Turkish authorities have imposed a TL 80,000 ($ 5.583) administrative fine and confiscated a house belonging to Acun Karadağ, a former public servant summarily fired from her job by an executive decree after a 2016 coup attempt, for participating in a protest.
Karadağ said on Twitter that authorities had previously seized her bank account, to which she still did not have access. “Authorities who impose these fines and confiscate our assets are pure evil,” she said. “We will pay our fines and continue demanding justice.”
Karadağ was one of a number of former public servants protesting their abrupt firing on Ankara’s Yüksel Street. The protestors demanded reinstatement to their jobs and were detained on August 13, 2020. Karadag, along with Nazan Bozkurt, Alev Şahin, Mehmet Dersulu, Mahmut Konuk and Armağan Özbaş, was arrested 10 days later.
Karadağ was sent to prison during the COVID-19 pandemic despite suffering from chronic heart disease. She was twice subjected to an unlawful strip-search and was released in January 2021.
Karadağ and other purge victims had been protesting human rights violations in Turkey and the purge of public servants since November 2016. They mainly gathered on Ankara’s Yüksel Street, in front of a human rights monument. The protests first started with two dismissed academics, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, demanding their jobs back. Both academics later went on a hunger strike and were arrested on the 76th day of their protest. After months of imprisonment, Gülmen and Özakça were finally released.
The monument became a symbol of resistance and demand for justice after other purge victims and activists joined them. Turkish police have notoriously used excessive force against the protestors on Yüksel Street.
A total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained as part of a purge after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The government also removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs.
Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also banned 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.