Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
As per article 94 of the Turkish Penal Code which criminalizes torture, "A public officer who has committed any act against a person that is incompatible with human dignity, and which causes that person to suffer physically or mentally, or affects the person’s capacity to perceive or his ability to act of his own will or insults them shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of three to twelve years.
If the offence has been committed against:
a) a child, a person who is physically or mentally incapable of defending himself or a pregnant women; or
b) a public officer or an attorney-at-law on account of the performance of his or her duty, a penalty of imprisonment for a term of eight to fifteen years shall be imposed.
(1) If the act constitutes sexual harassment, the offender shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of ten to fifteen years,
(2) Any other person who participates in the commission of this offence shall be sentenced in a manner similar to public officers.
(3.) If the offence has been committed by way of omission there shall be no reduction in the sentence.
In that context, any violation of the prohibition of torture may be reported to judicial authorities and the Human Rights Institution of Turkey, which is the national prevention mechanism, as well as the following authorities under the Constitution and international agreements which the Republic of Turkey has signed and other applicable legislation:
Article 125 of the Constitution stipulates that "Recourse to judicial review shall be available against all actions and acts of administration" and "The administration shall be liable to compensate for damages resulting from its actions and acts."
It is possible to apply to courts of law against the administration's acts and decisions except for those granted judicial immunity in the Constitution and such acts and decisions can be annulled and damages can be sought for losses resulting from such violations.
Complaints against any right violation attributable to the administration may be lodged with judicial bodies and the Human Rights Institution of Turkey as well as the following authorities:
Right to a fair trial is stipulated in article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and articles 36, 37, and 38 of our Constitution. Article 36 of the Constitution provides that "Everyone has the right of litigation either as plaintiff or defendant and the right to a fair trial before the courts through legitimate means and procedures" and the underlying elements of that right are set forth in articles 37 and 38. Article 36 on the right to a fair trial has been complemented by the principle that penalties should be defined in laws and that criminal responsibility should be persona (Constitution, article 38); the principle that no one shall be considered guilty until proven guilty (Constitution, article 38); the right not to make a statement that would incriminate himself/herself or his/her legal next of kin, or to present such incriminating evidence (Constitution, article 38); prohibition to extradite a citizen to a foreign country because of an offence (Constitution, article 38); the independence and establishment of courts (Constitution, article 9, 139, and 142); guarantees for judges and public prosecutors (Constitution, article 140); the rule that hearings should be open to the public and that the decisions of all courts should be written with a justification (Constitution, article 141).
The ECHR includes the following provision regarding the right to a fair trial in article 6:
1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;
(d) to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;
(e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.
Any person whose right to a fair trial has been violated may file a personal application with the Constitutional Court after exhausting all administrative and judicial channels defined in laws.
Judicial assistance is a principle established in order to ensure that people with insufficient financial means are not deprived of the right to file a lawsuit as part of the right to a fair trial.
Individual with insufficient financial means are exempted from court costs and fees and a bar association appoints a lawyer to defend him or her free of charge.
Any person who cannot afford the costs of trial or enforcement proceedings in whole or in part may benefit from judicial assistance regarding their claims and defense, requests for provisional legal protection, and enforcement proceedings on condition that there is a reason to believe that they are right.
To receive judicial assistance, an application needs to be lodged with the court which will hear the case before and after the institution of a lawsuit or to the enforcement court in the place where enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings are to be conducted or to the regional court in order to seek legal remedies or to the Supreme Court of Appeals. The court will assess if judicial assistance is warranted and accept the request in whole or in part or reject it. Judicial assistance will continue until the judgment becomes final.
If you cannot afford hiring a lawyer, you may apply to a bar association or or its judicial assistance bureau so that a lawyer to be appointed as part of judicial assistance can pursue your case.
Discrimination means being exposed to different treatments in the legal domain and daily life due to race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, faith, sect and similar reasons while exercising public and private rights and powers. Any person who is convinced that he or she has been subjected to discriminatory treatment may apply to judicial bodies and the Human Rights Institution of Turkey as well as the following authorities:
Economic and Social Rights
Economic and social rights constitute a category of rights which aim at enabling individuals to maintain their daily lives and enhancing living standards. You may use the following alternatives when dealing with obstructions and challenges to exercising your economic and social rights.
The Rights of Persons With Disabilities
Persons with disabilities as individuals who need protection, care, rehabilitation, counseling, and support and have difficulties in adapting themselves to social life and meeting their daily needs because of the loss of their physical, mental, emotional, and social skills at various degrees also have some special rights in addition to fundamental human rights. In that context, any violation of the rights of persons with disabilities may be reported to judicial authorities and the Human Rights Institution of Turkey as well as the following authorities under the Constitution and international agreements which the Republic of Turkey has signed and other applicable legislation:
Rights of the Child
The rights of the child is a universal concept used for defining rights to education, healthcare, life, accommodation and protection against physical, psychological or sexual abuse which all children on the world enjoy legally or morally. Any violation of the rights of the child, which is a special category within human rights, may be reported to judicial authorities and the Human Rights Institution of Turkey as well as the following authorities under the Constitution and international agreements which the Republic of Turkey has signed and other applicable legislation:
Domestic Violence and Violence Against Woman
Domestic violence means all kinds of aggressive behavior that an individual displays against his or her spouse, ex-spouse, female or male friend or fiance, child, parent, siblings, and/or close relatives. This definition includes not only behavior involving use of physical force, but also many other form of behavior, including humiliation, coercion, restriction of financial freedom, or forced marriage which is harmful to the victim's self-respect and confidence in himself or herself and people around him or her and causes the victim to become fearful.
People in a household as well as ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend or fiance may be exposed to violence. In that context, a complaint for domestic violence may be lodged with judicial authorities and the following authorities:
For further details:
Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Directorate for Woman's Status
The Rights of Refugees/Asylum-Seekers
A refugee is a person who has left for been forced to leave his or her home country because of actual or feared persecution because of his or her religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion and cannot or does not want to return to his or her home country because of fear and is seeking refuge from another country and whose application has been accepted. An asylum-seeker is a person who has left his or her country because of reasons specified above and whose application for asylum is being investigated by the authorities of the host country.
Every refugee has the right to safe refuge, but international protection comprises more than physical security. Refugees should be at least granted the same rights and assistance as those granted to other foreigners legally residing in the country, including basic requirements that every individual should enjoy. Thus, refugees enjoy fundamental civil rights such as freedom of thought and movement and not to suffer torture and degrading treatment.
Similarly, social economic rights should also be granted to refugees just like other individuals. Every refugee must have access to medical services. Every adult refugee should have the right to work. No refugee child should be prevented from going to school. There are numerous international conventions on human rights, which are applicable to refugees and asylum-seekers. Refugees and asylum-seekers enjoy fundamental human rights which every human being acquires at birth. In that content, refugees and asylum-seekers may submit applications to the following authorities in order to report any violation of human right or to claim any right:
Other Authorities Concerned
Other authorities concerned