Human Rights Association speaks out against arrest of Yüksel Street protestors

The Ankara branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in a statement published Tuesday on Twitter condemned the arrest of six former civil servants who on Ankara’s Yüksel Street had been protesting their dismissals from government jobs by emergency decree-laws.

Gülnaz Bozkurt, Nazan Bozkurt, Acun Karadağ, Alev Şahin, Mehmet Dersulu, Mahmut Konuk and Armağan Özbaş, all dismissed civil servants, had been protesting their dismissals on Yüksel Street, demanding that they be returned to their jobs and that human rights violations be ended in Turkey until August 13, when they were taken into custody after the police raided their homes. The protestors were formally arrested 10 days after their detention with the exception of Bozkurt, who was released.

Following a failed coup on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government announced a state of emergency and conducted a massive purge dismissing more than 140,000 civil servants from state jobs and investigating almost 600,000 people, detaining or arresting half of them on trumped-up terrorism-related charges.

“The state of emergency declared after the coup attempt on July 15 has become a permanent regime in Turkey,” the statement said, adding: “Not a day has gone by that they haven’t been beaten by the police in front of the Human Rights Monument on Yüksel Street. They have been detained several times for misdemeanors and fined. They bore the brunt of the emergency decree-laws. Not only did they lose their jobs, they are constantly punished for demanding them back.”

Pointing to the human rights toll of the state of emergency, the statement said: “Since July 15, 2016, 140,000 public servants have been deprived of their jobs by emergency decree-laws. The dismissed officials, however, were not only robbed of their jobs but their most basic civil rights as well. They were socially excluded, marginalized and subjected to insults. More than 500,000 people have faced criminal investigations, more than 50,000 have been arrested, 17,000 of whom were women. Based on last year’s numbers 843 babies are in prison with their mothers. Dozens of sick people died in prison because they were not allowed timely treatment. Forty-six public servants who were dismissed with executive decrees could not withstand the injustice and committed suicide. The government has revoked the passports of dismissed personnel, and their freedom to travel has been substantially restricted. These people are having incredible difficulties in finding new jobs.”

“Labelling people who demand their rights as ‘terrorists’ does not exonerate rulers who recklessly violate human rights,” the statement said.

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