16-year-old daughter of dismissed teachers dies of heart attack

Ece Nur Esen (Photo: Bold Medya)

Ece Nur Esen, a 16-year-old girl whose parents were fired from their jobs by an emergency decree issued after a failed coup in Turkey in 2016, died of a heart attack on the morning of April 13th, Bold Medya reported.

Ece’s death was made public by Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, an MP from the  pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) and a leading human rights defender. Gergerlioğlu claimed that the family’s situation was the main factor affecting Ece’s health.

“The girl was the daughter of parents who were dismissed by an executive decree in Bursa. She had been in a very bad state for the last two-three months after suffering financial and emotional troubles, and especially after her mother was sentenced to 2 years, one month. Following complaints of waking up crying, she experienced distress again yesterday morning and a heart attack! She could not be saved,” Gergerlioğlu said on X.

Ece’s parents, Metin and Ayşe Esen, who worked as teachers in Bursa, were fired by a decree following the attempted coup in July 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

More than 130,000 civil servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

Turkey’s former civil servants were not only fired from their jobs after the attempted coup in 2016; they were also prohibited from working again in the public sector and getting a passport. The government also made it difficult for them to work formally in the private sector. Notes were put on the social security database about dismissed public servants to deter potential employers.

The aftermath of Turkey’s post-coup purge has taken a considerable toll on children. There have been several distressing cases where children, such as Ahmet Burhan Ataç, Mehmet Fatih Dedeoğlu, Selman Çalışkan, Eymen Küçükaydoğan, Ali Ihsan Başer and Furkan Dizdar, were diagnosed with cancer following the arrest of their fathers.

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