Closing Ranks Against Accountability
Barriers to Tackling Police Violence in TurkeyBook - 2008
Turkey's well documented endemic problems of torture and its notoriously violent policing culture ought to be a thing of the past. Motivated to meet conditions attached to its prospective European Union accession, within the past five years Turkey has made important changes in law and in detention regulations, providing better safeguards for those held in places of detention. Over that period there was a recorded decrease in allegations of torture or ill-treatment of detainees held in the anti-terror departments of police stations. There are, however, signs of continuing problems of police violence, and a reported rise in overall complaints of torture and police violence since the beginning of 2007. At the core of the persistence of these phenomena is the culture of impunity. Historically, law enforcement officials were rarely if ever held to account, and still less often in a manner that reflected the gravity of the violations committed. Today, despite increased legal safeguards, law enforcement officers who flout them can still enjoy effective impunity when they are alleged to have abused or even unlawfully killed victims.