Germany helps Turkish teen escape torture

Can Erdem, 17, was able to fly away from Turkey with the help of the German Consulate in Istanbul. Consul made this decision because of torture to Can’s retired father from Deutsche Bahn.

Can family is among the first generation of Turkish workers in Germany. His father, Ahmet Can, came to Germany as a guest worker in the late 60s and worked in the mines. He was a Deutsche Bahn employee in Duisburg.


Suffering from thalassemia, 32-year-old Ahmet Can retired and returned to Turkey with his wife and children.

The Can family’s life has turned into a nightmare in recent years after they lived about 15 years without any problems in the city of Corum in Turkey. Ahmet Can, his wife, and 17-year-old son were detained on the same day in April 2019.

Ahmet Can, who has to use medication every day because of thalassemia, was not given his medication regularly during his 8-day detention.

Ahmet Can had seizures three times during his detention. Police called the ambulance twice, and he was taken to the hospital once. During the interrogation, “I am a German citizen, you cannot interrogate me,” said Ahmet Can. Subsequently, the German Consulate stepped in through his lawyer and followed the process.

He was rearrested

Erdem Can talks about his father’s experiences, his own experiences and the supports of the German Consulate:
“Very bad things have been done to my father while he was in custody. He had a hooded sweatshirt and a white tank top. He got the color of his shirt on his skin. We asked him ‘what did they do to you, Dad?’ He said; ‘it was so bad, I don’t remember anything, I just know they dragged me away.’”


“They took him interrogation at 10:00 AM held him for 3-4 days and left him at 03:00 AM. He doesn’t remember much about the detention process. He had many attacks within this time. He lost 6 kilograms in 4 days. They called an ambulance twice, and a medical team came to the interrogation once. If he doesn’t use his medicine one day, seizures start, no pills were given during the first days of his detention.”

“We asked for the surveillance footage from the police station, the court rejected”
“Our lawyer asked for surveillance footage to prove the torture, but the court rejected it.”


“My father never recovered after what happened there. He has been always having crises. When there were four days for the second court, my father had another attack, and we made him hospitalized. He wasn’t in a position to go to court. The doctor said; ‘I cannot send this patient in such a condition.’ The court asked Hospital to leave my father to come to the hearing. And the hospital discharged my father. He went to the courtroom with his lawyer in one arm and my mother in his other arm. After the judge asked a few questions, my father lost his consciousness. They had to call an ambulance.”

“They took him back to the hospital. At the request of the judge, a few hours later, a doctor and two medical personnel were brought my father to court again. My father said; ‘I was in such a position in the police station too. They made me signed 250 pages, I do not remember any of them’”


“Then the judge had to interrupt the query. He was taken to hospital again. Then my father was arrested. Currently, He is with 38 people in the 14-person ward. He is sick and the environment that he is in, is very bad. ”

“I was treated very badly in detention”

“The day they first detained my father, they took my mother and me into custody too. I was detained for 14 hours in the police station, they made me lied on the ground constantly and I was insulted and cursed. I was left hungry and dehydrated for 12 hours. Then they threw a piece of bread in front of me.

According to the law, I can’t be handcuffed because I’m 17, but they did. My statement should have been accompanied by a psychologist and a lawyer. They didn’t do that too. They threatened to give me to the orphanage. They said I will be arrested when I am 18.

They asked me, ‘How many weapons are there in the house?’ I said there are no guns. They didn’t find any guns in our house. When they put my statement in front of me to sign, it was written on the statement that ‘I said there are 14 guns in our house’ I did not say anything like this. They changed it when I said I wouldn’t sign it.”

Germany is engaged

A lawyer from the German Consulate noted all of our experiences. They took hospital reports, documents about my father. A German and a Turkish delegation sent to the hearing.

When it became clear that Father Ahmet Can had been tortured in custody, Germany Consulate decided quickly to remove Erdem Can from Turkey before the age of 18.

He was quickly issued a green passport and arrived on 22 September 2019 in Germany. The father was arrested about a month later in October 2019, despite his severe illness.

Charged over aiding Gulen movement members

Ahmet Can, a German citizen, was first sued for helping the members of the Gulen Movement whose relatives were detained, and then he was sued because of being a member of the organization. Following his release, Can appeared in court three times, he was arrested again on October 25, 2019, and sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for refusing his testimony, which was taken during torture and signed when he was unconscious.

Erdem Can, who was born in 2002 in Dinslaken, Germany, called on the German authorities for his father:

“Thank you very much for bringing me here and for protecting me. I want to live in a democratic country and receive a good education here. We are 4 siblings. My two brothers are studying in Germany and I’m staying with them, but my father is in trouble. He is still in Corum Prison. He was tortured while in custody. My father is only being tried for helping people.”

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