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Justice Ministry statistics reveal a surge in criminal investigations in 2021

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Turkey saw a surge in criminal investigations last year, with 2.4 million cases opened concerning theft, fraud and drug-related and sexual offenses, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday, citing judicial statistics.

According to a 352-page report drafted by the Justice Ministry, which compares the number of criminal investigations in 2021 with previous years, 2,461,166 complaints were filed on crimes against property –- including theft, fraud, property damage and extortion –- last year, with the figure increasing from 1,933,775 in 2020.

While crimes against property accounted for 27.4 percent of all offenses in 2020, this figure increased to 28.9 percent in 2021, DW said, with 546,665 of the cases ending in conviction and 139,017 in acquittal.

The complaints filed on crimes against property were followed by those filed on crimes related to deprivation of liberty (1,453,010), bodily injury (1,304,673) and offenses against a person’s “honor” (1,179,884.)

There was also an increase in drug-related and sexual offenses, which are fewer in number but have greater social impact, DW said.

While 112,811 allegations of sexual offense were recorded in 2020, this figure increased to 127,000 in 2021, with incidents of child abuse surging from 39,663 to 44,880 within the same period, according to DW.

In 2021, 43,015 of the investigations into sexual crimes were turned into criminal cases in which 36,016 people were convicted and 14,803 were acquitted.

A total of 422,479 investigations were launched for incidents involving drugs last year, and 174,978 of them resulted in indictments, DW said, adding that the cases ended in 245,906 convictions and 26,669 acquittals.

According to DW, the number of criminal complaints filed with chief public prosecutors increased from 200,288 in 2020 to 265,117 in 2021, with the number of investigations surging from 8,995,141 to 9,856,642 and the number of cases filed increasing from 2,833,473 to 3,290,195 within the same period.

Meanwhile, the number of investigations and indictments initiated under the anti-terror law decreased in 2021 compared to a year earlier, and among those tried under the law, 2,892 people were convicted last year while 3,598 were acquitted.

Among those who were tried on crimes against the constitutional order, which include coup charges and membership in an armed organization, 44,869 were convicted in 2021 while 19,958 were acquitted, DW said.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016 which, according to many, was a false flag aimed at entrenching the authoritarian rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by rooting out dissidents and eliminating powerful actors such as the military in his desire for absolute power.

The failed coup killed 251 people and wounded more than a thousand others. The next morning, after announcing the coup had been put down, the Turkish government immediately started a wide-ranging purge of military officers, judges, police officers, teachers and other civil servants that ultimately led to the dismissal of more than 130,000 from their jobs.

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