Teacher dismissed from profession by gov’t decree commits suicide

Canan Deniz, a 40-year-old teacher who was dismissed from her job after emergency decrees were issued by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has committed suicide by hanging herself, Turkish news portal Medya Bold reported on Tuesday.

Deniz, a mother of two, hanged herself from the ceiling of her bedroom when she arrived home shortly after visiting her imprisoned husband, Yilmaz Deniz, who also worked as a teacher before his detention last year.

According to the report, Deniz’s suicide was the result of severe depression caused by loneliness and financial difficulties. She was hospitalized on several occasions for persistent pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other psychological problems.

She was reportedly seeking employment but, despite her 15 years teaching experience, she could not find a job because of being dismissed from her public teaching position as part of the state-of-emergency decrees issued by the governing AKP.

Deniz’s husband was detained following a car accident in June 2018. Officers dispatched to the scene of the accident told Yilmaz that he was wanted by the police for being a member of the Gulen movement.

The Gulen movement is a faith-based group deemed a terror organization by the Turkish government who accused members of orchestrating the failed military coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

Soon after his detention, Yilmaz was sentenced to six years and three months in prison due to terror-related charges and was sent to the Denizli Prison. He was allowed to attend his wife’s funeral on Tuesday, in handcuffs and accompanied by police officers.

Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, an MP from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a human rights activist, described the teacher who killed herself as the “latest victim of the genocide,” in a tweet on Tuesday.

“I have said so many times, ‘Don’t push people into so much desperation.’ A purge victim who was a mother and whose husband is in jail committed suicide. I have reminded you [government officials] so many times that this will be the result of what you have done to the purge victims,” Gergerlioglu stressed.

There have been frequent cases of suicide among those who lost their jobs due to government decrees after the failed coup in 2016.

Although the Gulen movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup struggle.

More than 125,000 people were sacked from state jobs through emergency decrees, while some 33,000 actual and alleged members of the movement were put behind bars as part of government-backed operations.

Thousands of victims still suffer the consequences of the State of Emergency

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