Turkish bank's refusal to provide service for sacked civil servants sparks criticism

Turkey's Garanti Bank's denial to open a bank account for a public servant who was dismissed from his job by government decree, has caused fury on Turkish social media. Ömer Özdemir, one of more than 125,000 public employees dismissed by statutory decree (KHK) during a two-year state of emergency after the July 2016 coup attempt, was denied service by Garanti Bank.

Following steadfast efforts by his boss, the bank opened an account for his salary payments, but denied him all other services including online banking, transferring and receiving money, according to a document shared by pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.

"Do you have a 'plague-stricken customer' category? Can the Spanish BBVA implement such 'profiling' in its country?" economy writer Uğur Gürses said, referring to a multinational financial services company present in Turkey.

Meanwhile, former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Haluk Özdalga said he would no longer bank with Garanti Bank.

Following the uproar on social media, the bank called Özdemir, telling him that all limitation to services were rescinded, according to Gergerlioğlu.

Most of Turkey’s sacked public employees are accused by the government of links to the now-banned Gülen movement, a secretive Islamist group once allied to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party, but many belonged to other opposition groups.

The president accuses the Gülenists of infiltrating the civil service, judiciary, military, police and media in an attempt to create a parallel state and grab power from within, then mounting a coup when the government sought to crack down on the group.

Many of those dismissed from their jobs have not faced any charges, but the decree against them remains on their official records, leaving them ostracised and often unable to find work or receive public benefits.