Survey: 17 pct of people, detained or jailed in Turkey after coup attempt, think to commit suicide

A survey conducted by The Rights and Justice Platform’s the State of Emergency (OHAL) Research and Reporting Committee has showed that 16,7 percent of those who have been detained and kept in prisons during the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, have thought to commit suicide, made a suicide plan, or attempted to commit suicide.

The report titled “Rights Violations under OHAL in the Aftermath of 15 July 2016 and and It’s Social Dimensions” was presented on Wednesday to the public by human rights defenders Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Nurten Ertuğrul from the Rights and Justice Platform and Cihangir İslam and Bayram Erzurumluoğlu, who are academicians dismissed by the government decree.

The report was prepared between September 24 and December 1, with the participation of 2,173 people including 630 women. The report stated that the rule of emergency has created serious alienation between individuals and the state, society and state, and lifted the separation of power mechanism among legislative, executive and judicial bodies.

According to the results of the report, 16,7 percent of those who have been detained and kept in prisons have thought to commit suicide, made a suicide plan or attempted to commit suicide. The reports has also showed that the prosecutors have not prepared an indictment for 46,2 percent of the participants who were under legal investigations and they have never appeared before a court.

It was found by the survey that 48,7 percent of people who were dismissed by a government decree under the rule of emergency are still unemployed. While 35,7 percent of the dismissed people still using their savings to make a living, 25,6 percent of them started to stay with their families, 18,9 percent of them are working in casual jobs, while only 8,7 percent of them are working in an insured job.

According to the report, 23,5 percent of the people, who were taken into custody in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, said that they were ill-treated and tortured under detention. They listed the the most common abuse and torture methods as psychological pressure, preventing communication with family members, verbal violence and toilet-bathroom restrictions.

According to the results of the survey, 27,3 percent of those surveyed said that they were jailed for a while because they had been charged with depositing money in Bank Asya and using mobile phone messaging application ByLock; 29,2 percent of them said that they do still not know what they have been charged; and 26,4 percent of the respondents said they were detained because of union membership.

By underlining that 91,3 percent of the participants said that they used to work in the public sector before the coup attempt, the report showed 75 percent of the participants, who said they used to work in the private sector, stated that they have become jobless after their companies were closed down by the government decrees, while 15 percent of them said they were fired from their jobs and 6,9 percent of them stated that they have been obliged to resign from their jobs.

According to the report, 92,1 percent of the victims’ relatives said the most important problem for them is economic difficulties. It was followed by psychological problems with 86,5 percent and social exclusion with 86,6 percent. One of the participant was quoted by researchers to exemplify the degree of the social exclusion: “Now, I have ‘social plague.’ Despite the people around me know me well they try to put a distance with me because they are afraid that the government will harm them.”

According to the report, 81,3 percent of the people, who were investigated during the OHAL period, think that the legal investigations are unfair. And 55,6 percent of these people say they can not use their right to defense and evidence during these investigations and trial processes.

Survey shows that 96,6 percent of the participants, who were dismissed by a government decree, think that they have been discriminated in public institutions, 96,9 percent of them think that they have been discriminated in the prejudiced society, 98 percent of the participants think that the rule of emergency have not increases the safety of the citizens.

A large part of the report consists of the participants’ narratives. Some of the statements in the survey are as follows:

* I do not have faith in justice, law, rights in my country. I have also lost my faith that they can be corrected.

* I lost my appetite for life since everyone is seeing me as a criminal and saying that “If you were dismissed you had to do something wrong.”

* I lost my trust in the state and people. There have been radical changes in my believes.

* My thoughts about the concepts of the state, the nation and religiosity have changed radically.

* I lost faith in religious people.

* I no longer believe in one who says I am a Muslim.

* It’s a bad feeling to be fired even from the mosques.

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 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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