News / Europe

    Turkish Film Describes Harsh Conditions in Country's Prisons

    Billboard advertisement for movie about Turkish prisonsBillboard advertisement for movie about Turkish prisons
    x
    Billboard advertisement for movie about Turkish prisons
    Billboard advertisement for movie about Turkish prisons
    Dorian Jones
    A new film in Turkey revealing the harsh conditions of Turkey's "F-Type" prisons has caused a stir. The special prisons house many convicted terrorists and political prisoners. Ostensibly created to comply with EU standards, the prisons have become the focus of growing concern.

    A scene from the new Turkish film "F-Type."  It consists of 10 short movies by some of the country's leading directors about the harsh regime of Turkey's high security F-Type jails. All the films focus on various debilitating aspects of prolonged solitude, says director Huseyin Karabey.

    "Inmates are staying the cells 23 hours, they can't contact with any other inmates, they only have one hour of week to meet nine other inmates. Human creatures are social creatures; this punishment destroys the personality of the prisons.  If the person (is a) strong person, he finds himself in a big depression; if he is weak, he tries to commit suicide," Karabey said.

    Turkey's 13 F-Type prisons are mainly for people convicted of terrorist offenses or political crimes, including conspiracies against the government. Inmates face decades of jail in solitary confinement or sharing a cell with three other prisoners.  Prisoners held in such conditions include those awaiting trial.  Investigative reporter Nedim Sener was accused of conspiring against the government and detained for 13 months.

    "I can describe the place as a concrete grave, he says. A place where people are left to decay. Your eyes get damaged, your sense of taste and touch disappear. Your attention to color fades.  They managed to set up a system that kills your soul, he says. You can’t get back to life even after you leave that place," Sener said.

    The F-Type prisons replaced jails housing inmates in dormitories. The old style prisons were notorious for being unclean and overcrowded places where bullying was rife. They were strongly criticized by the European Union, which Turkey aspires to join. The new F-Type jails, with their hygienic conditions, have been welcomed by the EU and other international organizations. But Emma Sinclair Webb of the New York-based Human Rights Watch says there remains a lot to be concerned about.

    "It's not a question of just changing buildings or changing physical environment.  It's the regime of the prison that needs to change, where you have people in prolonged solitary environment, whose mental health deteriorates and who are not receiving proper treatment or evaluation of their mental health," Webb said,

    The film "F-Type," with its powerful and often disturbing stories, aims to raise awareness in Europe, where it is being shown. But director Karabey says raising awareness is also needed in Turkey.
     
    "Still Turkish society knows the dormitory style dirty places, (with) everyone staying together; they never had an idea about this new hygienic cells. So in the movie, you see it's clean, it looks like a room.  At the end of movie, you understood it's terrible and it's not comparable with the old ones. It's a white torture," Karabey said.
     
    The film’s 10 directors are hoping that "F-Type" will help Turkish human rights groups, which have been pressing for an easing of conditions in solitary confinement.  However, the government for now has ruled out any concessions, claiming that other countries, notably the U.S., have similar prison regimes for serious offenders. Observers warn that, with little international pressure and little domestic awareness of prison conditions, reform is unlikely.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    January 14, 2013 9:52 PM
    The directors are in self denial due to the fact, that they are ignorant of what the Ottoman empire, the big Turkey of yesterday, did to prisioners, including the children of the prisioners. They should spend some time looking at the Armenian genocide, or persecutions of Serbs, after the defeat of the Serbs at Kosovo, now Kosova, and so on. This is more like it was before; what they did to the Armenians, the Serbs, Greeks. Bulgarians, Romanians, and others, is traumatizing those communities many centuries after the fact. At every opportunity of civil discord, all hell breaks lose against the remenants of the Ottoman empire, in the traumatized populations. The treatment of political prisioners, journalists, religious opponents, minorities, etc appears to continue the brutal treatment of the past, and it is not conducive to any type of acceptance of the Turkish gvmt, or a society that supports such behaiviour.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora