Turkey improves conditions at migrant centers

Published 17.10.2017 23:39

Turkey has improved conditions at a number of removal centers for immigration detainees over the last two years following a Council of Europe watchdog's 2015 visit, the country's foreign ministry said yesterday.

Yesterday's ministry response follows a report released by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) regarding an ad hoc visit to Turkey in 2015.

A CPT delegation in June 2015 examined "the treatment and conditions of detention of foreign nationals detained under alien legislation and to assess the implementation of the ongoing legislative and infrastructural reforms in this area."

In the report's executive summary, the CPT said it had received good cooperation from the Turkish authorities and staff at the premises visited.

According to the CPT report, the delegation "heard no allegations of physical ill-treatment of immigration detainees by custodial police officers in any of the removal centers visited."

"It is also noteworthy that no allegations were received from detained foreign nationals of physical ill-treatment by law enforcement officials [e.g. police, gendarmerie, coast guard] who had apprehended them," it added.

It also acknowledged the visit took place at a "very challenging time for Turkey" when it was taking in an unprecedented number of people fleeing conflicts around the region.

The CPT said it offered "appreciation of the measures taken by the Turkish authorities to provide shelter, care and protection to more than 2 million refugees."

However, the CPT noted there had been problems with the conditions of detainees at centers in Ankara, Istanbul-Kumkapi and Izmir.

Turkey's foreign ministry said the authorities had "duly considered the issues and recommendations contained in the report."

"As a matter of fact, since November 2015 when the report was adopted and shared with the Turkish authorities, further steps have been taken both regarding legislation and their implementation," it added.

Two legal directives came into force in October 2016 to improve visiting procedures and catering, it added.

The foreign ministry also said removal centers "which had less than satisfactory conditions" were shut, to be replaced by new premises with better conditions.

According to Tuesday's statement, removal centers in Istanbul's Kumkap district, the southeastern province of Gaziantep and Kırklareli in the northwest were closed in 2016 and replaced by new facilities.

An Application Bureau for International Protection was opened at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport last year for foreigners with "inadmissible passenger status who applied for international protection," the Turkish authorities added.

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