‘Victims of decree-laws sentenced to civil death’ opposition deputy says

Justice march of victims of decre-laws (KHK ) from İstanbul to Ankara in September 2020

Peoples’ Democratic Party deputy Mahmut Toğrul pointed to the experiences of people affected by the decree-laws during the two-year state of emergency (OHAL) in Turkey, saying they were “sentenced to civil death,” during his speech in parliament on Wednesday, Bold Medya reported.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

Toğrul explained that the victims of decree-laws were not only dismissed without any judicial and administrative investigation, but were also stigmatized and excluded from society because they were dismissed by decree-laws.

Toğrul recalled that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that they will not show mercy to those who were expelled by the decree-laws. ”The seeds of hatred were sown against these people and it was even said (by Erdoğan) that they should “eat three barks,” Toğrul said.

Toğrul noted that the victims of the decree-laws were prevented from working in the public sector and that it became almost impossible for them to work in the private sector as well. Toğrul said, “They were prevented from continuing their lives, their passports were confiscated, and these people were sentenced to civil death, so to speak.”

Toğrul also pointed to the victims of decree-laws and their family members who died in tragic circumstances after they were dismissed from their jobs.

”Some of these people died while working in uninsured jobs in accidents, some committed suicide, and some of them drowned with their children in the Evros River and the Aegean Sea while trying to flee Turkey. Not only they were punished, but also their partners, families and children. So were there legal ways for them to claim their rights? The legal way was completely closed for them as well,” Toğrul said.

A commission established by the Turkish government to consider complaints from individuals adversely affected by government decrees during the state of emergency (OHAL) in Turkey which has received 127,130 applications, has concluded 124,235 of them, and so far has ruled in favor of only 17,265 petitioners. The Commission is still examining 2,895 applications. The Turkish government will terminate the operations of the Commission in early 2023.

Victims of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown say they and their families experience severe financial and psychological problems due to what they call hate speech employed by the government and its supporters against them, which prevents them from leading normal lives, finding jobs and supporting their families.

According to the victims’ family members taking part in the survey, the biggest problem they have been facing is economic hardship (97.9 percent) followed by psychological distress (88.6 percent), loss of social prestige and social exclusion (83.7 percent), disintegration of social circles (83.1 percent), unemployment/lack of employment (80.4 percent) and lack of social security (73.2 percent).

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