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Rights defender reveals memo barring Turkey’s purge victims from public buildings

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An opposition MP and a leading human rights advocate in Turkey has won his legal battle to obtain a 2016 classified memo in which a district governor instructed local authorities to bar victims of post-coup purges from entering all publicly owned buildings, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

“I’ve been struggling for eight years to obtain this document,” Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said on X, adding that government agencies did everything they could to avoid disclosing it.

“It’s a disgraceful instruction that tramples on the constitution,” he said.

Gergerlioğlu was able to obtain the document after a Kocaeli administrative court ruled in his favor.

Sent to various agencies as well as local municipalities and police departments, the memo included the instructions of then-district governor Ersin Emiroğlu, who said people suspended or removed from the civil service as part of the government’s mass post-coup dismissals should be prevented from entering all publicly owned buildings.

The Turkish government responded to a coup attempt in July 2016 by declaring a two-year-long state of emergency during which a series of executive decree-laws saw the summary dismissal of more than 100,000 public sector workers without due process.

The mass purges involved almost all levels and functions of local and central government including education, healthcare and state-run media.

The civil servants who were dismissed were also subjected to practices that violated their right to presumption of innocence, such as travel bans and blacklists on the country’s social security database that are visible to all potential private sector employers.

They also were deprived of any effective legal remedy, and their treatment has been described by human rights groups as “civil death.”

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