Father of Turkish soldier killed in Afrin turns out to be KHK victim

The father of Turkish soldier Abdullah Taha Koç, who was killed during an ongoing military operation in the Afrin region of Syria, has turned out to have been removed from his post at the Konya Metropolitan Municipality by a government decree, known as a KHK, the Sözcü daily reported.

Koç’s father Ahmet, who made the pages of Turkish newspapers as he was carrying the coffin of his slain son, was removed from his job at the municipality in 2016.

Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that claimed the lives of 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

The government, which declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the coup attempt, removed 150,000 public servants from their posts through KHKs while 50,000 others have been jailed under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Sözcü reported that neighbors had distanced themselves from the Koç family after the father was removed from his job.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Hüsnü Bozkurt, who spoke about the situation of Koç, said: “This father was one of the hundreds of thousands of [KHK] victims, and his victimization has come to light only after his son fell [in battle]. If Taha had not been killed, nobody would know that he is a KHK victim. Does one have to be killed for the homeland for their victimization to be known?”

Eight Turkish soldiers including Abdullah Taha Koç were killed and 13 were wounded in clashes with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in Afrin on March 1.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Forty-one Turkish soldiers have been killed and 196 injured since the beginning of the operation so far. (turkishminute.com)

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