Turkey’s Labor Ministry refuses to certify exam of former public servant despite scoring second highest

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A former public servant identified only by the initials A.B., 28, said he was not awarded his certificate by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services despite scoring the second highest in a nationwide certification examination because he was dismissed from his previous job by a government decree, the Stockolm Center for Freedom reported, citing Bold Medya.

A.B. took the certificate exam to work as an occupational health and safety specialist. He found out his exam results online; however, A.B. said the ministry told him his exam results were invalidated because he was a former public servant fired by a government decree.

A.B. said before he took the exam he researched whether he could take it as a former public servant. Neither the ministry nor the General Directorate of Occupational Health and Safety said this was a problem, according to A.B. Indeed, he was told that if he was successful, he could begin working as an occupational health and safety specialist.

“I can no longer live in this country,” he said. “We are experiencing civil death.”

Following an abortive putsch in July 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Over 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors as well as 20,610 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also banned from working again in the public sector and getting a passport. The government also made it difficult for them to work formally in the private sector. Notes were put on the social security database about dismissed public servants to deter potential employers.

“I am trying to reintegrate into society, although I was fired from my position three years ago and underwent an investigation,” he said. “Now with this new development, I feel completely marginalized by the state.”

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent human rights activist and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy, and the Justice for Victims Platform released a joint report in July which said the two-year-long state of emergency declared after the coup in Turkey caused immense suffering among civil servants who were dismissed from their jobs by the government as well as their families.

“The decree-law victims not only were removed from their jobs but also barred from seeking employment in the private sector and denied access to social security benefits,” said Gergerlioğlu.

The dismissed civil servants lost 70 percent of their average monthly income, a circumstance that reduced them to dire financial straits, according to a survey conducted for the joint report.

According to the victims’ family members taking part in the survey, the biggest problem they have been facing is economic hardship (97.9 percent) followed by psychological problems (88.6 percent), loss of social prestige and social exclusion (83.7 percent), disintegration of social circles (83.1 percent), unemployment/lack of employment (80.4 percent) and lack of social security (73.2 percent), respectively.

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