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REPUBLIC OF TURKEY: “Professional annihilation” of 100,000 public sector workers in post-coup attempt purge

30 May 2017
[International Secretariat]

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.

The new report 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 who have not only lost their jobs but have had their professional and families lives shattered,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.

Interviewees in the report 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, or take jobs in the irregular economy.

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.

Dismissed public sector workers have had their passports cancelled removing the possibility of working overseas and thereby severely restricting their job opportunities still further.

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.

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.

“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.”

22 May 2017

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