Turkish Ministry of Defense acknowledges torture of Syrian refugees at Turkish border

ISTANBUL — In a startling revelation, the Turkish Ministry of Defense has acknowledged a horrifying incident involving the torture of eight Syrian refugees at the border, leading to the death of two of them. This disturbing revelation came to light through the efforts of Green and Left Party (YSP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who had directed a parliamentary question to the Minister of Defense, Yaşar Güler, seeking answers regarding the alleged torture incident.

According to Gergerlioğlu, the refugees, who had entered Turkey from Syria on 11 March, were apprehended by soldiers at the border. Subsequently, nearly ten soldiers subjected the refugees to acts of torture and mistreatment that defy comprehension.

Describing the horrific ordeal faced by the refugees, Gergerlioğlu stated:

“After 8 refugees entered Turkey, they were captured by soldiers, and nearly 10 soldiers subjected these individuals to torture and mistreatment. Our parliamentary question was about this horrendous torture had been inflicted upon them. Diesel fuel was poured into their mouths, faces, and bodies, and they were beaten with sticks, and clubs, and given electric shocks.”

The MP’s words painted a grim picture of the brutality endured by the refugees. “Can you imagine such things? You are subjecting eight people to horrendous torture, one of them dies there unable to bear it, and then you just walk away as if nothing happened,” he lamented.

In response to Gergerlioğlu’s inquiry, the Ministry of National Defense confirmed the incident and took immediate action. Criminal proceedings were initiated against two soldiers allegedly involved in the torture, while four contract personnel were dismissed from their positions. Additionally, legal proceedings are underway concerning one reserve officer linked to the case.

MP Gergerlioğlu highlighted the undeniable nature of the torture by stating, “It is clear that torture has been acknowledged and cannot be denied. We had submitted well-documented pieces of evidence, including videos of those who were subjected to torture, to the Ministry, and they couldn’t deny it.”

Following their statements, two lieutenants and one first lieutenant-ranked military personnel were arrested in connection with the incident. Three other soldiers who provided statements were released under judicial control.

The Reyhanlı Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has placed a secrecy order on the investigation, indicating the sensitivity and seriousness of the case.