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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs