Civil death: Amnesty report on social upheaval caused by Turkey’s purge of public servants

Riot police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the dismissal of academics from universities following a post-coup emergency decree, outside the Cebeci campus of Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Riot police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the dismissal of academics from universities following a post-coup emergency decree, outside the Cebeci campus of Ankara University in Ankara, Turkey, February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas


Date posted: May 22, 2017

The dismissal of more than 100,000 Turkish public sector workers is arbitrary and has had a catastrophic impact on their lives and livelihoods, a new report published by Amnesty International reveals.

No end in sight: Purged public sector workers denied a future in Turkey finds that tens of thousands of people including doctors, police officers, teachers, academics and soldiers, branded as ‘terrorists’ and banned from public service, are now struggling to make ends meet.


The shockwaves of Turkey’s post-coup attempt crackdown continue to devastate the lives of a vast number of people
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

“The shockwaves of Turkey’s post-coup attempt crackdown continue to devastate the lives of a vast number of people who have not only lost their jobs but have had their professional and families lives shattered,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.

“Tainted as ‘terrorists’ and stripped of their livelihoods, a large swathe of people in Turkey are no longer able to continue in their careers and have had alternative employment opportunities blocked.”

The report, based on 61 interviews conducted in Ankara, Diyarbakır and Istanbul finds that, once in secure public sector jobs, workers are facing a dire situation with no means of redress. Interviewees all described how in the absence of other means of support including social security benefits, they were forced to live off their savings, rely on support from friends or family, take jobs in the irregular economy, or scrape by on small handouts from their trade unions.


Cutting 100,000 people off from access to work is akin to professional annihilation
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

Many dismissed workers are forbidden to work privately in professions regulated by the state, such as law and teaching. Similarly, sacked police and military officials are banned by decree from finding similar work in the private sector. The few professionals who are permitted to continue their careers in the private sector such as health professionals, are struggling to find jobs, especially equivalent work commensurate with their previous salaries.

Dismissed public sector workers have had their passports cancelled removing the possibility of working overseas and thereby severely restricting their job opportunities still further. “They don’t allow us to leave the country, they don’t allow us to work…what do they want me to do?” one woman who was dismissed from her top civil service job in the President’s office asked Amnesty International.

Even if some of the dismissals – such as those of soldiers who took part in the coup attempt – can be justified, the failure of authorities to set out clear criteria for the dismissals or provide any individualized evidence of wrongdoing blows a hole in their claim that all the dismissals are necessary to counter terrorism. Instead, evidence suggests widespread abusive and discriminatory motives behind the purge. One former local government employee told Amnesty International: “If anyone wants to erase you from the institution, they just give your name as a Gülenist”.

The very public nature of the dismissals has made things difficult for those dismissed. “I was regarded as a hero by society. Now I’m seen as a terrorist and a traitor,”a former soldier who was stationed the other side of the country from where the coup attempt took place, told Amnesty International. An academic who was dismissed in August 2016 told Amnesty International: “My son didn’t want to go to school, the other children were picking on him, saying that his mother was a terrorist and a traitor.”

None of the people interviewed by Amnesty International have been provided with any explanation for their dismissal beyond the generalized allegation of links to terrorist groups. Yet in spite of the clear arbitrariness of the dismissal decisions, there is no effective appeal procedure for public sector workers against their expulsions. A commission proposed in January to assess the cases lacks both the independence and the capacity to make it effective. It is yet to start operating.


Tainted as ‘terrorists’ and stripped of their livelihoods, a large swathe of people in Turkey are no longer able to continue in their careers
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

A small number of dismissed public sector workers have publicly protested their dismissal, and faced police harassment, or even detention and ill-treatment. Nuriye Gülmen, an academic, and Semih Özakça, a teacher, are on the 75th day of a hunger strike in protest at their dismissals.

“Cutting 100,000 people off from access to work is akin to professional annihilation on a massive scale and is clearly part of the wider political purge against real or perceived political opponents,” said Andrew Gardner.

“The authorities must end these arbitrary dismissals immediately, and reinstate all those who are found not to be guilty of wrongdoing. Those who have been dismissed should be given access to a swift and effective appeal procedure in order that they can clear their names, be compensated and return to their careers.”

Source: Amnesty International , May 22, 2017


Related News

An Indian professor’s reflections on Erdogan’s visit to India, crackdown on Gulen movement

There has been no evidence of any terrorist activity by the followers of Gulen in any part of the world including Turkey. In India, they have been running their institutions: schools, coaching Institutes, and dormitories for more than 15 years, but none has been accused of any kind of terrorism and crime.

Why Erdogan Is Soft On ISIS

Turkey’s government and the media that support it have an odd attitude when it comes to violent acts carried out by ISIS: It’s as if the “cultural/ideological dialects” of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government somehow malfunction. The government is politically accountable if ISIS actions do not stop in Turkey. Trying to cover this up with nonsense like “ISIS is the same as PKK and the Gülenists” only increases this accountability.

What I Saw In Turkey

Everywhere in Turkey, people are talking about the clampdown on the Turkish media. The situation is quite dire. At Samanyolu, a TV station, has 14 broadcast channels in Turkey, English, Arabic and Kurdish and dozens of radio stations and popular news portals. Foreign news chief, Adnan Tokkapi, said its general manager, Hidayet Karaca, has been held in prison without conviction since December 2014.

66,000 students relocated after Turkish government shut down 15 universities over coup charges

Turkish government has closed down 15 universities across the country over their alleged links to the Gulen movement since last summer, leading 66,000 students to look for somewhere else to continue their education.

Starting a witch hunt [against the Hizmet movement]

The discourse Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Chairman and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan relies on to intimidate his opponents has taken on a whole different dimension. The prime minister argues that his election victory in the March 30 local elections gives him the right to combat the Hizmet movement, which he refers to as the “parallel state” or “parallel structure.”

Proof of the ‘parallel state’

Referring to a news story that appeared in the pro-government media about unfounded allegations about the police, Bülent Arınç, the second man in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), had said, “A dignified person should not speak without evidence.” Arınç’s words are now being used by opposition parties to criticize the prime minister.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Istanbul police display hundreds of books among evidence of ‘terror’

Turkey investigating 4,167 Gülen followers in 110 countries

Kazakh-Turkish high schools win 16 medals in science competition

Graduation ceremony of Pak-Turk school held

The [Gulen] movement was a shade

Turkey arrests Fethullah Gulen’s barber from 26 years ago

TUSKON to sue dailies over disputed land reports

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News