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Gov’t seizes retirement bonus of rights activist removed from civil service job

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Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK) has refused to pay a retirement bonus to Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, one of Turkey’s most renowned human rights activists and former president of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder), who was fired from his civil service job of doctor by a government decree in January 2017, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.

After he was removed from his post at a public hospital, Gergerlioğlu requested retirement and petitioned the SGK that his retirement bonus be paid; however, the SGK refused to pay the doctor’s bonus, citing the rightful termination from his job according to Turkish labor law.

“Civil servants being removed from their posts based on a valid reason is an obstacle for the payment of a retirement bonus to them,” the SGK told Gergerlioğlu.

The SGK generally responds positively to those seeking retirement after removal from their posts by government decrees; however, these persons are denied their retirement bonuses, which they have earned as a result of years of service.

Gross human rights violations have been taking place in Turkey since a failed coup attempt in July 2016 as the Turkish government has launched a massive witch-hunt to punish its critics under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Gergerlioğlu has been a vocal critic of the government’s ongoing crackdown on regular citizens. He frequently brings rights violations experienced by the government’s victims to public attention.

In February Gergerlioğlu was handed down a prison sentence of two-and-a-half years on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

More than 150,000 people have lost public sector jobs, while 50,000 others have been jailed on coup charges since the failed coup attempt in 2016.

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