PURGED BEYOND RETURNS
SEND A LETTER to COUNCIL OF EUROPE, VENICE COMMISSION & MEMBER OF CABINET
“On the evening of 15 July 2016, elements within Turkey’s armed forces attempted a violent coup. The coup attempt was quickly thwarted as thousands of people took to the streets and state forces overpowered the coup plotters. Hundreds died, and thousands were injured in a night of terrible violence. The government declared a state of emergency soon afterwards on 20 July 2016 with the stated aim of countering threats to national security arising from the coup attempt. While the state of emergency was initially declared for three months, it would be renewed seven times, and its remit broadened to include combatting ‘terrorist’ organizations. The state of emergency finally ended on 18 July 2018, two years after it was first announced, having ushered in a period of tremendous upheaval in Turkish public life.
During the state of emergency, the government had the extraordinary power to issue emergency decrees with the force of law. These decrees were used to enact a wide variety of measures, affecting diverse issues from detention periods and NGO closures to snow tyre requirements. Around 130,000 public sector workers were dismissed by emergency decrees. Those dismissed include teachers, academics, doctors, police officers, media workers employed by the state broadcaster, members of the armed forces, as well as people working at all levels of local and central government. Their dismissals did not include specific evidence or details of their alleged wrongdoing. Instead, the decrees offered a generalized justification that they ‘…had links to, were part of, were connected to, or in communication with…’ proscribed groups.
The arbitrary dismissals have had a devastating impact on those who lost their jobs and their families. They did not only lose the jobs they occupied; in some cases, they were entirely cut off from access to their professions, as well as housing and healthcare benefits, leaving them and their families without livelihood opportunities.
For a long time, these dismissed public sector workers did not have any recourse against their dismissal as they had no access to ordinary administrative or legal channels in Turkey. Following considerable domestic and international pressure, the government passed an emergency decree in January 2017 setting up a ‘State of Emergency Inquiry Commission’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’) to review decisions taken by the emergency decrees, including the appeals of purged public sector workers. Amnesty International research, which involved a review of procedures and a sample of decisions taken by this Commission and interviews with dismissed individuals and their families, reveals that the Commission – by its very design – is not set up to provide an effective remedy to the thousands of public sector workers dismissed from their jobs by emergency decrees. The combination of factors – including the lack of genuine institutional independence, lengthy review procedures, absence of necessary safeguards allowing individuals to effectively rebut allegations about their alleged illegal activity and weak evidence cited in decisions upholding dismissals – resulted in the failure of the Commission to provide a recourse against dismissals, leaving more than a hundred thousand individuals – their livelihoods on hold – without a timely and effective means of justice and reparation. The Commission does not have institutional independence from the government as its members are largely appointed by the government and may be dismissed simply by virtue of an ‘administrative investigation’ on the basis of suspicion of links to proscribed groups. Thus, the provisions for
appointments and dismissals could easily influence the decision-making process; should members fail to make decisions expected of them, the government can just as easily dispense with them.”
Purged Beyond Return Report by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, pp. 4-5, October 2018.
SEND A LETTER AS A DISMISSED PUBLIC WORKER OR DEFENDER
The Commission of Europe invited OHAL commission to Strasbourg in November about their political decisions and the violation of rights of the dismissed 130,000 public workers. We urge the dismissed public workers or their defenders to write letters to the commission, member of the parliament, President of the Council of EU and Secretary of Venice Commission:
In order to comply with the human rights standards that they profess to uphold, Turkish authorities should reinstate all the dismissed public sector workers and, in any cases where individuals are reasonably suspected of wrongdoing or misconduct in their employment, or of a criminal offense, any decision on their dismissal should be made solely in a regular disciplinary process with full procedural safeguards.
3 SAMPLE LETTERS FOR PUBLIC WORKERS
Below are the sample letters created for a dismissed teacher, doctor and public worker. Do not forget to include your own story by changing the related parts.
You can download TEACHERS SAMPLE LETTER here…
You can download DOCTORS SAMPLE LETTER here…
You can download PUBLIC WORKER SAMPLE LETTER here…
CONTACT INFORMATION TO SEND YOUR LETTER.
1) PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL
2) PRESS OFFICE
3) PRESS CENTER
4) SECRETARY OF VENICE COMMISSION
4) RIAA OOMEN
Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy: Bureau of the Assembly
5) BERNARD BRUNET
Bernard Brunet is currently Head of Unit “Thematic Support, Monitoring, and Evaluation” in the
European Commission (DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement
6) JOHANNES NOACK
Member of Cabinet
7) MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE on Political Affairs and Democracy
“PURGED BEYOND RETURN” 28 pages report released by Amnesty International about the
130,000 dismissed public workers in Turkey. You can reach the report from the link;
If you need help to translate your story, AST volunteers in your local community will help you.
If you could not find an AST volunteer for the translation of your letter from Turkish to English to submit, you can send the Turkish letter to firstname.lastname@example.org until November 15. We will try to do our best to translate your letter by our volunteers and empower you to submit your letter to the relevant commissions and officials in Europe