Former public servant rescued from earthquake rubble dies from injuries

A former public servant who lost his infant son and wife in massive earthquakes that hit southeastern Turkey in early February died of his injuries on Sunday.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said on Twitter that former teacher Taner Alparslan had died in intensive care. His two other children, ages five and seven, are still undergoing treatment in a hospital in central Turkey’s Kayseri province.

Alparslan, 35, was a philosophy teacher in Kahramanmaraş province, when he was dismissed by a government decree after a coup on attempt on July 15, 2016. Unable to hold a steady job after his dismissal, Alparslan worked mainly in menial jobs.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government declared a state of emergency (OHAL) following the abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 that remained in effect until July 19, 2018. During the state of emergency the AKP carried out a purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight by issuing a number of government decrees, known as KHKs, firing 130,000 civil servants from their jobs due to their real or alleged connections to “terrorist organizations.”

Turkey’s 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.

According to a joint report by the Justice for Victims Platform and Gergerlioğlu, the two-year-long state of emergency declared after the abortive putsch caused immense suffering among public servants who were dismissed from their jobs by the government as well as their families.

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