Ayten Ozturk who abducted from Lebanon, brought to Turkey with a private plane, heavily tortured for 6 months in Ankara appeared in court and talked about her torture days for the first time.
It has been considered that there are 27 people who were abducted by Black Transporters to the secret torture center which is formed as Guantanamo of Turkey in Ankara. Ayten Öztürk is known as the first woman who was subjected to torture in there.
Because of being a woman, the tortures were turned into heavier forms, including sexual torture.
BOLD/EXCLUSIVE – Once taken into custody on March 8, 2018 in Lebanon Airport, delivered to the Turkish authorities by putting a sack over her head and brought to Ankara with a special plane, Ayten Öztürk appeared before the judge after more than a year and made a long defense about the torture she was subjected to in an unknown official institution in Ankara for 6 months.
Ayten Öztürk stated that the official detention date and place appears on papers that 28 August 2018 in Ankara Anti-Terror office but this did not reflect the truth, she was illegally taken to a detention center on March 13, 2018, and she was turned over to police at midnight in a wilderness after 6 months of torture.
UNKNOWN 6 MONTHS
Ayten Ozturk told about the 6 months of heavy torture in full details in the Istanbul Third Heavy Penal Court in a case that she was accused of DHKP-C membership. She also shared important information about the secret torture center in Ankara, which came up with black transporter incidents.
Ozturk stated that, on March 13, she was turned over to the Turkish authorities by Lebanese officials while her eyes were blindfolded and she was brought to Turkey with a private plane. She stated that she had been kept in an official apartment that she did not know and had been tortured continuously for about 6 months from 13 March 2018 to 28 August 2018.
Ozturk’s 12-page defense in court has great details about the torture that is also similar to the statements of the people who were kidnapped by MIT (Turkish CIA) with Black Transporters. Up to the present time, 27 people have been kidnapped related to the cases about the Gulen Movement. Survivors stated that; there were other tortured people, some of them may be Syrian Kurds.
Ayten Öztrük’s family is Syrian Arab origin citizens of the Republic of Turkey. Öztürk who is a university graduate was living with his family in Hatay, then lived in Syria for a while after Lebanon. After aggravated circumstances, she was trying to go to a European country, but she was detained at the airport in Lebanon and turned over to Turkey without complying with the formal procedures.
“THIS PLACE IS THE BACK OF BEYOND”
Ozturk subjected to heavy beatings, electricity, sexual and psychological tortures after brought to Turkey with a private plane. Hundreds of wounds have occurred on her body due to the tortures and she lost weight till she was 40 kilograms. Öztürk who was tortured by people who stated that they were educated about human anatomy told that she was about to die many times and she was treated by a special team then again tortured. Öztürk stated that the torture team named the place as ‘the back of beyond’ (Turkish translation: the very deep place of Hell). She thinks that the place was the basement of an official apartment because she was hearing women heels’ voices from upstairs when the working hours started.
Ayten Öztürk who was kept naked in front of the torturers still has the traces of tortures like strappado, falanga, force-feeding. Moreover, her sexual areas forced with a nightstick, she was kept in a box called coffin, her fingers were burned and kept in water until the limit of drowning. She presented all the details of the torture in her defense to the court and made the whole process recorded.
Öztürk is the only woman known to have been kidnapped and taken to the torture center in Ankara during the state of emergency. Öztürk was subjected to different torture methods compared to the other victims because she was a woman. Especially in menstrual periods. Öztürk heard the sounds of torture, shouting and crying coming from the cells next to her, also heard that the torturers said to those who were tortured in the side cells: “Should I bring your brothers”
MUSTAFA OZGUR GULTEKIN’S LETTER WAS PRESENTED TO THE COURT
In the hearing held at Istanbul 3rd High Criminal Court with the case number 2014/105; Lawyers of Halkın Hukuk Bürosu (Citizens’ Law office) submitted the letter sent by Mustafa Özgür Gültekin who was the employee of the Competition Authority and he was kidnapped in Beştepe Ankara on 21 December 2016. Lawyers indicated that: Gultekin, who was kidnapped after his name mentioned in the Gulen Movement investigation, was tortured in the same place as Ayten Ozturk, They requested an investigation within the framework of the submitted letters and documents.
CONTINUATION OF DETENTION
Ozturk who was defended by the lawyers of Citizens’ Law office seemed quite exhausted at the hearing. She stated the health problems and the drugs that she will have to use for a lifetime long due to the torture. Ayten Ozturk, who said that; ‘she was able to survive with the help of her ward friends’, demanded evacuation.
The court composed of three judges and two of them were women decided to continue the detention and adjourned the hearing to 3 November 2019.
Ayten Ozturk’ defense in full text that was recorded in the 3rd High Criminal Court is a historical record that shows there is systematic torture in Turkey. The full text of the defense, which has very shocking information, is as follows:
THE FULL TEXT OF THE DEFENSE OF AYTEN ÖZTÜRK
I was released after I made my first defense on this case on September 10, 2018, through Sound and Vision Information Technology System (SEGBIS). However, after my case in Ankara merged with this case, I started to be jailed pending trial again.
The main reason for a lawsuit against me in Ankara was the fact that I was wanted from my case in Istanbul, which I was not aware of. My release from the Istanbul trial also eliminates the reasons for Ankara Case’s arrest warrant. But still, in a meaningless way, my imprisonment continues.
I’m going to answer all the claims about me for both of the cases, but first I want to tell you what I’ve been through until I get here. I’ve been looking for an authority that I can tell what I’ve been through for about a year. Every time I tried to tell, I was blocked and ignored. However, facts cannot be concealed or covered, and they emerge in the long run. Therefore, I demand what I will tell now to be recorded.
What I’m going to tell you is about my arrest that was a fictional scenario after I had been tortured for six months in a secret place, illegally and illegitimately. What I’ve been through is inhuman and unlawful in all aspects.
The date of my detention in the Ankara indictment is August 28, 2018. This is the official date recorded in the police records. However, I was unofficially tortured in a secret place for six months before August 28. Therefore, the date in the custody record is incorrect and false.
I was detained on 8 March 2018 by Lebanese authorities in the Lebanese airport. When I was in custody, a person called “Kadri” from Turkey Consulate spoke to me and took photos of me with his phone. After this meeting, the Lebanese authorities dishonorably searched my belongings repeatedly. There were no criminal elements. The reason they kept me in custody was that I was carrying a passport that I bought from smugglers and belonged to someone else. I was living in Syria for ten years. I wanted to go to Europe by obtaining a passport that I could go to without a visa because of the war conditions in there.
The Lebanese authorities said they would release me. But on the evening of March 13, they took me to the airport in a hurry. I was taken there with my eyes blindfolded and my hands were handcuffed behind my back. When we arrived at the airport, they opened my hands and eyes in the car. It was a private entrance to the airport. They rushed me to a blind spot. The people whose faces I did not see there blindfolded me quickly and put a sack on my head. They handcuffed my hands from behind. They rushed me on a plane in a torturing way with the same speed and panic. I knew from the quiet operation of the plane that it was a private plane.
I was brought to Turkey from Lebanon after about 1-hour journey. When I was being taken off the plane, I tried to shout that I was kidnapped and who I was. Because of this they taped my mouth shut and closed it by using their hands. They closed my mouth as tightly that they prevented me from breathing. They rushed and pushed me somewhere aggressively after a distance of about 15 steps after landing. The same people quickly opened my handcuffs at the place we entered, and forcibly stripped me naked with torture. Then they dragged me while I was naked and they threw me into a padded cell. I was still blindfolded. They threw into room two pieces of clothes.
I waited for a while with my hands were handcuffed behind my back and blindfolded. Again they aggressively opened my door and quickly they put me in a place that was six steps away. They put me on a chair and went out.
A voice that cannot pronounce the letter “R” in the room; “Welcome, Ayten. We know you. We want to learn a few things from you. Actually, we know everything but we want to get it confirmed. Will you talk?” he asked. I had nothing to tell them.
A person, I thought he was middle-aged, was speaking very proper Turkish. “Look, nobody will talk to you but me. It’s just you and me in this room. No cameras, what we talk about will remain between us. Then you go out.” he said.
When I said I wouldn’t talk again, with a harsher tone; “I have been given infinite authority over you. This state used a private plane for you. This place is unlike any other place. Everyone here does their job professionally. You can’t get out of here if you don’t talk. We make you suffer for months and years. We do not harm your body integrity. Will you talk?” he asked. I told him that I would not speak under any circumstances, especially such a place where I got tortured by people that I did not know.
The interrogator said; “This is not a police station or a prison, there is no time limit. There is only God and us here. We do whatever we want.” When I told him I wouldn’t talk again, they put me back in the cell.
For about 25 days, my hands were handcuffed behind my back and I was blindfolded. There was also a sack on my head. In the beginning, I couldn’t detect the intervals at which they open the door. I was pushing my brain in order not to lose my sanity or lose consciousness. I could count the days according to the opening and closing of the door. I knew it was morning when they tried to force breakfast. Twice a day the door was opened to give me food forcibly and three times to take me to the toilet. They were trying to force me to eat. The first days I was just drinking water. They gave me a glass of water when they took me to the toilet. Sometimes they didn’t give it at all. In the tiny cell, I was suffocating with the sack on my head, and having difficulty breathing. My mouth, throat, and nose dried up from thirst. Sometimes my nose was bleeding, and the blood was accumulating on my hands and face then it was getting dried.
Except for the toilet, my hands were handcuffed all day. I was blindfolded even when I was in the toilet. I had pain, swelling, and numbness in my arms because of the handcuffs. There were wounds on my wrists. Although I was taken to the toilet blindfolded, I realized that the door was halfway. When I said, “you can see me!” They shoutingly said, “Yes, if we want.” Every moment there was turned into torture. “There is no such thing as honor, morality, decency here. All of these remained outside”, they were shouting.
At first, I was questioned by the person who could not pronounce the “R” letter almost every day. In one of the interrogations, the interrogator removed the sack from my head. I was still blindfolded. The interrogator saw the blood that was accumulating in my nose and flowing to my mouth. The blood on my hands was dry, my wrists were inflamed. It was probably the end of the first month. It was the first time that I was able to wash my mouth and nose while I was blindfolded again. I knew I smelled awful. But I didn’t want to bathe there either. I didn’t want anything from them. This made them even angrier. The interrogator said; “There are no lawyers, judges, prosecutors. If you die here, no one will hear. Nobody will care. Already no one asks about you. They gave up on you. There will be no official record about you.
Especially in the 90s, I knew that dozens of people were kidnapped and murdered in our country. They could have done the same to me. But I believed the part; ‘no one is questioning about my absence.’
One night they left me dehydrated then I felt faint. I heard some sound from my cell. I knew it was a camera. I was being watched for 24 hours. They forcibly intervened with me in the morning. I was blindfolded, my hands cuffed, they took me to the infirmary, not far from my cell. They tied my arms and legs with a flexible elastic band and gave me serum. They also tried to open my eyes. About 25 days my eyes never opened, my eyelids were stuck. They opened my eyes with a liquid. I couldn’t look at the light. At first, I saw those who treated me. They were wearing balaclavas. Only their eyes were visible. The infirmary had two chairs and medical supplies. I heard the voice of a woman for the first time outside the infirmary. She was talking to someone as if she were organizing something. She told that; “The commission will come, so we should…” or something like that. From both this woman’s speech and the footsteps on the upper floor of the cell, I conjectured it was an official institution. The official basement of this official institution, which I don’t know where it was, was the torture center.
After the treatment, psychological torture continued. The interrogator said, “If you do not agree to take a bath, they will wash you with a hose and a brush. We are doing everything to you by force”. The place they call as the bathroom was next to the toilet. it was covered with a thin curtain. They were watching me there. They turned my menstrual periods into torture, just like the bathroom. They were giving me menstrual pads one by one and telling me immoral words. It was the place where humanity ended.
Sometimes there were sounds of torture during the day and sometimes at night. Screaming, crying sounds were coming up closely. It was always male voices. Usually, “Are you going to talk or should I call your brothers? Do you want your brothers with you? If you want to get out of here, talk… ” kind of sentences I was hearing. I don’t know how many people were in custody there. But I guess that there were seven cells from the doors’ opening and closing sounds. I had no contact with the people in custody there.
Presumably, they opened my eyes in my cell and handcuffed my hands from the front in the second month. They were taking me to the toilet by holding my arms and they were harassing me at every opportunity. I was all the time blindfolded and sacked when I was taken from the cell to the toilet, interrogation or infirmary.
When my eyes opened in the cell, I could see what kind of cell I was in. I want to describe the cell. My cell was covered with a gray carpet. The camera was in the upper right corner. The walls were about two meters high. On two opposite walls, there was a plate-sized vent. Air conditioning was a ventilation system. The cell was about 1.5 x 2 meters in size. At the top of the door, there was a gap with about one hand span sized grille. With the spotlight installed there, a part of the cell was illuminated. The inside part of the door was covered with carpet. When I knocked on the door, there was no sound. The floor was covered with the sponge. I thought that the place was the basement of an official apartment because I was hearing women heels’ voices from upstairs regularly when the working hours started.
It had been about 2.5 months. My body had wounds, my skin was flaking. I was rapidly weakening. They were mistreating forcibly and making medical tests on me many times. Because of my wounds, they were forcibly applying a gel to my whole body and telling me immoral words also.
After the last intervention, the interrogator, who could not pronounce the letters “R”, referred me to someone else. He said that the person he referred me was an authorized person and he would make the final decision about me. By doing so, they implied that they would resort to brute force. That’s what happened. Every time that door opened, it was the torture time. “You’re going to get wasted here, does it worth? Who will know you resisted. What happens when you shut up? Nobody cares about you! You f.cking crap.” They were shouting at me.
The air conditioner sometimes gave cold and sometimes warm air to my cell. Sometimes they also smelled cigarettes in my cell. A couple of times they gave in to cell cold weather for about half a day. I was freezing. When they gave very hot air, I was sweating and having trouble breathing. Sometimes they played 6-7 hours of loud music. Played music; Marches praising Turkishness, percussive and loud foreign songs, emotional Turkish songs and folk songs.
Psychological torture continued every day. Those who opened my door daily: “The state supports us. We have all kinds of equipment here. If you have broken parts, we will get it in a plaster cast. If you have a problem with any part of your body, we can heal it. We make you feel every pain and continue to torture in sessions. There’s no end to this. This place is hell. You have no chance to get out of here. We know all about human anatomy. We work professionally. You don’t die, but you beg to die. One day, If you get a chance to get out of here, we do not know if you would have your sanity.” they said.
My guess was that the people who opened my door were working in two shifts. In both shifts, one was very aggressive and the other one was trying to convince me. But they couldn’t wait to torture me physically because they were threatening me every day. From the voices, I understand there were 10 of them. Most of them were speaking proper Turkish. A few people were speaking with the Anatolian dialect. I could tell from the voices that they were doing the cleaning job in there.
The so-called interrogator, who said I would stay there for so long, instructed the torturers to do whatever it takes to feed me. After this instruction, they took me blindfolded to the interrogation room. They spread my arms and handcuffed my wrists to the rings on the wall. While one of the torturers was giving me electricity to my hands, fingers, and to various parts of my body with a device, the other one was trying to open my mouth and make me drunk a feeding liquid. They put hard plastic in my mouth and tried to give food with a plastic hose. I had sores in my mouth and lips. Then they took the hose out, pulled my hair from behind and gave the food while my head was pulled. I had trouble breathing, I was nauseous. My whole body was soaked from sugary fluids and got sticky. During these tortures, I stayed for about a month with the dirt and smell of that liquid food. After the liquids, the torture of forced eating was also done with hangers, electricity, and threats.
After a while, they started physical tortures to make me talk. I will summarize the endless torture sessions that lasted about twenty days.
The first days, torture sessions were in the mornings and evenings. Later they were late at night. During the rest of the day, they were constantly subjected me to psychological torture, harassment, and they were making me stand still for hours.
I was taken to the torture room while I was blindfolded. They were machining me naked first, then they handcuffed my hands to the iron rings on the wall in a hanging position. Almost every part of my naked body was pressed and held for a while with an electrical device. When they did this to me, my whole body was shaking, and I was screaming with all my voice. They were doing it over and over again until I got knocked out. Everywhere they pressed my body with that electrical device, two spots like slits were formed on the pressed area of my body. There were wounds that were 2 cm among them. When I was arrested and came to prison, my friends counted the bruises on my body. There were 898 bruises. When I got fainted, they were taking me to the bathroom and continuing to torture me with pressurized water. They were torturing for hours with water. One was spraying me with pressurized water, and the other was holding the sack on my head to fill water. They also used that electrical device during the drowning torture. Sometimes they took the sack out of my head and opened my eyes and they were spraying water in my mouth and nose. At one point the door was accidentally opened. I saw a person without a mask on his head. He was tall, thin, 45 years old, thin-long face, with a ball beard, glasses, grey-haired person with small eyes. When he realized I saw him, he quickly closed the door and left. They increased the torture because I saw him. They tortured me with water for about five hours. During the rest of the day, they kept me in the cell or in a coffin-shaped box while I was standing in it for hours.
It was impossible to move in the place called a coffin. In the cell, at every opportunity, they were opening the door and there were brutal beatings, threats, and swearing. At least twice they beat me very brutally, especially they hit my face and head. There was an electrical device that they give me electricity from my pinkies and toes. They tied a metal ring to my fingers (taped) and they were controlling the amount and duration of electricity with remote control. I fainted a few times and couldn’t stand up. When they stop the electricity, they were resuming the torture by abusing my body with their hands and nightsticks. They were trying to put nightstick into my genitals and doing all kinds of wickedness
They also threatened to rape me with a thick stick, which they called “Harbi”. My feet got swollen as stovepipe from standing. They were hitting them with sticks and batons. Then I was getting subjected to falanga torture. They threatened to break my toes with pliers. They put something sharp under my three fingernails and burned my pinky. The wound on my finger and the inflammation on my fingernail didn’t heal for months. From time to time they turned me upside down, hanged me upside down while my feet were tied. Meanwhile, they were hitting my feet. When my body lost her strength and I felt sick, they put me down then they were doing different tortures. For example, there were attempts to rape me with a stick while they made me sit in an inflatable wheel. Especially when I got my period, they increased the severity of torture and deprived me of sleep.
Once, they held the pad tapes on my face and made me wait for hours until my stomach became nauseous. “This is nothing, we have more technological methods. We will give you chemicals if necessary …” they said. One day, when I was hanged, they injected me something that I didn’t know. They were calling one person as “Devrim” who was present at every stage of tortures, the other one was called as “Hacı”.
One day they opened my eyes in the torture center. They were all dressed in black, they were wearing black masks. There were 5-6 people inside. The torture chamber was about 2.5 x 4 meters wide. There were two iron rings on the opposite wall. There were blood and stains on the wall. One part of the room was two steps high, there was an office desk in this part. There was a picture of Atatürk in soldier clothes, a chair, and a small table. There were whip, truncheon, stick, pliers, and a device similar to the gun they used to give electricity and two spot lamps on that small table.
For a moment, they gave me a mirror. My face was livid, black and swollen. There were bruises all over my body. In this state, they told me that: they are humanistic people and I should cooperate with them. They said to me; “We’d give you as much money as you want, we’d send you where you want to live, an identity, but you should cooperate with us first.” When I told them I wouldn’t talk to them again, they hanged me and started flogging me.
They said that they would increase the volume of torture every day and apply different forms of torture. Even though I didn’t have anything to tell, they hit my head against the wall and they shouted to me: “take out whatever you have in your head, what motivates you? Take out the things that motivate you.” They were pulling my hair and throwing me around. Some of my hair was leaving lumpy in their hands. “If we want, we can scalp you,” they said. I had bruises and swelling on my forehead, nose and all over my head.
Once again, they injected a serum and applied a cream-gel on my body and face. As far as I remember, I had the serum for three days. “We treated you to torture more.” They said. This treatment lasted about twenty days. During this time, two people in the torture room, masked, short, old, in suits and with ties, were checking the wounds on my body daily. There were 5-6 others with them. They were all staring at my body. But two elderly people seemed to be in charge. Again, they were threatening me about if I would speak or not on a daily basis.
Presumably, it was the twentieth day of treatment torture. They took me to the interrogation room again with my eyes closed and handcuffed. The last interrogator who spoke to me said, “Your time here is over, you will go anyway, let’s talk if you want…” When I said I wouldn’t talk again, he said, “We will turn you over to police. Don’t think of anything else. You will rot in prison.”
Then they took me to my cell and gave me my own clothes. They handcuffed my hands from behind with plastic handcuffs and blindfolded my eyes. I was put between two people in a car with a high stair, with opposite seats and the door was opened by pulling to the side. They put a headset on my ears with a motorcycle sound. About an hour later the car stopped. They took me out of the car and we carried out a few steps. Afterward, they cut my plastic handcuffs behind my back and opened my eyes. Then they got away in a haste. It was pitch dark, I noticed the stuff they left in front of me. A few seconds later, someone surrounded me. They quickly approached with the light in their hands and started asking questions. “Who are you, what’s your name?” kind of questions… We were in an open field, a high place. In the distance, the lights of the city seemed like spots. I didn’t answer their questions. They acted as if they found me there. Someone who has combed hair, united eyebrows and dark-skinned held my arm. He told them to search my belongings like a theater play. The others played their roles by doing what he told. The same person showed me his identity and said, “I am a TEM (Anti Terror Police) officer in Ankara”. They put me in a van. They called me by my name. “We detained you as you are Ayten, isn’t your name Ayten?” he asked. I understood that the police were in cooperation with those who tortured me and I did not answer them.
The date I was taken by the police from that open field is 28 August 2018. Fake detention minutes were kept as if the torture sessions of the previous six months had never happened.
Can Ankara TEM police claim that they did not know who tortured me and detained me for six months? Doesn’t the Ankara TEM police have a share by hiding what they know about the tortures that I subjected to?
What could I possibly do in an open field that I don’t know with 40-kilogram body weight and hundreds of bruises all around my body and while hardly standing on my feet? What could I do there alone at night, even though I didn’t know Ankara and I didn’t even have any Turkish money on me? Moreover, the TEM police, who saw the items in the bags in front of me in shambles and some of them shattered, could still claim that they had taken me as a result of a delation? There is nothing legitimate, and rational about this scenario made up as if they found me there. No one can believe this irrational scenario. If I had been wanted, which I didn’t know, why didn’t official proceedings take place? Instead, I was abducted and tortured?
I’ve been receiving treatment for months because of the torture. My treatment process, the damages that occurred on my body, the drugs I use are in my prison health file. There are still some scars on various parts of my body. Myolysis causes weakness in my arms and legs, and sometimes I feel numbness. The pain of the swollen areas still continues due to the strong blows I have received on my head. Due to chronic asthma, Mediterranean anemia and nodules in my goiter, I have to take lifelong medications and have regular controls. Since I couldn’t sustain my life by myself, my friends staying in my cell help me to meet my needs. As a result, the wounds on my body were healed despite some medications that I had to use for a lifetime; but the wounds in my soul will never be healed.
After three days of detention in Ankara TEM, I wanted to tell the prosecutor and the Magistrate about the torture and what I had been through. Even though I couldn’t stand with my bruises and my thin body, they didn’t look up and ask ‘what happened to you?’ They said, “That case is not our issue.” They didn’t concern and ask a single question. “File a criminal complaint,” they said.
I filed a criminal complaint while I was in prison. The prosecutor nonsuited the complaint in a short time. The reason for nonsuit is that I’m on the list. There are dozens of intellectuals, artists, anti-imperialists, and anti-fascists on the lists in this country. There are people who have revolutionary, democratic ideas. To be on a list is very easy just one needs to be wanted from a simple case.