Turkey’s state-of-emergency victims hold Great Gathering to seek solutions

Victims of Turkey’s two-year state of emergency are set to hold a meeting called The Great Gathering in the capital Ankara this coming weekend to talk about their experiences and ways to solve their problems, the Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Tuesday.

The sessions of the two-day event on October 5-6 will be attended mainly by public officers who were dismissed from their professions through the state-of-emergency decrees issued by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Among those who are also expected to take part in the event are the Saturday Mothers, parents of military school students who have been arrested due to their alleged participation in the 2016 failed coup attempt. Some of the students have been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Saturday Mothers is a group of people who in 1995 began to protest the disappearance of their loved ones who went missing while in police custody in the 1980s and 1990s.

According to a report by Serkan Alan from Gazete Duvar, among the topics of the sessions are Reflections of the Social, Psychological and Economic Problems Caused by State-of-emergency Decrees and Discussing Problems of Victims of the State-of-emergency within the Context of Law.

The speeches and discussions that are planned to be carried out as part of the two-day gathering will be reportedly put down on paper and published as a book.

Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, an MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and one of the organizers of the event, told Gazete Duvar that the meeting will bring together people from different sections of the society.

“People who were dismissed from their public sector jobs over emergency laws have been suffering for three years. There has not been any official or institution to give an ear to their problems. Their suffering is not bearable anymore,” Gergerlioglu said.

When asked about how the government officials will be affected from the gathering, the MP said: “It will be an event that will make them take a step back from the injustices they caused. Our meeting will bring about significant political and social pressure [on the AKP government].”

The lawmaker argued that government institutions cannot do justice to people from different sections of society due to being “highly-politicized.”

“Turkey’s Constitutional Court should have canceled the state-of-emergency decrees three years ago,” Gergerlioglu noted.

He called on all politicians to attend the event.

“Our door is open to all people from different political views. We just want this tyranny to be over. This gathering will be our reaction to all of the injustices [people in Turkey face].”

More than 125,000 people have been purged as part of the decrees issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP government during the state of emergency that followed Turkey’s failed putsch bid in July 2016.

Among those who were purged over their alleged connection to the failed coup attempt are public officers, journalists, politicians, businessmen, and artists.

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