Turkey’s VP calls purge victims ‘terrorists’

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has branded the victims of a massive purge of state institutions as ‘terrorists’, accusing opposition parties of having plans for the reinstatement of former officials who were removed from office. their duties following a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

“May I ask who these people are? They are terrorists. Opposition parties should tell people that they will reintegrate these terrorists into state institutions,” Oktay said in an interview with the private A Haber TV channel.

Following the failed putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup struggle. More than 130,000 civil servants have been summarily removed from their posts for alleged membership or relations with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree laws without any judicial or parliamentary oversight.

The government also closed 164 media outlets, 1,058 educational institutions and 1,769 NGOs.

Former civil servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also prohibited from working again in the public sector and from obtaining a passport. The government has also made it difficult for them to work officially in the private sector. Notes have been added to the Social Security database of dismissed civil servants to deter potential employers.

According to a joint report by the Justice for Victims Platform and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights defender and lawmaker from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the biggest problem that victims of the purge and their families have faced is economic difficulty (97.9%) followed by psychological problems (88.6%), loss of social prestige and social exclusion (83.7%), disintegration of social circles (83 .1%), unemployment/lack of employment (80.4%) and lack of social security benefits (73.2%). percent).

The most recent report on the issue published by Veli Ağbaba of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) indicates that at least 46 former civil servants have died by suicide in Turkey, with the figure reaching up to 100. cases of suicide among the licensees. officials from other sources.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in August that he would reinstate all former officials removed from office by emergency decree laws known as KHK if they win the next general election in June 2023, “unless they are involved in terrorism”.

“Official apologies must be made to the victims of the purge, and pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages must be paid for the ordeal they suffered,” HDP MP Muazzez Orhan Işık said in late September.

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