A pro-Kurdish lawmaker has revealed that the Dutch ambassador to Turkey shed tears after hearing stories of the country’s purge victims who have been dismissed or suspended from the public sector as part of a post-coup crackdown, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Sunday.
Turkey’s ruling AK Party (AKP) government has dismissed or suspended some 150,000 people from their public sector jobs through the decrees it issued during the two-year state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, an MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a human rights activist, on Sunday spoke in a panel titled KHK is civilian death, organized by Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) and the KHK Platform.
KHK is an acronym for the state of emergency decrees issued by the governing AKP to purge thousands of academics, politicians, teachers, doctors, officials, businessmen, artists and journalists in Turkey due to their alleged connection with the coup.
According to a report by Murat Gures from Gazete Duvar, the Dutch ambassador to Turkey Marjanne de Kwaasteniet was moved to tears after Gergerlioglu told her about the “unjust treatment” Turkey’s purge victims face.
“The Dutch envoy, who gave us a 30-minute appointment to talk about the injustice and cruelty the purge victims [in Turkey] have suffered, listened to us for two hours and burst into tears over what she has heard,” the HDP MP said in the panel.
Gergerlioglu on Sunday underlined that crackdown against the perceived and real members of the faith-based Gulen movement continues in the form of a witch-hunt.
Ankara accuses the movement of masterminding 2016’s failed putsch bid.
Led by the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, the movement is designated by the Turkish state as a terrorist organization. The ruling AKP’s targeting of the 78-year-old preacher and his followers continues despite their denial of any links to the coup.
The pro-Kurdish MP elaborated that 95 percent of the purge victims have financial difficulties with 85 percent of them experiencing psychological problems and 84 percent facing social exclusion.
“This government [AKP] thinks nothing good about the purged. They experience severe human rights violations. … I talk about them everywhere I go. Everybody has to know what’s happening to them. The public doesn’t know much about this issue. We have to tell them about it,” he urged.
Suzan Uzpak, one of the teachers purged after the attempted coup said during the event on Sunday that currently there are 17,000 women in Turkey’s prisons who have been arrested due to suspected links to the putsch bid.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial in the three-year purge that was launched in wake of 2016’s coup attempt over their alleged involvement in it.
“A mass arrest of this many women has not been seen before in the history of humanity. The only occasion where AKP treats men and women in Turkey as equals is when it purges them cruelly,” she added.
Uzpak indicated that 55 percent of the women purged in Turkey are under 40 years of age with most of them being university graduates.
“The AKP imprisoned these women [with bachelor’s degrees] in houses by way of the emergency decrees. Most of them are working as cleaning ladies and baby sitters,” she explained.
“During the three and half years of the purge, four percent of the women had a miscarriage, 30 people, including 18 babies, have lost their lives in the Evros river [while attempting to cross it to enter Greece] and hundreds of children are still behind bars with their mothers,” Uzpak further noted.
According to a report by the Justice for Victims Society released in January, 99.64 percent of those dismissed through government decrees are individuals who had not any criminal investigations opened against them before the attempted coup.
The report also revealed based on purge victims’ testimonies on their experience of arrest and detention that they had been subjected to “systematic torture” in custody and in prisons.