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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.