Mustafa Yeneroğlu, Member of Turkish Parliament and the Chairman of the Parliament’s Human Rights Investigation Committee, commented on the newly published report of Human Rights Watch named “In Custody: Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey”. With regard to the report, Yeneroğlu asserted that every single claim received by the Committee is thoroughly scrutinized and investigated upon by public prosecutors. He added that also human rights organizations share responsibility in ensuring the proper investigation of severe claims and that they should not be in the positions as to hamper any inquiries. Yeneroğlu stated:
“The Human Rights Investigation Committee did not receive any formal application from Human Rights Watch (HRW) concerning police torture and maltreatment in custody as alleged in the newly published Human Rights Watch report. With regard to two out of the 11 mentioned cases in the report, our Committee has filed criminal complaints to the responsible public prosecutors based on images widely disseminated in the local media. An exhaustive investigation has been launched ever since. As one can observe, every substantial claim we receive is examined with due care.
I am calling out to HRW to share further details about the asserted torture claims mentioned in the report, since our Committee did not receive any substantial application, thus, we do not have any information that may lay the foundation for an ex-officio investigation. Concerning torture claims in its October 2016 report, we have made verbal and written requests to HRW for additional information, however, though months have past, we did not obtain any answer and could not take any action. Due to the severity of the claims, HRW is responsible for the conveyance of the information at hand with relevant organizations and the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee. Otherwise, we are forced to believe that HRW is making these claims without any essential proof. This approach does not add to the advancement of human rights. Assertions concerning human rights violations should not be exploited for black propaganda, political means and ideological conflicts. Hence, it is a civil duty for all human rights activists to share any information on the place, time or identity of the maltreated persons with the accountable institutions.
Another topic covered by the HRW report is that of abduction and forced disappearances. Concerning four out of the five revealed cases our Committee has received individual or collective applications in June 2017. Investigations have been immediately launched and are still on-going.
In light of Turkey’s ‘zero tolerance to torture’ policy, we are liable to investigate upon any assertion that is made in order to come after our primary duty to bring those responsible for maltreatment to justice. Within this framework, every application our Committee on Human Rights obtains from HRW or any other human rights organization, it is examined, transferred to the respective prosecutor and followed up with due care.”