The Foreign Ministry yesterday slammed the warning issued by Germany suggesting that Ankara should adhere to the U.N.'s anti-torture convention, saying that the comments were "completely groundless," as all of Turkey's prisons are open for monitoring by international organizations.
"Turkey is a party to all United Nations and Council of Europe conventions against torture and ill-treatment. All places in Turkey where persons are deprived of their liberty are open to monitoring by international mechanisms," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy in a statement, adding that the "Zero tolerance against torture policy" has been meticulously implemented since 2003 in the country.
A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told Saturday Germany's dpa news agency that the German government demands Turkey "stick to the international standards to which it has obligated itself." The statement came after Deniz Yücel, a correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt who was arrested on Feb. 14, 2017, on charges of publishing terrorist propaganda and inciting the public to violence and released a year later, alleged last week that he was hit, kicked, humiliated and threatened during his one-year incarceration.
Stressing that Turkey acts in compliance with its international obligations in its fight against torture, "as it does in all areas," Aksoy said statements of the spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry, which call on Turkey to remain committed to the Convention Against Torture, are "completely groundless."
"Allegations by the person subject to the statement were previously investigated by the relevant Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, which decided not to further prosecute the matter. Our country thoroughly investigates all allegations of torture and ill-treatment and demonstrates, on every occasion, a transparent position on this issue," Aksoy said.
"The statute of limitations with regard to the offence of torture was fully abolished in 2013. We find it noteworthy for state authorities to take these baseless allegations seriously that aim to denigrate Turkey," he added.
Yücel, Die Welt's 44-year-old Istanbul correspondent, was arrested on Feb. 14, 2017, due to his links to RedHack, a band of hackers known for their terror links, in addition to spreading propaganda on behalf of the PKK terrorist organization. Turkish officials said many times that Yücel's arrest had nothing to do with journalism and that his release would be subject to the same procedures applied to terror suspects.
Turkey, the U.S., and the EU list the PKK as an armed terrorist organization, which has been leading an armed conflict against the Turkish state since the mid-1980s.