Passport limitations on purged state personnel, particularly academics dismissed from universities, are continuing although the state of emergency that led to those restrictions was lifted in July.
Following a failed coup on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government had dismissed and revoked the passports of tens of thousands of civil servants by means of decrees for alleged terrorism support and coup involvement. As a result thousands of citizens are not only blacklisted and deprived of jobs but also cannot leave the country.
According to interviews conducted by a Deutsche Welle (DW) reporter in Ankara, academics and even deputies are victims of passport limitations that have been in place without any court order. Since the decisions were made by decree, there is no appeals mechanism, purged academic said Tezcan Durna, one of at least 4,500 academics who were dismissed in the wake of the abortive putsch. Durna says that he does not even receive any response to his queries to officials made through his lawyer. “I cannot apply for a passport. It is impossible for me to attend academic events abroad. I cannot take advantage of any fellowships offered overseas,” said Durna, who is working in the publishing sector after being dismissed from his position at the university for signing a declaration calling for peace in January 2016.
Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a purged doctor and human rights defender who is now a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), told DW that decrees dismissed 135,000 people from state positions. Gergerlioğlu said doctors, lawyers, judges and academics in Turkey “cannot travel abroad, cannot obtain licenses to practice their profession” and emphasized the illegality of the passport ban.
Similarly, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu has been fighting against the decrees, saying the passport limitations and bans are completely arbitrary. Decrees have almost replaced laws, according to Tanrıkulu.
By means of decrees, even spouses and relatives of purged civil servants were banned from travelling abroad.