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Turkish colonel purged from military dies of heart attack at age 45

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Ömer Guni, a former colonel who was dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) by a government decree during a two-year-long state of emergency, has died of a heart attack, the TR724 news website reported on Monday.

Guni was arrested in 2017 on coup-related charges despite being on leave for reasons of health during a failed coup in 2016 and in possession of medical reports indicating that his heart was operating at 20 percent of normal performance.

After eight months behind bars he was released due to his deteriorating health.

“They will not let us breathe,” he reportedly told close friends a few days prior to his demise. “I am unable to explain anything to my kids.”

His wife, who was a social services expert, was also expelled from public service by a government decree, which left the family in increasingly difficult financial circumstances.

More than 130,000 people have been removed from state jobs since the failed coup through government decrees, which are known as KHKs.

In addition to losing their jobs, purge victims have been denied passports, and according to several reports have been struggling to find jobs as they were stigmatized by a broader smear campaign.

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