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Top court sees rights violation in case of worker purged from municipality in landmark ruling

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In a landmark decision Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the right to a fair trial of a worker fired from his municipal job in southeastern Diyarbakır province by a government decree following a coup attempt in 2016 was violated, the tr724 news website reported.

Under the state of emergency that followed the coup attempt, some 130,000 civil servants workers were arbitrarily dismissed through executive decrees on charges of links to terrorism.

Abdullah Kaymak, who used to work for the Diyarbakır Municipality, was removed from his job through a government decree, known as a KHK in Turkish, along with many others on charges of links to organizations that pose a threat to national security.

Kaymak sought reinstatement to his job by filing cases at one local and one regional court, but his cases were always turned down because his dismissal was based on a government decree. These courts’ rulings were subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

After exhausting all other legal remedies, Kaymak filed an individual petition at Turkey’s Constitutional Court in July 2018, claiming that he was not given a fair trial by the two courts where he challenged his dismissal.

In a decision on Nov. 3, the Constitutional Court unanimously decided that Kaymak’s right to a fair trial was violated by the two courts and asked the courts to review Kaymak’s case. The top court said the government decree does not limit the courts’ rights of supervision as everyone has a right to a fair trial.

Kaymak’s case could set a precedent for thousands of others removed from their jobs through government decrees who complain of various kinds of discrimination and deprivation of the means to make a living due to the “terrorist” label given them.

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