Turkey’s judicial reform will allow those sacked by decrees to apply for passports

Turkey’s new judicial reform, expected to be unveiled early October, will allow more than 150,000 public servants sacked from their jobs via government decree to apply for passports under certain conditions, Artı Gerçek news site reported on Friday. 

The public servants were sacked by decree during a period of emergency rule in the aftermath of a coup attempt in 2016.

Following the failed putsch, passports of many of those dismissed from the public sector were also revoked through government decrees. The governments said the fired civil servants had links to groups and organisations that pose a threat to Turkey’s national security.

The de facto travel ban will be solved by a change in the Passport Law, Artı Gerçek said. 

While those who have not been under any administrative and legal investigation will be allowed to apply for their passports, those who underwent investigations after the coup attempt will have the same right if they are cleared of the charges against them. Those who were charged and completed their terms in prisons and those who received suspended sentences will also be able to reinstate their passports. 

But passports will not be granted automatically, Artı Gerçek said. The applications will only be approved by the Ministry of Interior after a security inquiry.

Muharrem Sarıkaya, a columnist of Habertürk, said on Friday that the ministry was also mulling over a new regulation that will allow those who were sacked by government decrees and are cleared of charges against them to return to their jobs. 

“Though this is still not clear, they might start working in jobs determined by public institutions if they are not under any legal investigation,” the columnist said.