Amnesty slams state of emergency dismissals in Turkey

Amnesty slams state of emergency dismissals in Turkey

ANKARA - Agence France-Presse
Amnesty slams state of emergency dismissals in Turkey

DHA photo

Amnesty International on May 22 accused the Turkish government of implementing “arbitrary dismissals” of public sector workers since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. 

Over 100,000 people from the public sector, including members of the judiciary and armed forces, have been dismissed since the attempted takeover, the rights group stated. 

They have all been dismissed by decree under the state of emergency put into force a few days after the foiled coup. 

The emergency has been renewed three times and is due to expire on July 19. But President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed on May 21 that it would continue “until there was peace,” without giving a time limit.

In a report entitled “No end in sight,” Amnesty criticised the dismissals which it said were “carried out arbitrarily on the basis of vague and generalised grounds of ‘connection to terrorist organisations.’”

The organisation urged the government to put in place a “prompt and effective appeal mechanism for those already dismissed.”

The dismissed public sector officials who Amnesty spoke to described a lack of evidence presented to them after finding their names on a list published in the Official Gazette.

“None ... have been provided with any explanation of the reason for their dismissal beyond the generalised allegation contained in the decrees,” Amnesty wrote.

The organisation conducted 61 interviews including with 33 dismissed individuals and met Turkish authorities, trade union representatives, NGOs and lawyers.

The government said that those dismissed have access to an appeals commission, whose members were confirmed last week, which will hear their cases.

But Amnesty said the commission was not an “effective domestic remedy,” and urged the Turkish government to establish a “genuinely independent, impartial, transparent and effective appeal mechanism.”

“Some of the measures, including the barring of individuals from all forms of public service and the routine cancellation of passports would violate rights even in the cases where dismissal was justified,” the report said.

According to Amnesty, of those dismissed more than 33,000 are teachers and other employees of the education ministry while over 24,000 are police officers and others from the interior ministry.

Over 8,000 are members of the armed forces, more than 5,000 are academics and include those working in the higher education sector as well as over 4,000 judges, prosecutors and justice ministry officials, it added.