Amnesty Purged Beyond Return

No Remedy For Turkey’s Dismissed Public Sector Workers



Turkey’s two-year State of Emergency has destroyed lives of hundreds of thousands innocent people. In its previous report, Amnesty International reported that torture has become widespread in Turkey’s prisons, detention centers, and police headquarters since the first state of emergency imposed after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Amnesty International released a new report, which analyzes Turkey’s two-year state of emergency, which has resulted in serious human rights violations impacting on hundreds of thousands of individuals from all walks of life.

Highlights from the report:

During the state of emergency, the government had the extraordinary power to issue emergency decrees with the force of law. These decrees were used to enact a wide variety of measures, affecting diverse issues from detention periods and NGO closures to snow tyre requirements. Around 130,000 public sector workers were dismissed by emergency decrees.

Those dismissed include teachers, academics, doctors, police officers, media workers employed by the state broadcaster, members of the armed forces, as well as people working at all levels of local and central government. Their dismissals did not include specific evidence or details of their alleged wrongdoing. Instead, the decrees offered a generalized justification that they ‘…had links to, were part of, were connected to, or in communication with…’ proscribed groups.

Amnesty International’s findings indicate that after more than two years since the first dismissals by emergency decree, dismissed public sector workers still do not have access to an effective remedy. The State of Emergency Inquiry Commission ostensibly set up to serve this purpose, is in effect a rubber stamp for the government’s arbitrary dismissals.

Amnesty Purge Infographics 2

Amnesty Purge Infographics 1

source: Amnesty International

“People look at you differently because of the dismissals. People are reluctant to even say hello to you. They go to great lengths to avoid even seeing you. Your neighbors look at you differently. They pretend not to see you when they walk down the street. While you do not know exactly what you have been accused of, you are labeled as a ‘terrorist’ and left completely isolated, even from those closest to you. You look around you and all that’s left is your partner, your child, and a few close friends and family” –

A dismissed school teacher interviewed by Amnesty International in July 2018

“I feel like I have been put in quarantine for the last two years as if I have some highly contagious disease. None of my friends even called me to offer their commiserations when I was dismissed. … Nobody wants to give you a job. … You become a shut-in, you don’t have anyone to talk to. You feel like you have been marked in some way.”

– Former agricultural engineer at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock. Received a decision from the Commission 21 months after his dismissal and nine months after his application.

“I was essentially publicly branded, I was prevented from pursuing my academic career; I have had to go work on construction sites because nobody else would give me a job. If I am eventually returned to the public sector, it will be as a person who has suffered a serious hardship, as a person who will need their sense of trust in the system restored…”

– Former academic at a public university in Turkey, currently awaiting a decision from the Commission having been dismissed in July 2018


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Download the report