Authorities reinstate former doctor summarily dismissed following nurse’s complaint 6 years ago

A former doctor who was fired from his job in a wide-ranging purge in the aftermath of a July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey has been reinstated to his job six years later, the Kronos news website reported.

Ercan Atay was dismissed following a complaint from a nurse accusing him of prescribing medicine to “members of terrorist organizations.” Atay said on social media that the authorities suspended him without conducting an official investigation or questioning him. “After my suspension, the authorities reviewed all the prescriptions I had signed, and now, six years later, I have been reinstated,” he said.

Atay expressed his frustration with the handling of the allegations by the authorities, stating that instead of being questioned, he was immediately fired based on a nurse’s complaint. He mentioned that although an investigation eventually took place, it took six years for the authorities to review his prescriptions.

Furthermore, Atay shared that the past six years had significantly impacted his mental health and dealt a serious blow to his career.

It is not uncommon for Turkish authorities to reinstate former public servants, years after their dismissal without an official apology. In 2022, a nurse was reinstated five years after she was sacked, but unfortunately, the woman had already died by suicide. In similar examples, former police officer Meral Barut was reinstated three years after her death in 2019, and former teacher Kazım Ünlü was reinstated more than four years after he died of a heart attack in 2017. 

Following the failed coup on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

More than 130,000 public 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.

The government also shut down 164 media organizations, 1,058 educational institutions and 1,769 NGOs.

Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs; 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.

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