Daily life

All prisoners are entitled to spend at least one hour a day in the open air


Each cell has an outdoor courtyard of about 20m². Prisoners under “general” confinement regime have all-day access. Those with aggravated life sentences have access to one hour per day (up to four hours in some cases). Political prisoners are not allowed to leave their cells.

The prison service offers activities to prisoners


Prisoners have access to sports and cultural activities, religious education and organized activities in libraries. Political prisoners (members of the PKK), unlike other prisoners, do not have access to the cultural or sports activities organised in the prison. These restrictions particularly affect those accused of affiliation with the Gülen movement.

There are designated places for physical activities and sports


There are designated places for cultural activities


Prison facilities have a library


Books and dictionaries in different languages are available in many prison libraries. However, there is no access to television channels or radio stations in other languages.

The typical day of a political prisoner -sharing a two-storey cell with five inmates- begins with a wake-up call at 7:30 am. Guards conduct an inmate count at 8:15 Breakfast is distributed at 8:30 am. Guards allow access to the outdoor courtyard after breakfast. Beginning at 9:00 am some prisoners organise classes, such as English. A break is scheduled at 10:30 am. Lunch is distributed at 12:00 pm and the afternoon is free until 6.30 pm. Inmates may watch television, listen to the radio, or read books and newspapers. Dinner is served at 6:30 pm. Guards close access to the outdoor courtyard at 8:15 pm. A new inmate count is conducted in the early evening and lights are switched off at midnight.

Work is compulsory


Access to employment and various activities is limited, and in some cases impossible for LGBTI people.

Number and percentage of prisoners who work

21.9 % (50,348)

Variation in the number of prisoners who work


The director of an open prison told the CISST that prisoners are not obliged to work. Jobs would only be provided for the purpose of preparing prisoners reintegration. Prisoners from the same institution however reported having been forced to work, including on weekends, in workshops run by private companies. Prisoners are forced to work under the conditions imposed upon them, and staff threaten inmates who resist with transfer to closed prisons.

All prisoners are allowed to work


Forced labour in prison is prohibited by law, however all prisoners placed in an open prison are required to work.

Some prisoners worked in community service, maintaining communal areas, and preparing meals. Outside companies offer work by using the establishment’s workshops (for example textiles or agricultural production).
Concerning political prisoners, they are responsible for maintaining the cells. The tasks are divided up in turn.

Maximum daily/weekly working hours are set, including at least one day of rest


Working days often exceed the legal hourly threshold and there are no contributions for retirement. The conditions of work in prison do not comply with the labour code.

Prisoners are paid for their work


Remuneration is paid into a registered account from which the penitentiary administration deducts a portion for management fees. Prison wages represent an average of one quarter of the minimum wage. The remuneration varies between seven and ten Turkish lira (1.5 - 2 Euros) per day.

Salaries are

far below

Prison wages represent an average of one quarter of the minimum wage. The remuneration varies between seven and ten Turkish lira (1.5 - 2 Euros) per day.

Their income is subject to social contributions


Health and safety standards applicable outside are respected in prison


Insurance exists to cover inmate accidents at work, health, and maternity expenses. The conditions of work in prison do not comply with the labour code.

Authority(ies) in charge of education and vocational training

Ministry of Education

Education is provided

in most institutions

Middle school education is provided within prison facilities, and high school education is accessible via correspondence.

The prison service implements measures to fight illiteracy


Literacy courses are offered to illiterate inmates however they are not obliged to participate. In 2016, 1% of prisoners had completed basic education, according to the Turkish lnstitute of Statistics.1

  1. According to the latest press release concerning penal statistics, dating from 1 December, 2017. 

Distance courses are available


University courses are offered on a more restricted basis, also by correspondence.


  • The prison administration’s activity report for the year 2016 recorded the following inmate participation in education:

    • 10,762 in literacy classes
    • 35,647 in school and university education
    • 386 in distance educationstatis
    • 62,490 in vocational training

Prisoners are allowed to keep themselves informed regularly on public affairs

varies according to the detention regime

Prisoners have access to a television

yes, by purchase

Cells are often equipped with a radio and a television, but only at the prisoner’s expense. Some institutions prohibit them. Guards may confiscate these items without prior justification.
It is impossible to have access to television or radio stations in a foreign language.

Prisoners have access to a radio


Prisoners have access to the press


Each month, prisoners provide a list of newspapers they wish to obtain. Access to books and newspapers is restricted. All documents are verified by a commission for authorisation. Access to documents in a foreign language is more restricted because the commission is often unable to control them.

The prison service allows access to Internet


Any materials or media considered to be opposition press, such as the Yeni Asya newspaper, are banned.
The television channels and the radio stations are selected before being given to inmates and only pro-government programmes are allowed.

Prisoners are free to practice their religion and follow their beliefs


Respect for the free exercise of worship varies according to the establishment. It is fully approved in some institutions, such as Kirklareli or Bursa Prison. Some institutions hinder access to religious texts such as the Quran. The wait times for such access are lengthy, as is the case in the women’s prison of Duzce. Prayer mats are not provided.

Dedicated places of worship are available


Prisoners can most often pray individually however some prisoners report heavily repressive measures on this activity.

Individuals or organisations from the outside are allowed to participate in prison activities


Une tentative de coup d’Etat a lieu en juillet 2016. L’état d’urgence, déclaré peu après, renforce davantage les politiques sécuritaires et dégrade les conditions de détention. Les politiques sécuritaires s’endurcissent considérablement à partir de 2015. Depuis, les organisations de la société civile et les chercheurs universitaires sont interdits d’accès aux prisons.
Le ministère de la Justice n’autorise plus, depuis 2015, les organisations non gouvernementales à intervenir en prison.

Prisoners are allowed to make use of financial resources


Financial resources are accessible

on a registered account

The circulation of money within the prison is not permitted. Prisoners have a registered account into which their wages, or money sent by relatives, can be transferred.
Prisoners must sign, at the time of entry into prison, a document permitting the prison administration to manage their registered account. An amount is allocated to the running costs of this account.
Prisoners’ financial resources often come from their families. Prisoners from humble backgrounds work whenever they can to support themselves.

Destitute prisoners receive financial or in-kind support


Indigent prisoners live in precarious conditions. Foreign prisoners, often far from their families, cannot provide for their basic needs by themselves. Some churches offer donations to help them. LGBTIQ inmates, sometimes rejected by their relatives, may find themselves in similar situations.