13 killed in Turkey prison fire
By Rizwan Khatik - Sun Jun 17, 12:15 pm
At least 13 prisoners have died after a fire broke out at a southeastern Turkish jail holding around 1,000 prisoners, officials stated.
They were killed by smoke poisoning and at least five others were hospitalised when prisoners set fire to blankets and beds in the Sanliurfa city prison, Anatolia news agency reported on Saturday, citing governor Celalettin Guvenc.
The fire broke out at an ordinary prisoners’ cell of 18 inmates, and was brought under control before it could spread throughout the jail.
The fire broke out amid a fight between the inmates, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“I was also informed by the governor that the conditions in the cell were not suitable to accommodate that many inmates,” he added.
A mutiny might have been started by inmates to protest the poor conditions and lack of air conditioning, NTV news channel had initially reported citing prison sources.
Sanliurfa prison also hosts a large political prisoners’ section, which holds a legislator from Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), security sources said.
The fire triggered deployment of gendermarie and police forces to the prison, the largest in the city, as large crowds gathered in front of the establishment to see their relatives in the prison.
Police blocked road access to the prison to prevent further chaos, and resorted to pepper spray to disperse angry families who demanded to be informed of the dead prisoners’ identities.
An investigation was under way to determine the cause of the incident.