Torture: Amnesty International says that the practice is more widespread than ever. It targets five regimes in its latest report

'No light at end of tunnel'; TURKEY
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The Independent Online
Istanbul - Western diplomats believe the number of people being tortured and "disappearing" in Turkey has been decreasing and that affairs have improved since the early 1980s.

But Akin Birdal, head of the Human Rights Association, refused to see light at the end of the tunnel. "There is no sign things are getting better. In fact, they are getting worse. People in charge of atrocities are being rewarded by seats in parliament and even ministries," said Mr Birdal, who is also a left-wing politician.

Earlier this year the government initiated action against branches of the Human Rights Foundation after they offered counselling to torture victims.

Amnesty campaigns in the past depressed Turkey's trade and tourism. Letter- writing seems to have more impact on those doing the torturing, however, and diplomats defend the principle of training police forces. "They already know how to torture," said one. "The point is to teach them forensic methods that will allow them to dispense with the need for a confession in the first place."

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