Pro-Kurdish party calls for state apology, payment of damages to post-coup purge victims

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said the Turkish state should offer an official apology to the victims of a post-coup purge that affected more than 130,000 public servants who were fired from their jobs as well as their families in addition to paying damages to them for what they experienced, Turkish Minute reported.

Following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions, summarily dismissing by means of emergency decree-laws, known as KHKs, more than 150,000 public servants including academics, teachers, military personnel, diplomats and police officers, for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations.”

HDP lawmaker Muazzez Orhan Işık suggested that a commission should be established in the Turkish Parliament to investigate the losses suffered by the purge victims and to ensure the trial of those responsible for the purges.

“An official apology should be made to the purge victims, and pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages should be paid for the ordeal they were subjected to,” she said.

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 emp

Işık also called for the closure of the State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission (OHAL Commission), set up by the Turkish government to look into complaints from individuals who were adversely affected by government decrees during the state of emergency, saying the commission is merely another way of punishing purge victims because it blocks them from seeking justice in the courts.

The purge victims are required to first apply to the OHAL Commission before taking their cases to lower courts or the Constitutional Court. The OHAL Commission mostly rules against the purge victims in lengthy procedures.

“Delays in access to courts and justice lead to rights violations in people’s lives which can never be compensated for,” said Işık, adding that the KHKs were unlawfully issued in Turkey and are one of the basic signs of the system of injustice in the country.

Although most opposition parties kept silent at first about the problems faced by the purge victims, a growing number opposition politicians have been raising their voices and standing up for the rights of the purge victims.

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