93 prisoners dead in Turkish prisons in last 17 months

93 prisoners dead in Turkish prisons in last 17 months
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A report released by the Turkish Human Rights Association has revealed alarming statistics regarding prisoner deaths in Turkish prisons.

A total of 93 prisoners lost their lives while in detention over the past 17 months in Turkish prisons, a report by Turkish Human Rights Association said on Saturday.

According to İHD's data, a total of 78 prisoners perished in 2022, with an additional 15 deaths recorded in the first five months of 2023. These individuals were allegedly abandoned to their fate, as they were denied access to crucial healthcare services while controversial decisions made by the Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) also played a role, IHD said. Moreover, many of these deaths occurred under suspicious circumstances.

IHD's report further reveals that there are currently 1,517 sick prisoners, including 651 in critical condition, confined within the prison system. One distressing case highlighted by IHD involves Abdulhalim Kirtay, a prisoner who had been on the organization's list of critically ill individuals.

Kirtay, who had spent three decades behind bars, was released on March 22 but sadly succumbed to his ailments on May 12. Another recent tragedy involved Behcet Kaplan, a 31-year-old serving a 15-year sentence for "membership in an organization" since 2014. Kaplan, who had been in detention for nine years, passed away on May 15 at Ahlat Type T Prison.

Ahmet Cicek, spokesperson for IHD's Prison Committee in the Izmir Branch, emphasized the severe limitations placed on medical treatment for political prisoners. He highlighted the inadequate transportation methods to hospitals and the delays in providing necessary appointments, leading to the progression of illnesses among inmates.

"The conditions prisoners face leave them on the brink of death; in essence, prisons have become death houses," he said.