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Ankara lawyers claim ex-civil servants tortured

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By Agence France-Presse

At least five Turkish foreign ministry personnel were tortured after their arrest over a failed coup, a lawyers’ association claimed on Tuesday, supporting similar allegations by an opposition MP.

The Ankara Bar Association said five people claimed in interviews that they had been subjected to “torture and mistreatment”.

Some detainees were threatened with being sodomized with a truncheon, they added.

A lawmaker for the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, said nearly 100 individuals had been tortured, of whom 20 had suffered “heavy” mistreatment.

Ankara police denied the claims, saying the suspects were treated in accordance with the law and those in custody were able to see their lawyers frequently.

Tens of thousands of public sector workers have been arrested over alleged links to a network run by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of ordering an attempted coup in 2016.

Last week, the Ankara prosecutor ordered the detention of 249 past and present foreign ministry employees in 42 cities, of whom 14 were still serving in the ministry.

– Intelligence officers accused –

The association claimed the torture was carried out by people identifying themselves as members of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) rather than police.

One unnamed individual claimed he was told: “We put the truncheon in, you must have heard this, it’s all true.”

The suspects said there was pressure on them to confess.

But Ankara police said a total of 130 lawyers met with clients on 545 occasions, adding that suspects received a medical check-up every 24 hours and nothing untoward was found.

MP Gergerlioglu raised the issue on Monday in a written parliamentary question to Vice President Fuat Oktay and called for an investigation.

Gulen strongly denies Ankara’s claims that he ordered the 2016 coup.

But thousands of teachers, prosecutors, soldiers, and civil servants have been sacked and detained in frequent police operations related to the coup bid.

While officials insist it was necessary to remove the “virus” of Gulen’s influence from state bodies, rights activists and the West have criticized the scale and conduct of the purge.

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