KESK: Over 50 public officials, who were dismissed by gov’t decrees, commit suicide in Turkey

The Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK) has announced that more than 50 people, who were among the public employees dismissed by Turkish government under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, have committed suicide in Turkey.  

According to report by online news outlet Artı Gerçek on Saturday, there are judges, prosecutors, police officers and civil servants among the people who committed suicide because of their dismissals from their public duties following the coup bid in 2016.

According to “2016-2017 Year-End Assessment Report,” which was released by another union, Eğitim-Sen, 33,128 teachers were purged from their duties by the government decrees under the rule of emergency, while the number of retired teachers has increased to 23,000 in last 1,5 years.

Esra Tur’s report for Artı Gerçek has also showed that the rate of young unemployment among Turkish university graduates reached a record level of 20 percent. Turkish education sector is the first among all sectors with the highest number of young unemployment. According to a research conducted by the Research Centre of the Confederation of Revolutionary Labour Unions (DİSK-AR), 52 teachers has also committed suicides since they could not be assigned to a duty in 2017.

According to the KESK’s report, which based on the data assured by Teacher Strategy Document of the Turkşsh Ministry of National Education, there are 438,138 unemployed teachers in the country. Since there are also 653,899 students studying for teaching these figures are expected to increase the number of unemployed teachers to 1,920,037.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious deaths and suicides have also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention. SCF has compiled 101 cases of suspicious death and suicides in Turkey in a list as of December 28, 2017 in a searchable database format.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister had announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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