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Sunday, June 13, 1999 Published at 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK

World: Europe

Turkey to reform overcrowded prisons

The Turkish justice minister, Hikmet Sami Turk, says he plans to end prison overcrowding which he said played into the hands of what he called terrorist organizations.

In an interview quoted by the Turkish Anatolia news agency Mr Turk said the crowded ward system was the basic reason for hunger strikes, rioting and subversive activities that went on in prisons.

Mr Turk said new prisons that complied with European and UN standards would be built and measures taken to prevent them from becoming terrorist training centres. He said there were almost seventy thousand prisoners in Turkish jails, ten thousand of them terrorists; and said there would be measures to speed up the justice system.

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