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Dismissed police officer, killed in construction site accident, reinstated to job

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A former police officer who died in a work accident at a construction site in November, where he made his living following his dismissal from law enforcement after a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, has been reinstated to his job, the Kronos news website reported.

Yurdal Gökçe, 41, was one of the more than 130,000 civil servants who were expelled from public service under an emergency rule following the coup attempt on the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Gökçe’s death was announced on Twitter on Nov. 29 by human rights defender and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. “Yurdal Gökçe died today after falling from the roof of a building under construction,” he said. “His case was with the appeals commission for five years, and he was waiting to be reinstated.”

Yet, the news about Gökçe’s reinstatement came on Dec. 29, one month after his death.

The State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission (OHAL Commission), which was established in January 2017 for appeals against measures taken by the Turkish government during the two-year state of emergency declared after the abortive putsch, decided to reinstate Gökçe to his job as a police officer.

An online platform representing post-coup purge victims announced the news of the reinstatement on Twitter with a photo of Gökçe, his grave and the official decision reinstating him.

“How many reinstatements after death have there been? We don’t want the restoration of our rights after we die,” the platform tweeted.

The Turkish government, which holds the faith-based Gülen movement responsible for the coup attempt, launched a massive crackdown on its alleged and real followers following the coup on July 15, 2016.

Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs, they were also prohibited 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.

In a similar development in February 2018, Turkish teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who was tortured to death while in police custody following the coup attempt, was found innocent one-and-a-half years later and “reinstated” to his job.

The official document for Açıkkollu’s reinstatement was delivered by the principal of his former school to Açıkkollu’s wife, who had also been dismissed from her job as a teacher by a government decree.

There have been many other former public servants who have been reinstated to their jobs after they died.

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