1.2 million people victimised by Turkey’s emergency rule – rights group

A Turkish rights group said over 1.2 million people were badly affected by losing their economic status, property or with their families falling apart due to the country’s 18-months-long emergency rule.

The Turkish government declared a state of emergency in July 2016 after a group of rogue military officers seized several key locations and bombed the parliament, killing over 240 people in an attempted coup to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rule.

Over 150,000 people were dismissed from jobs by the government, or arrested by the law enforcement, accused of alleged links to the coup plotters. The names of dismissed civil servants published publicly on the Official Gazette.

Over 1,000 civil society organisations and nearly 200 media outlets were shut down during what critics called a large-scale crackdown against country’s political opposition.

The Platform for Rights and Justice, established in 2016 by a group of human rights defenders, conducted a large-scale survey to measure social, economic and psychological damages of the emergency rule in a report.

The group said the total numbers of victims, those who are dismissed or arrested during the emergency rule and their family members, exceed to 1.200.000 people.

The report said the unemployment rate among the purged civil servants are 65 percent and those employed are now in low-paying jobs due to harassment.

50 percent of the victims had to leave their house, neighbourhood or city to escape social labelling, negative media portrayal and discrimination attached to them in the society, it said.

The public harassment significantly increased family breakdowns and divorces among victims’ families, and considerably damaged social networks, the report said.

The Platform for Rights and Justice concluded:

Turkish government utterly ill-treated and violated rights of thousands of innocent individuals as primary, secondary and tertiary victims who have nothing to do with the putsch.

The group suggested the government to abolish the state of emergency and return to rule of law in Turkey.

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