Turkey ranks highest in Europe for arrests and imprisonment per capita, eliciting concerns from international organizations

ANKARA — Under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become notorious for having one of the highest rates of arrest and imprisonment in Europe, surpassing even Belarus and Russia. Numerous international organizations have shed light on the widespread violations and suspicious deaths occurring in Turkish prisons and detention centers.

During the tenure of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), the country has witnessed a transformation, with an alarming increase in both the quantity of prisons and the detainees held within them. Many of these detainees are individuals imprisoned for their conscience or advocacy for freedom.

According to the Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research’s World Prison Brief, Turkey has a staggering incarceration rate of 392 per 100,000, making it, per capita, the top jailer in Europe and 12th in the world. International organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have also unequivocally condemned the rise in torture, ill-treatment, and inhumane practices in Turkish detention facilities.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom reported a disturbingly high number of suspicious deaths attributed to torture in Turkish prisons. The organization cataloged 120 mysterious deaths and suicides among detainees in Turkey over a span of just two years.

Turkey’s prisons hold thousands of politicians, journalists, lawyers, artists, and activists, many of whom are confined in undisclosed locations.