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Turkey Pledges To Cut Torture

December 4, 1997

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ Turkey today issued directives intended to improve treatment of suspects by police, long accused of systematic torture and abuse.

The announcement came just a week before the European Union is to decide whether to invite Turkey to a conference bringing together candidates for membership.

Turkey’s poor human rights record is one of the major obstacles cited by EU members opposed to Turkey’s participation.

The new directives order police to be meticulous about custody records and to implement regulations already in force, such as mandatory medical examinations of suspects before and after interrogation.

It also orders governors and federal officials to make frequent surprise visits to police stations to ensure the rules are being followed.

Turkey has been known to announce human rights packages aimed at foreign eyes on the eve of important decisions.

In 1995, weeks before the EU was to decide on a special customs deal with Turkey, the government hastily revised several laws considered anti-democratic.

Dozens of imprisoned journalists were released, only to be arrested again under other provisions soon after the customs agreement took effect.

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