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45 percent of Turks say purged civil servants should be reinstated if acquitted: survey

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The results of an opinion survey conducted by an Ankara-based polling company have revealed that 45.5 percent of Turks support the reinstatement of civil servants who were fired in a post-coup purge if they are acquitted of the charges against them by a court of law.

Turkey experienced a failed coup on July 15, 2016 following which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched a massive purge of state institutions and purged more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs on the grounds that they had links to terrorist groups. The civil servants were fired through emergency decrees, known as KHKs, during a two-year-long state of emergency.

Metropoll’s Turkey’s Pulse survey, conducted in September across 26 provinces on 2,119 people, asked respondents what steps should be taken regarding the purge victims. Only 14.1 percent of respondents said all purge victims should be reinstated unconditionally, while 25.6 percent said none of them should be reinstated.

Among Republican People’s Party (CHP) voters, 54.9 percent said they think the purge victims should be reinstated to their jobs if they are acquitted of the charges against them, while the same opinion was held by 42.4 percent of supporters of the ruling AKP, 46.8 percent among İYİ (Good) Party voters and 35.1 percent among supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Support for the unconditional reinstatement of purged civil servants was the highest among HDP voters, standing at 23.5 percent.

Opposition politicians sometimes bring the plight of the purge victims to the public agenda, but not all of them promise to reinstate them unconditionally.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, indicating a change of tone in his party’s attitude regarding the purge victims, vowed in September that his party would reinstate all purge victims if it comes to power in the 2023 elections.

Kılıçdaroğlu and others from his party previously stated that they would only reinstate those who were tried and acquitted of the charges against them.

The AKP’s post-coup crackdown ruined the lives of tens of thousands in Turkey who have been targets of hate speech, hate crimes, unlawful prosecution, torture and abduction, among other serious human rights violations.

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.

Most dismissed civil servants are accused of links to the faith-based Gülen movement, inspired by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, but there were many others who belonged to other opposition groups.

The AKP labels the movement as a terrorist organization and accuses it of masterminding the abortive putsch, although Gülen and his followers strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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