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Dismissed teacher reinstated 6 months after he died of cancer

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Atilla Yalçıntaş, 59, a primary school teacher who was fired from his job by a government decree without due process, was reinstated six months after his death, sparking outrage among human rights activists, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

According to the AydınHaberleri news website, the Yalçıntaş family received a call on Tuesday from local representatives of the Education Ministry informing them that Atilla Yalçıntaş had been reinstated to his job.

Yalçıntaş was one of more than 130,000 civil servants who were removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

According to his family, Yalçıntaş was a social person loved by his students and colleagues. After he lost his job, he was socially isolated and became introverted. They think this triggered his illness.

Following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions against its political opponents under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. In addition to firing more than 130,000 civil servants as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces, the government also shut down 164 media organizations, 1,058 educational institutions and 1,769 NGOs with emergency decree-laws without any due process.

Atilla Yalçıntaş’s widow Munise said they would go to court about the people who filed the complaints against her husband that led to his dismissal. “Who are these people that … led to my husband’s death?” she asked. “They committed a crime, and they should pay for it.”

Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also banned from working again in the public sector and getting a passport. The government made it difficult for them to work formally in the private sector, too. Notes were put on the social security database about dismissed public servants to deter potential employers.

According to a joint report by the Justice for Victims Platform and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, the two-year-long state of emergency declared after the coup in Turkey caused immense suffering among public servants who were dismissed from their jobs by the government as well as their families.

The dismissed public servants lost 70 percent of their average monthly income, a circumstance that reduced them to dire financial straits, according to a survey conducted for the report.

According to the victims’ family members taking part in the survey, the biggest problem they have been facing is economic hardship (97.9 percent) followed by psychological problems (88.6 percent), loss of social prestige and social exclusion (83.7 percent), disintegration of social circles (83.1 percent), unemployment/lack of employment (80.4 percent) and lack of social security (73.2 percent).

The survey indicates that 99.1 percent of the victims are college or university graduates or holders of master’s or doctoral degrees, which means an immense loss of human resources for Turkey’s public administration.

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