Dismissed civil servant found ineligible for tax break by Turkish authorities

A dismissed civil servant was deemed by Turkey’s Ministry of Treasury and Finance ineligible to benefit from a real estate tax break granted to people who have no income, the T24 news website reported.

The ministry justified its decision on the grounds that he had been dismissed from public service with an emergency decree in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt and therefore had failed in his duty of loyalty to the state

Turkey dismissed some 130,000 public servants under emergency decree-laws (KHK in Turkish) following the coup, accusing them of ties to terrorist groups without providing any effective judicial avenue to challenge the dismissals. Many of them subsequently faced investigation, trial and imprisonment.

The former civil servant applied to his municipality to take advantage of a regulation that grants reduced real estate tax to low income households with a single residence of less than 200 square meters.

The municipality rejected his application after seeking an official opinion from the Ministry of the Treasury and Finance. In its denial the municipality, referring to a letter received from the ministry, stated that “the tax deduction is a public service from which the dismissed person cannot benefit since he failed to fulfill his duty of loyalty to the state,” attaching a copy of the letter from the ministry.

In its letter the Ministry of Treasury and Finance stated that people who were dismissed from government positions on the grounds that they had been affiliated with terrorist organizations or active against the security of the state are not entitled to the tax break.

The former civil servant took this rejection to the ombudsman, who found the decision of the municipality unlawful, saying that even if the applicant was a dismissed civil servant he is entitled to the reduction in property taxes in the absence of a rule in the relevant legislation barring the applicant from the entitlement. Yet, the municipality refused to give heed to the opinion of the ombudsman, citing the opinion of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance once again.

The decisions of the ombudsman are not legally binding.

The applicant this time filed an administrative suit against the decision of the municipality. The municipality defended itself in the administrative court, arguing that the emergency measures were aimed at ensuring public order. The municipality demanded the suspension of the case until the dismissal of the applicant was resolved by the relevant authorities.

Turkey’s state-run Halkbank had previously admitted that it canceled a credit card last year because the owner of the card was dismissed from a state job in the aftermath of the failed coup.

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