To-date, the GDP has been unable to find any reports indicating that authorities have taken measures within removal centres. Instead, domestic attention has been focused on the country’s prisons. On 17 March, nine human rights organisations and trade unions called on the state and prison authorities to take various steps to ensure the safety of inmates. The government is also reportedly working on a bill that aims to release 100,000 prisoners due to Covid-19. Sources indicate that repeat offenders, or those that have committed terrorist, drug, or sexual abuse crimes will not be released. On 16 March 2020, Turkish tribunals announced that hearings are postponed until further notice due to the spread of Covid-19. Also, visits to the country’s prison population have been suspended.
Despite Turkey’s announcement in February that it would no longer stop migrants and refugees from reaching Europe, the government altered its approach in response to the virus, announcing that by 27 March 2020, refugees on the Turkey-Greece border would be temporarily settled in nine cities as a precaution against further spread of Covid-19.
- Bianet, “State and Prison Administrations Responsible for Protecting Prisoners from Covid-19,” 17 March 2020, https://tinyurl.com/slh44e6
- R. Soylu, “Coronavirus: Turkey to Pass Law to Release 10000 Prisoners,” Middle East Eye, 20 March 2020, www.middleeasteye.net/news/coronavirus-turkey-law-release-inmates-prisons
- A. Yackley, “Government Scrambles to Contain Coronavirus as Turkish Cases Triple,” Al-Monitor, 16 March 2020, www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/03/turkey-coronavirus-spread-case-triple.html
- Bianet, News List, 23 March 2020, https://tinyurl.com/st6qhkw
- P. Dost, “Coronavirus is Exacerbating the Precarious Situation of Syrian Refugees and IDPs”, Atlantic Council, 27 March 2020, https://tinyurl.com/s6x37qo
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Turkey, www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/turkey