BP#10: Turkish Prisoners Claim Post-Coup Abuses


Source: The Wall Street Journal | Turkish Prisoners Claim Post-Coup Abuses | November 8, 2016 | By Thomas Grove & Margaret Coker| http://www.wsj.com/articles/turkish-prisoners-claim-post-coup-abuses-1478601181

During a transfer to a facility in Izmir, eight Turkish political prisoners were attacked and some beaten unconscious by guards. The men were beat with planks, fists, had fingers shoved down their throats, and were strangled by the guard’s bare hands. According to the guards, the men were beaten due to failing to show sufficient respect to a prison official. These eight political prisoners wrote a letter to a Turkish prisoner-rights group explaining what had happened. These men became Turkish prisoners after attempting to overthrow the President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On July 21, a state of emergency was introduced, which gave police and prosecutors the power to hold detainees for 30 days without judicial review, limit their access to lawyers and monitor legal advocates.

The above situation is an instance of injustice and can be analyzed or compared to the Ring of Gyges. According to Glaucon, injustice is when we are harmed and don’t get any retribution and justice is an agreement or compromise on what we agree we should and should not do. The social contract theory states that just actions are the ones that we agree are permissible to do. Glaucon believe that being just is compulsory and involuntary and that people are not just because it is good or the right thing to do. He uses the Ring of Gyges to explain this. This is a story about a shepherd named Gyges. An earthquake occurs and creates a hole in the ground. Gyges finds a ring on a dead body inside the hole, so he takes it and realizes that it makes him invisible. Because he is invisible, he kills the king, marries the queen, and becomes the new king. Glaucon states that Gyges committed the unjust act of killing the king because he was invisible and knew he would get away with it. He believes that if we had the ability to get away with unjust acts, then we would. In today’s society and in the above situation, the ring is power. Because of the power the guards possess, they are able to get away with unjust acts, such as beating those prisoners. The prisoners have not received any retribution for the unjust acts committed against them and the guards have not been punished due to their power. Therefore, the acts the guards committed were unjust.



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