Sunday 26 March 2017

Patrick Cockburn: Torture test case forces Turks to look again at human rights

Patrick Cockburn

A former Turkish soldier, Dogan Eslik, is suing the generals who seized power in Turkey in a military coup in 1980 and tortured hundreds of thousands of people. He claims his experiences in Ankara's dreaded Mamak Prison dehumanised him, turned him into a monster, and have effectively ruined his life. He joins thousands of other complainants filing charges against those they hold responsible for torture and murder.

What makes Mr Eslik's legal action different from the others is that they are suing because they suffered torture while he is one of those who inflicted it. Today he is full of remorse at his past career as a torturer. Claiming he was compelled by threats of being beaten himself, he says that his emotional well-being has been permanently destroyed, he has received psychiatric treatment, and he was so traumatised that he has never been able to marry.

Called up to do his military service, Mr Eslik was made a prison warden in Mamak Prison in 1982 and received special training from officers in methods of inflicting pain.

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