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CRIME

90,000 Public Workers Fired Over ‘Terror Link’ Awaiting Justice

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About 90,000 former public sector workers in Turkey, were fired over their alleged ties to terrorist groups, following the 2016 coup attempt, a prominent watchdog said in a report on Thursday.

The public workers included academics, doctors and teachers who are still waiting for their cases to be reviewed by the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission.

“In January 2017, after mounting political pressure, the government in Turkey set up a ‘State of Emergency Inquiry Commission’ to review dismissal decisions taken by executive decrees.

“Out of approximately 125,000 applications made by dismissed individuals, the commission issued decisions in only 36,000 cases as of Oct. 5, 2018.

“Of these, original decisions have been overturned in less than seven per cent (2,300) of the cases,’’ the Amnesty International said in its report dubbed Purged beyond return? No remedy for Turkey’s dismissed public sector workers,’’

The dismissed individuals have to wait, from four, up to 21 months for their applications to be reviewed by the commission, the watchdog stressed.

“Furthermore, the procedure before the commission lacks important safeguards to ensure that applicants can mount an effective appeal.

“Applicants are not allowed to give oral testimony, to call on any witnesses, or to see any allegations/evidence against them in advance of their application.

“All applications are decided on a paper review, with no provision for actual hearings and the right to respond to allegations,’’ the report read.

The failed coup attempt in Turkey took place on July 15, 2016, and was promptly suppressed by the government forces, but still left 251 people dead and around 2,200 injured.

Ankara has accused an Islamic Cleric, Fethullah Gulen who has been living in the United States since 1999, and his followers of orchestrating the coup, which Gulen has repeatedly refuted.

Around 80,000 people, including officials and military staff, have reportedly been arrested in Turkey over their alleged links to Gulen since the coup attempt.

At the same time, many public sector workers were dismissed by executive decrees.

On July 19, Turkey finally lifted a state of emergency, which was imposed following a failed coup in July 2016.

The long-running measure was widely criticised by the Turkish opposition and a number of Western leaders, who warned of serious threats to the human rights and freedoms in Turkey.

 



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