A prisoner named Barış Çimen was put in reverse handcuffs while being taken to the infirmary. The things the prisoner sent to his family were lost. The prisoner set off the alarm in the metal detector on the way to the hospital, and was asked to remove his trousers by the guards. When he refused, the guards refused to take him to the hospital. The prisoners are not allowed to speak Kurdish among themselves and the guards tell them that they can ‘only speak the official language there’. The guards enter the wards with dogs and conduct searches. Even the prayer rugs are trampled by the dogs. This policy of systemic tension is implemented by the prison administration.”