Emergency Decree Purges in Post-Referendum Turkey

On 29 April 2017, Erdoğan-AKP government issued two decrees (No. 689 and No. 690) purging almost 4,000publicservantsin different sectors, and closing down forty-five civil society organizations and two press outlets. With this post-referendum move, the total number of state of emergency government decrees issued since the abortive coup on 15 July 2016 reached 24, while the number of people barred or suspended from public duty increased to around148,000.

Among public servants purged with Decree Law No. 689 are 484 academics, including 66 signatories of the January 2016 “Academics for Peace” petition, and 98 administrative staff from 63 higher education institutions.In their well-known cases, the Peace Academics, who had petitioned to protest military operations in Kurdish settlementsand called on the state to resume negotiations for peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue, have been the target of a relentless campaign of smear and government persecution. Hundreds have been purged from their jobs with ungrounded charges of “terrorism.” The repression of Peace Academics took on a new level with the most recent purge of 16 senior academics from Diyarbakir Dicle University. On the day they were purged by Decree Law No. 689, they were detained with house and office raids, reportedly, to be taken for a repeat testimony at the Prosecutor’s Office. The academics were later released.

We have repeatedly stressed that the Erdoğan-AKP government’s blanket purge policy is nothing less than a programmatic attempt at barring anybody raising criticismagainst the government–even minor criticism– from the right to public office and civic participation. That the government has so far provided no institutional mechanism to investigate the legality of blanket purges on a case-by-case basis or taken any steps to remedy gross socio-economic grievances caused by purges proves our point. 

The extension of state of emergency rule for another three-months-term right after the presidential referendum of 16 April 2017 and government decrees that have followed show that the Erdoğan-AKP government does not have the intention to restore the rule of law in the near future.

Once again we would like to invite the international community to urge the Turkish government immediately stop unlawful blanket purges and set up without further delay the Commission on Investigation of State of Emergency Procedures (which the government had promised with Decree Law No 685) to investigate complaints and remedy grievances.

Hişyar Özsoy
Vice Co-chair, Responsible for Foreign Affairs
Member of Parliament
5 May 2017