Turkish prisoners report shortage of tests, food amid COVID-19 outbreak

Although Turkish officials are insisting there are no serious problems involving the coronavirus outbreak in prisons, a number of complaints from inmates have recently surfaced, indicating a dangerous health situation among prisoners.

According to Deutsche Welle Turkish service, a prisoner in İstanbul’s Silivri Prison said that in addition to 44 officially confirmed coronavirus cases in the prison, at least 55 more inmates were infected with the virus.

“The tests are only conducted for inmates with chronic illnesses. [Even if you exhibit symptoms,] the ministry does not authorize testing non-critical inmates,” the prisoner told his wife on the phone.

The recording of the phone conversation was sent to DW Turkish.

“When we insisted, the doctor referred us to a hospital. Seven out of eight of us tested positive [for COVID-19]. Most probably, our entire ward is sick right now,” he added.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on April 28 that 120 prisoners had tested positive for coronavirus, but there has been no follow-up since then.

Turkish prisoners report shortage of tests, food amid COVID-19 outbreak