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Top court finds rights violation in dismissal of teacher over political party membership

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the dismissal of a teacher due to his membership in a political party violated his right to freedom of association, local media reported on Friday.

According to the reports, Ali Kuş, a high school teacher in the Polatlı district of Ankara, was dismissed from public service in 2000 as a result of an investigation into against him.

In 2001 Kuş became a member of the then-Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), which was renamed the Left Party (SOL Parti) in late 2019. Kuş was the party’s candidate for deputy from Ankara in 2002 and became its chairman for the Polatlı district in 2004.

The decision to dismiss him from public service was overturned by a court in 2008, and he was reinstated as a teacher only to be fired again in 2009 due to an investigation into him for membership in a political party.

Although Kuş filed a lawsuit for the revocation of his dismissal, the Ankara 2nd Administrative Court found the dismissal “appropriate,” and its decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Kuş then submitted an application to the Constitutional Court, which recently decided in his favor.

Noting that the applicant wasn’t a civil servant when he became a political party member and that he only became a civil servant while his membership in the party continued, the top court said he was dismissed without being offered a chance to decide whether to end his political party membership.

The dismissal of Kuş from civil service without being given a reasonable time to resign from his political party membership violated his right to freedom of association, which is guaranteed in Article 33 of the Constitution, the court said.

The court unanimously decided for a retrial at the Ankara 2nd Administrative Court and ordered the Turkish government to pay the applicant TL 13,500 ($911) in non-pecuniary damages.

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