Lives of the purge victims are in shambles three and half years after the end of the state of emergency

Purged civil servants in Turkey and their next of kins are being discriminated against and blacklisted from public programmes and applying for new jobs.


The Arrested Lawyers Initiative and Human Rights Defenders e.V documented at least 30 types discriminatory practices denting the sacked officials’ ability to work in an attack on their livelihoods in their new report titled No Country for Purge Victims.


Besides being sacked from their positions these practices are affecting all aspects of their social and economic lives including areas such as care allowance insurance, disability subsidies, tax concessions and the right to work.


The report reveals that purged civil servants are blacklisted in the databases of the Employment and the Social Security Agencies and consequently in all of the databases of all public and quasi-public entities – how these people were dismissed under an Emergency Decree is also recorded in such databases.


Besides having been blacklisted, circulars and dictums published by various public entities ban the purge victims from either participating in public programmes such as employment courses, benefitting tax concessions or scholarships, acquiring a new profession, or working in the most basic jobs such as school bus driver.


In addition, purged civil servants cannot be foster families or even worse have their adopted child taken away from them, plus purged civil servants are also discriminated against in relation to Covid-19 economic relief and natural disaster aid.


The report finds that these indefinite secondary sanctions constitute a penalty under Article 7 of ECHR.


Turkey’s ad hominem dismissal decrees may be characterized as a penalty, rather than a temporary measure in light of: (i) the scope and severity of consequences of dismissals and its perpetual status (explained in the first blog post); (ii) that dismissals entail deprivations heavier than those for a convicted felon; (iii)  that dismissals do not comply with PACE Resolution 1096 and the Guideline on Lustration; and (iv) ECtHR’s case law on the definition of punishment within the meaning of Art 7 § 1 of the ECHR.


In conclusion, the report reveals how the basic fabric of daily life is being denied to those officials that have been dismissed.


“Even opening a bank account becomes a difficult challenge as laws are tailored to make it inaccessible to them. While military service, whose structure is clearly defined in laws, is imposed on purge victims in different ways, in clear departure from the procedure,” says the report.


The list of bans or practices, as documented by the report, illustrates the depth of agony and sufferings inflicted on sacked workers as private companies increasingly collaborate with authorities or act in fear of political backlash to deny the basic services to people in the post-coup era.



The report adds: “The emergency rule, more than one and a half years after its end, remains to be in place with dire consequences for its targeted population. This reality, often overlooked and ignored by observers, needs to be taken into account when analyzing the state of political and legal affairs in Turkey.”


Professor Helen Duffy (@HelenDuffy_HRP), Prof. of International Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at  Leiden University, Director of Human Rights in Practice:

Where vague and broad-reaching ’emergency’ measures are imposed without a clear legal framework, due process of law and effective remedies before independent courts, and  their effects are extended beyond the state of emergency to become the new normal, it is the death knell for a society governed by law. The implications of the purging of public sector workers, human rights defenders and others in Turkey are profound, for the full range of economic, social, civil and political rights of those directly affected and their families, for democracy and rule of law.

 Professor of law, Kerem Altıparmak (

Although state of emergency decrees are not, as far as the domestic law is concerned, the same as conviction handed out following criminal proceedings, they, as far as their implications are concerned, have even more serious implications than having been convicted and having served the sentence. This shows that having been purged by a state of emergency decree has, in terms of the nature of crime and its condemnability, very similar implications to that of being punished through criminal proceedings. This has nevertheless been carried out without a fair trial and without allowing the people concerned a right to defense. Since the enactment of first state of emergency decree, I have been arguing from the start that ad hominem listing of people in state of emergency laws is punishment in the sense of Article 6 of European Convention of Human Rights and I am in the opinion that no one may be punished as such without having a fair trial first. 

Professor of political science, Ümit Cizre (

Let us voice and support the struggle to remain alive of the victims of emergency decree laws who have truly been condemned to civil death through outright bans, deprivation of rights and discrimination. Those valued brothers and sisters of us have for years been in a heart-wrenching struggle to exist which should shake to the core even the most apolitical person. It is not possible to give them back what they might have already lost. All in all, what needs to be done is quite usual, natural and minimum: as individuals and the society as a whole, to demonstrate sensibility instead of “ignorance”; as politicians/political parties, press on with determined intervention and pressure.


A list of other discriminatory practices can be found below:

  1. Purged civil servants are blacklisted in the databases of the Employment and the Social Security Agencies with the code 36/OHAL/KHK
  2. Purged civil servants cannot be foster families
  1. Purged civil servants cannot be mayors, aldermen or mukhtars (a local elected administrator for villages).
  2. Purged civil servants cannot be lawyers
  3. Purged civil servants cannot be accountants
  4. Purged civil servants cannot work as architects, engineers, laboratory workers, or as technicians in building inspection companies
  5. Purged civil servants cannot attend vocational courses
  6. Purged civil servants cannot work in private educational institutions
  7. Purged civil servants cannot work as sailors
  8. Purged civil servants cannot work as on-site (workplace) doctors, or as occupational safety specialists.
  9. Purged civil servants are denied the licenses needed to run businesses.
  10. Purged civil servants who work as veterinarians cannot have an artificial insemination certificate and cannot perform their professional duties in agricultural support programs.
  11. The database of the General Directorate of the Land Registry (TAKBIS) includes a list of suspicious people which consists of those dismissed under emergency decrees. Those included on this list cannot participate in real estate transactions, either as a party (vendee or vendor) or as a witness.
  12. Upon an instruction by the Ministry of Justice, the Union of Turkish Public Notaries produced a list of suspicious people, which consists of those dismissed under emergency decrees. People included on this list cannot carry out any procedures as notaries, other than giving power of attorney. This means that they cannot carry out hundreds of legal procedures, including selling their cars or signing construction contracts.
  1. The database for the Social Relief Program (SOYBIS) includes a list of those who have been dismissed under emergency decrees. Disabled people whose first caregivers (such as parents, sons, daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law) are dismissed under emergency decrees, cannot benefit from social care funds.
  1. Those dismissed under emergency decrees, and their spouses and children, cannot benefit from the General Health Insurance for people with a low income and from the social rights that are offered to disabled people.
  2. Purged public servants cannot have passports and travel documents.
  3. Purged public servants cannot open bank accounts and are discriminated against in financial transactions and procedures
  4. Purged public servants are discriminated against in regard to insurance services
  5. Purged public servants are discriminated against in relation to business development and incentive credits.
  6. Purged public servants are discriminated against in relation to mandatory military services
  7. Purged academics are discriminated against in academic publishing.
  8. Purged public servants cannot enter the exams for associate professorships.
  9. Purged public servants cannot receive science scholarships.
  10. Purged public servants and their families are discriminated against in relation to university admissions and tuition fees.
  11. Purged public servants cannot be school bus drivers.
  12. Purged public servants are discriminated against in taxation.
  13. Purged physicians (M.D.) are not admitted to programmes leading to specializations in medicine
  14. Purged public servants are discriminated against in relation to COVID19 economic reliefs.
  15. Purged public servants are discriminated against in terms of natural disaster aid.

Press Release: Immediate stop of violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

We are deeply concerned at the escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories and in Israel during the past days. We condemn in the strongest terms all acts of terrorism or violence and extend our condolences to the families of the victims on both sides.

We denounce the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians. These are criminal and unjustifiable acts. All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm.


We also condemn the loss of hundreds of Palestinians, among them many women and children. While recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks, the Israeli military operation must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.


Bearing in mind that that the recent upsurge of violence in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza was triggered due to Israel’s settlement policy, we do stress that all settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law. The Israeli authorities should cease these activities and provide adequate permits for legal construction and development of Palestinian communities.


Furthermore, we appeal for full respect of the Holy Sites. Any changes in the status quo would only have seriously destabilizing effects on the already tense atmosphere.


We underline that any violent action can only fuel extremism on both sides; urging all parties to refrain from any action that would worsen the situation by way of incitement, provocation, excessive use of force or retaliation.


We call on political leaders from all sides to work together through visible actions to de-escalate the situation and stress that non-violent means and respect for human rights and humanitarian law are the only way to achieve a sustainable solution and a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Arbitrary mass arrests in Turkey

HRDfactsheet: 2021/1


Since 2014, the Turkish state apparatus is willingly targeting the Gülen movement and its sympathizers. A notorious tool used by the Turkish security agencies authorities and the judiciary are the daily waves of arbitrary arrests and detentions of citizens allegedly having links to the Gülen Movement.

In total, more than 5,000 mass arrests operations have been carried out since 2014 and the number of jailed persons exceeds 123.000. On average, at least 3 mass-arrests operations with up to 70 detentions are executed on a daily base. 

In our factsheet we are showing some numbers, naming the reasons and drawing some recommendations to stop these arrests in Turkey.

To download our factsheet in English please use the following link. 

To download our factsheet in German please use the following link.

10. Dezember – Internationaler Tag für Menschenrechte

Leider ist uns schmerzhaft bewusst, dass selbst nach 71 Jahren nach der Verabschiedung der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte im Jahr 1948, Menschenrechte alles andere als selbstverständlich sind.

In der Türkei, in Xinjiang-China, Myanmar, Jemen, Syrien, Iran, Russland und in anderen Ländern sind Menschen ihren fundamentalen Rechten beraubt. Offizielle Statistiken zeigen, dass weltweit 71 Millionen Menschen, wegen Kriege, Konflikte, politische Verfolgung und Naturkatastrophen ihre Heimat verlassen mussten.

Der „Mensch“ und seine „Würde“ stehen in allen Justizsystemen im Mittelpunkt. Der Mensch hat Rechte, die nicht übertragbar und teilbar sind. Leider werden diese Rechte und die Würde der Menschen von der türkischen Regierung, welches ohne ethische und juristische Prinzipien regiert, willkürlich mit den Füßen getreten.

Heute und hier möchten wir sie auf die Menschenrechtsverletzungen in der Türkei aufmerksam machen. Die Türkei verstößt gegen alle Artikel die in der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte der UN und der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention des Europarates manifestiert sind.

1- In der Türkei wird das „Recht auf Leben“ verweigert.

Die Türkei ist heute ein Offenes Foltergefängnis. In den letzten drei Jahren sind mehr als 2.340 Folterfälle bekannt, gegen die die türkische Justiz nichts unternimmt. Darüber hinaus sind 84 Menschen auf verdächtige Weise in den Gefängnissen ums Leben gekommen.

Den Menschen, die mit Dekreten des Ausnahmezustands entlassen wurden, werden jegliche Art von Arbeit aufzunehmen verweigert  und stehen einem „Zivilen Tod“ gegenüber.

2- Das Recht auf „Nicht-Gefoltert Zu Werden“ wird nicht gewährleistet.

Menschen, werden in der Türkei willkürlich gefoltert. Es vergeht kein Tag in dem keine Folterberichte bekannt werden. Vor allem Menschen der Gülen-Bewegung und Kurden sind Opfer einer systematischen Folter-Politik.

Seit Juli 2016 wurden mehr als 2340 Folterfälle bekannt. Sowohl in Berichten von Amnesty International und Human Rights Watch, als auch in UN-Berichten werden auf diese Verbrechen gegen die Menschheit aufmerksam gemacht.

3- Das Recht auf „Arbeit“ wird ignoriert.

Mit den “Ausnahmezustand-Dekreten” wurden mehr als 150.000 Beamten und Beamtinnen entlassen. Darunter 33.500 Lehrer, 7.000 Ärzte und Krankenpfleger, 31.500 Sicherheitsbeamte, 6.000 Akademiker und 13.000 Soldaten und Berufssoldaten. Hinzu kommen mehr als 100.000 Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer von der privaten Wirtschaft die aus politischen Gründen entlassen wurden.

4- Das Recht auf „Eigentum“ wird nicht gewährt.

Die Eigentümer und Guthaben hunderter Vereine, Stiftungen und Privaten Schulen wurden ohne jegliches gerichtliches Verfahren von der Regierung konfisziert.

Während des Ausnahmezustandes wurden 1207 Private Unternehmen mit einem Wert von 10 Milliarden US-Dollar an staatlich ernannte Treuhänder übertragen.

Die Grundstücke von den vertriebenen Kurden im Südosten der Türkei wurden rechtswidrig konfisziert und Ihnen wird verweigert in ihre Dörfer zurückzukehren.

5- Es gibt keine Vereinigungsfreiheit

164 Stiftungen und 1595 Vereine wurden verboten.

Zwei der größten Dachverbände und 28 Gewerkschaften wurden verboten.

6- Es gibt keine Meinungsfreiheit, Medien sind Gleichgestellt.

189 Medienhäuser und mehr als 2000.000 Internetseiten sind in der Türkei verboten. Zurzeit sind 319 Journalisten und Redakteure in türkischen Gefängnissen.

Die Türkei ist bei Meinungs– und Pressefreiheit auf Platz 157 von 180.

7- Das Recht auf ein faires Gerichtsverfahren wurde bewusst unterminiert und abgeschafft.

Ein Drittel der Richter und Staatsanwälte (ca. 4.000) wurden direkt nach dem von der Regierung inszeniertem Staatsstreich entlassen. Neue Indizien belegen, dass diese Listen lange vor dem 15. Juli 2016 vorbereitet wurden.

605 Rechtsanwälte sind wegen ihren Beziehungen zu Ihren Mandaten inhaftiert.

Richter und Staatsanwälte, aus Angst und Furcht entlassen und verhaftet zu werden können keine gerechte Entscheidungen treffen.

Entscheidungen des Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte, wie bei der Entscheidung bezüglich Selahattin Demirtas werden nicht umgesetzt.

Entscheidungen des Verfassungsgerichts werden von den Erstinstanz Gerichten als null und nichtig erklärt, wie es in den Entscheidungen von den Journalisten Mehmet Altan und Sahin Alpay zu sehen war.

Willkürliche und lange Untersuchungshafte sind leider keine Ausnahme.

Es gibt keine effektive Innerstaatliche Rechtsbehelfe.

„Rechtsstaatlichkeit“ ist die einzige Hoffnung für die Türkei, in der das Erdogan-Regime leider einen Diskurs mit Hass-Sprache und Diskriminierung weiterführt und auf die gezielte Spaltung der Gesellschaft setzt. Präsident Erdogan und seine Handlanger üben bewusst Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit aus und sind an Genoziden bestimmter ethnischen und religiösen Minderheiten beteiligt.

Das Erdogan-Regime entfernt die Türkei jeden Tag weiter von der Rechtsstaatlichkeit und der Demokratie ab.

Als Mitglieder der “Human Rights Defenders” verurteilen wir heute Präsident Erdogan und seine Handlanger auf das Schärfste und fordern das Erdogan-Regime und die türkische Justiz dazu auf die Rechtsstaatlichkeit wieder einzuführen.

Wir appellieren heute auch an die UN, an das Europarat und dem Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte sich mit den Menschenrechtsverletzungen in der Türkei zu beschäftigen und eine Lösung zu finden.

Wir verfolgen mit Bedenken und bedauern es zutiefst zu sehen, dass manche europäische Staats- und Regierungschefs, Zugeständnisse von ihren demokratischen und rechtsstaatlichen Werten machen, um den sogenannten „Flüchtlings-Deal“ mit der Erdogan-Regierung aufrecht zu erhalten. Wir erhoffen uns von der EU und der Bundesregierung eine effektivere Initiative zu ergreifen, um der Türkei dabei zu helfen so schnell wie möglich und nachhaltig auf den Weg der Rechtsstaatlichkeit zu kommen.

REPORT: Right of Association has been breached by Turkey

Regarding the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review – Turkey (35th Session – 2020), Human Rights Defenders e.V., Victim Laborers Platform and the Victim Educator Platform submitted a report entitled “Right of Association in Turkey- in the aftermath of July 2016”

As the co-authors of the mentioned Report, we explained the legal framework concerning the right of Association in Turkey and its obligations derived from international agreements Turkey is signatory.

During the emergency rule, the Turkish Government enacted thirty-two Emergency Decrees. With these decrees, 125.678 individuals were dismissed from public service, more than 4,000 legal persons, consisting of foundations, associations, foundation-owned universities, trade unions, private health institutions, private education companies, and 174 media outlets, were closed down. Assets of all those legal persons were transferred to the Treasury without cost, compensation. Besides the measures targeted real and legal persons, Emergency Decrees, which were comprised of some 1200 Articles, led to over 1,000 permanent amendments to national laws.

Under Art 2§1(d) of Emergency Decree 667, 19 trade unions were closed and all of their assets were confiscated without compensation on grounds of their (alleged) attachment, affiliation or connection with the pro-Fetullah [Gulenist] Terrorist Organization (FTÖ/PDY). As of the date of closure, the closed unions had a total of 29.589 members. All of these members have lost their jobs, what is worse is they have been subjected to the prosecution under Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code which stipulates the membership to a terrorist organization.

In our joint submission we evaluated how Turkey has fallen short of its obligation under the ICCPR and the ICECSR and urged the government of Turkey to Repeal legislation and decrees implemented under the state of emergency, take immediate steps to ensure that all legislation is compliant with its obligations under international human rights law, Reinstate dismissed public servants, amend its anti-terrorism legislation in order to have a legislation compliant with the ECHR case law, lift the closure of trade unions and other legal persons, ensure that labour law complies with the ILO conventions.

For our the report please follow this link.

European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protects the human rights of people in countries that belong to the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe was founded after the Second World War to protect human rights and the rule of law, and to promote democracy.

The Convention consists of numbered ‘articles’ protecting basic human rights.

The Convention guarantees specific rights and freedoms and prohibits unfair and harmful practices.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Universal Declaration) is an international document that states basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled.

The Universal Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948. Motivated by the experiences of the preceding world wars, the Universal Declaration was the first time that countries agreed on a comprehensive statement of inalienable human rights.