Newsletter 4

Covid-19 outbreak in Turkey’s prisons

11 May 2020

Overall situation

Turkey’s prisons continue to pose a grave risk with respect to the Covid-19 outbreak. As of 11 May 2020, cases of Covid-19 have been reported from 22 different prison facilities.

Based on reports from relatives of prisoners, statements by the Ministry of Justice and reports published on the media, it is believed that at least 262 prisoners have contracted the virus.

According to open sources, the number of cases and the death toll are as follows:

Prison Cases Status Persons
Samsun Bafra Type T Closed Prison 1 Death Prisoner
Sincan Prison 1 Death Prisoner
Ministry of Justice Statement 3 Deaths Prisoners
Total deaths 5 Deaths Prisoners
Ağrı Patnos Prison 1 Infected Prisoner
Balıkesir Kepsut Prison 1 Infected Prisoner
Edirne Closed Prison 2 Infected Prisoners
Kayseri Bünyan Kadın Closed Prison 4 Infected Prisoners
Muğla Dalaman Open Prison 3 Infected Prisoners
Rize Kalkandere Type L Closed Prison 26 Infected Prisoners
Silivri 5th Type L Closed Prison 2 Infected Prisoners
Silivri 7th Type L Closed Prison 45 Infected Prisoners
Silivri 8th  Type L Closed Prison 35 Infected Prisoners
Tarsus Type T Closed Prison 1 Infected Prisoner
Tekirdağ 2nd Type T Prison 1 Infected Prisoner
İzmir Buca Closed Prison 65 Infected Prisoners
İzmir Women’s Closed Prison (Şakran/Aliağa) 2 Infected Prisoners
Şanlıurfa Akçakale Open Prison 3 Infected Prisoners
Konya Type E Closed Prison 55 Infected Prisoners
Ministry of Justice Statement 17 Infected Prisoners
Total infected prisoners 262 Infected Prisoners
Afyonkarahisar Type E Closed Prison 50 Infected Prison Staff
İzmir Şakran Prison 2 Infected Prison Staff
Konya Type E Closed Prison 5 Infected Prison Staff
Eskişehir Prison 1 Infected Prison Staff
Ministry of Justice Statement 79 Infected Prison Staff
Total infected prison staff 137 Infected Prison Staff


Prisoners who have lost their lives

5 prisoners have died of Covid-19 so far.

Prisoners who have been infected

At least 262 prisoners from 15 prison facilities have been reported as infected. A rapid spread is observable in the Silivri prison where there is a concentration of political prisoners. New cases have been identified in the 5th, 7th and 8th prisons in Silivri.

UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnès Callamard has released a report on States’ responsibilities regarding prisons and detention facilities in the context of Covid-19 and urged the release of all political prisoners.

Infected prison personnel

 The Ministry of Justice has not made an update on the number of prison employees who have been infected, which it previously announced at 79. Taking into account the media reports, at least 137 prison officials have been infected.


  • The ministry continues to ignore the highly risky situation which violates the right to life in prisons. It does not transparently and adequately inform the public, despite all the requests to that end.
  • In the case of Silivri prison, the ministry has tried to cover up the situation after serious symptoms were observed among prisoners. Positive cases were identified by health officials who arrived at the prison facility to conduct tests, independently from the prison administration and upon insistent complaints filed by relatives of prisoners. After the information was made public by the families, the prosecutors have had to release a statement confirming the cases.
  • It has been observed that the ministry and the prison administrations have been deliberately concealing concrete cases pointing at the outbreak behind bars in purposeful defiance of the right to life.