The Washington Post reports: Authorities in Turkey plan to construct 174 prisons over the next five years to “meet the unanticipated increase in the number of convicts,” according to a Justice Ministry statement. Though not explicitly stated, the move is most probably linked to the strain placed on Turkey’s penal system amid a nationwide purge launched in response to a coup attempt on July 15.
In the weeks since, authorities have rounded up and jailed tens of thousands of people suspected to be connected to a movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States who Ankara claims was behind the coup plot.
Some of the plans for the new facilities were already in place before the failed putsch, in which a mutinous faction of the military attempted to seize institutions of the state, bomb parliament and turn their weapons on protesting civilians before being quashed by loyalist forces. In March, reports suggested that Turkish jails were already at capacity.
But the sweeping purge, which has netted a vast number of journalists, lawyers, teachers and other members of civil society, has accelerated the need for new facilities. According to statistics from officials last month, about 35,000 people have been detained as part of the crackdown, and about 17,000 of them have been formally arrested. [Continue reading…]