I was an assistant professor, after having been dismissed by a decree law (KHK), I couldn’t even be a gas pump attendant
KHKs cause civil deaths, this is inhuman, are you aware of what you are doing, what kind of an arbitrariness you impose?
Today I am going to mention a faculty of member dismissed with a decree law. In his letter he sent to me, he tells us what is happening with KHK arbitrariness and what kind of tragedies are occurring under the KHK oppression. I cannot give his name and his university because he doesn’t want me to.
“I just wanted to pour out my heart to you. I am also a citizen, I know you from media and I am continually reading your pieces. Feeling you near and dear to us, I just wanted to write about wat a 10-month of State of Emergency (OHAL) implementation cost me and my family, what its consequences were and what it taught me as a university instructor. I wanted to complain about what happened in the 10th month since I was dismissed from the civil service (Professor, Department Head).
I don’t use ByLock. I never had a bank account at Bank Asya. I have never frequented at any bank branch. I have never attended at Hizmet schools. My children attended to state schools only. I never made any donations to Hizmet Movement. During the July 15 disaster, I was in my hometown on my annual leave and I heard about it from the news at 21.00. I have never been in contact with the members of FETO and no such contact has been found after the investigation. Two months after I was dismissed from my post, I voluntarily went to the court in order to submit a petition to ask about the reasons behind my dismissal. Afterwards, I was questioned in the court for 1 day and I was released on the evening. The only question addressed to me was why I sent 5TL SMS (in total costing 100TL) to a charity called Kimse Yok Mu at Kandils. I told them that my daughter insisted that we sent SMS at the Kandils more than two years before July 15th and the total amount of help aid might have reached 100 TL for this reason but also added that I didn’t even give 1TL after our President called them terrorists. I also told them that my daughter sent 5TL SMS in order to help LOSEV and Orthopaedic Handicapped Association. As far as I am concerned, I am only accused of this, which is something I didn’t do it personally. It was my daughter who was 10 years old back then. She always kept saying that we were a family of doctors and should never turn any help offer away at Kandils. I suppose she was rather more interested in using the phone and learning how to text rather than helping others. She was 10 years old back then and didn’t own a mobile phone.”
Later on, he outlines what happened after the KHK persecution:
“They confiscated my staff at the retiment.
No hospitals hire me.
Most of the time the answer is “We are afraid of being accused of the same thing by hiring you.”
They deprived me from my retirement.
They do not give me my pension.
They just allow us to live, literally.
I have been paid for 10 months.
I couldn’t retire.
I cannot work anywhere else.
I am head over heels in debt.
For the first time in my life, I couldn’t sacrifice a sheep on Eid because of my financial situation.
I was so embarrassed when my neighbours shared their meat with us because they knew I wasn’t able to sacrifice a sheep myself.
For the first time in my life, I couldn’t visit my parents during the 9-day Eid holiday because I couldn’t afford it.
I wasn’t able to be with him while he was undergoing an operation because I was short of money and it was devastating.
I haven’t been to a restaurant for dinner with my family for the last 10 months.
I couldn’t go to my hometown to visit my dear parents for the last 10 months because I don’t have any money.”
The aggrieved summarizes what KHK has taught them as a life experience:
“I learned that even the best steed sometimes stumbles.
I learned to pray.
I learned that there is no true justice and that the justice might be late.
I learned which supermarkets poor people frequent.
I learned to go to bazaars to get cheap fruit and vegetables.
I learned which shop sells the cheapest stuff.
I learned how to choose cheap food from the supermarkets shelves among the poor people.
I learned wandering around and spending time with those who collect paper from streets and sell it.
I learned that most of the people picking food from the bins are actually quite nice people.
I learned that the number of people picking food from the bins are alarmingly high.
I learned that eating one-course meal is more than enough.
I learned that instead of eating three times in a day, two times, even one time is more than enough.
I learned that meat is quite expensive.
I learned to buy the fruit not in many kilos but in 500 grams.
I learned to buy sweets from patisserie in 500 grams to share it with my family.
I learned that even stale bread can feed you.
I learned that there is cheaper cheese out in the market.
I learned that anyone begging in the street and claiming that they are hungry must be heard of and helped.
I learned that no one deserves to be left hungry.
I learned how to cry.
I cried every time my daughter cried over the extension of state of emergency, fearing that her father wouldn’t be able to find a job again.
I witnessed that my little daughter stopped asking “Can I have this?” at the supermarket because she is aware of my financial situation.
I witnessed my little girl being ashamed when she asked me to get her a bar of chocolate for 1 TL.
I learned how easy to go down to the lowest class of society from being a professor doctor.
I learned that people with no job and money can easily get zakat (alms).
I learned that even 1 TL means a lot.
I learned how bad some people can be.
I learned that petrol is actually very expensive.
I learned that driving a car is not really a must.
I learned that eating out with your family is a luxury when you cannot afford it.
I learned that you can work anywhere when you are jobless and hopeless.
I learned that there are too many people who suffer in my country.
I learned that there are way too many two-faced people around me.
I learned that there are people out there who can betray their own country for their own profits.
I learned that the courts are really NOT the place to seek justice.
I learned that the courts can easily reject the cases.
I learned that Divine Justice is actually very useful.
I learned to wake up during the night and cry and pray without my family knowing it.
I learned that there is a Creator who sees and hears me at any time.
It is hard to believe but I cannot find a job although I am a medical doctor. We cannot use our staff because they blocked it when they dismissed us. As a professor doctor, I went to a private medical centre to seek for a post where I could work at night shifts in order to feed my children. The owner of the medical centre answered me in tears: “I am sorry professor. I cannot let you work here. They might come and inspect here and oppress us. I cannot afford this.” There was a job advertisement at the gas station for a gas pump attendant. I wanted to work there, believing that no one would see me there at night or my patients wouldn’t recognize me in the dark. They were looking for someone under the age of 40. I had presbyopia and was using glasses. They said it wouldn’t be convenient while counting money or using the pump. They said they were looking for someone with good eyesight. What can I say? I have read a lot of books. I am the author of three books. I have hundreds of articles. I have more than 50 articles translated and published in international magazines. Besides, I have lots of articles published in Turkish. My eyesight has deteriorated. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t read that much. It has been 9 months since I last got paid. I cannot retire, I am deprived of my rights, I wasn’t even told what I had been accused of.
They said, according to a decree law, a commission would be established within a month. Months have passed by, they still haven’t established the so-called 7-member commission. Maybe it was established on paper; however, it is still not effective. . We were hopeful that the commission might give us our rights back. We were devastated. Just imagine a family with three children (two of them are university students) and unemployed parents.
Two months ago, one of my ex-patients (60-65 years old) called me. I have been seeing him and his family for years. “Doctor, we know that you are going through difficult times. If you don’t mind, I would like to make an offer. I have a 90-year-old mother who cannot fast during Ramadan. She has been saving money in order to give penance instead of fasting. We would like to give that amount of money to you.” He said. I swear to God, do you know how I replied? “Dear Mesut brother, I really didn’t take any offence. I really don’t have any money for the last 10 months. However, a close relative of mine has lent me some money. We will be short of that within two months. I promise we will accept your offer then. What else can I do?”
Here is a slice of life about how KHKs destroyed people’s lives. KHKs are a civil death. We are shouting out loud “This is inhuman, do you realize what kind of an arbitrariness you impose on us? You are dragging people you are dismissed and prevented from working elsewhere into civilian deaths first and then suicide. How will you respond to this situation where anyone with conscious would stand against? By saying “If you show any pity for the suffering, you will be pitiable one day”?
I want to introduce myself first. I am the third daughter of blue collar father and housewife mother. My father lost my grandfather while doing his military service when he was three years old. Life has always been hard for my father, he struggled most when he was looking for an employment. Because he was a very hardworking person, fortunately he got lucky and found a position in a government office after he got married. My father always advised us to work hard all his life. Because his father was a martyr, he is passionate about his country. He also wished us to grow up as a good citizen who loves his country. We, his three daughters, tried our best not to disappoint him. We all got our degree from university and had a successful business life.
I was working as a faculty member at the university. Before the July 15 coup attempt, to be more precise, since 17-25 December 2013, there was already a huge division in society. To summarize it very briefly, Erdogan (he was the prime minister back then) was charged with corruption on December 1-25 2013. Later on, he polarized his followers by convincing them that others wanted to oust him.
I know very well the institution that I work at, politics is spoken everywhere, people are being asked about their political thoughts even during a simple department board meeting. As you know, the robe, which is the symbol of independence, is worn in only three professions: judges, prosecutors and lawyers who distribute justice; religious officials who try to preach God’s justice and scholars who engaged in science. Of course, freedom and independence are important in every profession, but those who are in these three professions must be even more sensitive. However, unfortunately what we have experienced in the recent period is far from independence, on the contrary there was an extremely heavy oppressing atmosphere.
I was at home with a friend when the July 1 coup attempt happened. My husband was playing computer games with my nephew at home and my daughters were playing games with my girlfriend’s daughters who came to visit me. We got the first news from my friend’s Whatsapp message and we immediately turned on the TC to watch the news. We watched the events with great concern, fear and anger. While we were expecting to have more democracy in our beloved country, listening to the news on TV saying that “supposed” democracy would be brought back by the force of arms made us extremely sad and angry. Even though most of the influential people were cautious with fear and kept silent, my husband immediately tweeted a condemnation message. However, afterwards, this coup was abused in order to increase the intensity of oppression on dissident voices and it is still being abused. So much so that, even people who have a disagreement about an irrelevant subject started accusing each other of being a member of FETO.
I am not someone who is interested in politics. I can’t possibly understand the dirty relationship of politics based on self-interest, therefore I think it is a waste of time for me to preoccupy myself with politics. I personally think that if everyone does their job perfectly, things will go well in the country. As I have stated in the beginning of my letter, the best thing that I had inherited from my father is my awareness of working really hard. I have always been appreciated by my superiors throughout my working life. I can say that I am quite successful in my profession. While scholars with two or three SCI-indexed journals are considered successful, I have 15 publications in the SCI and SSCI-indexed magazines. I am a mother of two little girls. My husband is a very successful academic. He has a large number of international publications, he is the executive of two European Union project executives, he has been in administrative positions and his success has been appreciated by everyone. If you ask anyone about my husband, the first thing they would say is that he was a very hardworking person.
While I was living my life as an ordinary citizen, focusing on my family and academic studies, one night I was dismissed from my duties as a suspect after the coup attempt, which I had nothing to do with. I couldn’t defend myself in any way while I was being dismissed from my position. I was only asked to answer in black and white to the 19-item questions that were given to me. The questions were mostly about whether I was affiliated with FETO, which attempted the military coup; such as, did I have a newspaper subscription for certain newspaper, did I participate in religious meetings, did I provide financial support to them, did my children go to schools that were shut down after the state of emergency, did I have an account with Bank Asya, did I use an application called Bylock. I only answered yes to two questions. First, when we were selling our home, the buyer took a loan from Bank Asya and after a good offer made by bank, we decided to invest our money in that bank in 2012- long before these events. Second, my daughter attended to schools that are closed with decree law. The only reason we chose this school was that it was the only school in our neighbourhood that provided foreign language teaching lessons with native speakers. It was only these two reasons that I was dismissed. Because of a bank and a school which operated for a long time under the permission of the state!!!
Then on an August night, the police came to our house when I was with my parents. In order to detain me!!! They confiscated my husband’s laptop and mobile phone when he was working at home at that time and they told my husband that I should surrender as soon as possible. The next day, my husband came to pick me up from my parents’ house. I said my goodbyes to my parents, I cannot tell you how shocked they were and how they felt. Next day I went to the police station and was kept in custody for two days. I was then transferred to the courthouse. Thankfully, the prosecutor who listened my statement sent me to the courthouse – with the request to be released by judicial control – and I was released by judicial control. When I was over the moon for having been released by judicial control, I heard that my husband who was waiting for me at the courthouse was detained, too.
My husband, whom I worked with in the place for a while, then moved to another university and we had been working in different cities for 3 years. However, my husband was taken into custody on suspicion of using the bylock application because of him social environment after some people in college where I once worked and my husband used to work 3 years ago were slanderous. Later on, as we heard from the other arrested people and the media, the person using the ByLock application was informed about the number of the device to which the application was downloaded, the IP number and even the downloading date. Although my husband refused of downloading such an application, insisted that there must have been a mistake, it was of no use. Our lawyer demanded to be given the technical information about those who had downloaded the application. We were not informed at all.
My husband has been arrested for almost 8 months. We are waiting for the hearing without knowing what he was accused of. We are going through really tough times. We have experienced some losses that cannot be compensated yet we keep on living. First of all, I want to tell you about my biggest loss. According to one of the judicial checks given to me, I was not allowed to leave the city I live in. One day I was alone in the house after sending the kids to school. Someone knocked on the door, there were two officers from the judicial control department at the door. They said they were going to place an electronic ankle monitor. Believe me, this situation was as bad as my detention. I couldn’t hold myself, I started crying so badly. The officers in charge were really sad and embarrassed. They were trying to comfort me. One of them said: “At least you are with your children, there are so many women who are arrested right after giving birth, even one of them was our colleague, she was such a good person, she never hurt anyone. You should be grateful for your situation!” What kind of a torture it was to separate a baby from its mother and to separate a mother from a baby. Imagine! What kind of a torture it was to keep the men in the prisons without a trial and leaving their wives and children behind with no financial support.
If you really are a member of a terrorist organization, you must take every risk and be ready for everything. However, it is a real torture to be unfairly dismissed from your position, to be kept away from your academic studies, from your family and children although you are a simple citizen. My parents came to support me when they placed an electronic ankle monitor. My father, who had a heart condition, was so sad to see me wearing an ankle monitor as if I was a murderer. He was taken to a hospital a week later they came to visit me. I lost my father within two months. This is only one of the human tragedy stories that we have experienced. There are so many sad stories that you wouldn’t believe.
I believe that the journalists should report this shame of humanity and should at least fulfil their duties by trying to prevent the injustice. As for the the other troubles that I have going through, I am trying to live with my two daughters in Istanbul, where the living conditions are difficult. My husband is under arrest and we were both dismissed from our positions, so we have no income. Our families, whose financial situations is not that good, are trying to support us as much as they can. As if losing our positions is not enough, we are prevented from working somewhere else, too. Even if you attempt to find a job, people learn about your past when they ask about your insurance number and you are simply not accepted. There is already an incredible public pressure and we have been declared guilty even without being given a chance to defend ourselves. I really wonder whether those who executed us with extreme prejudice will be ashamed of what they had done when our innocence is proved. They created such a perception where people really believe that those thousands of arrested people, those hundreds of thousands of dismissed academic and civil officers actually took part in the military coup. Most of these people have nothing to do with the coup. If you ever visit the prisons, you will find simple Anatolian people who love their country. A whole mass of oppressed people who haven’t risen against the state despite all the unfairness and oppression.
I don’t know when these injustices will come to an end. By looking at the state of affairs, we cannot be hopeful for anything any time soon.
But above all, we believe the existence of divine justice. We will all see what will happen in the future. However, we are going through such times that will make our mark in history, this is a humanitarian plight and those who witness this but keep silent will be embarrassed in the future.
My brother! The one from whom I have learned how to sit on the desk for 14 hours after graduating the medical faculty. In his first TUS (Medical Spacialization exam) Exam, he was among the first 100 doctors in Turkey and received specialist training in cardiology from Kosulyolu Heart Hospital, one of the best institutions in the field of cardiology. After finishing his compulsory service in his hometown, he chose career over money. He was entitled a place in Dicle University after taking a written exam. He worked really hard at the university. He was awarded associate professorship after applying with more publications and studies than it is required for associate professorship criteria. After receiving his title of associate professpr, he personally called me and rejected the job offer that was conveyed by me and that was offering 5 times more than what he was actually earning, by saying “It is better to serve the country and especially the people in the east of Turkey”.
On the 8th of August, when he heard that the police came to the house in Diyarbakır and they were looking for him, he was in Malatya. He rushed to Diyarbakir immediately and knowing that the police was looking for him, he was caught speeding on his way. The speeding fee was paid by us after he had been imprisoned. Why would anyone hurry to reach the police who is looking for him? Someone who thinks he is innocent, of course.
It has been 9 months since he was arrested on the 11th of August, 3.30pm. My brother hadn’t been admitted to military service due to his aortic aneurysm. His health condition had been repeatedly mentioned to the authorities. However, his objections to detention were all rejected. My brother has three children. Two of them are staying with us and attending their school. His wife is working and taking care of her three-year-old daughter without confronting the authorities despite her daily struggle.
On the 10th month of his detention, my brother will be brought to court for the first time. We are worried about the health of my brother and his family, about their family integrity and about their children’s mental health.
Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery Specialist
Am I an academic or a traitor who attempted to military coup on July 15, 2016?
On January 31, 2017, the Minister of Labor and Social Security, Mr. Mehmet Müezzinoğlu reported that “a total of 125.485 public employees were traded, 18.331 of them returned to the job, 94.867 of them were fired, and 30.618 of them have also suspended until now” after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 ( BIK.gov.tr ). Today the number of fired public employees has reached at more than a hundred thousand (100.000). Considering their intimate families it will be hundreds of thousands and with their relatives and social environment it will be more than a million! Also, these numbers do not include the number of suspected and imprisoned people!
These are not just numbers or statistics, but an indicator of how Erdogan’s government destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands by firing, imprisoning and discriminating and I am just only one of them!
Well, who am I? I earned my doctorate degree on social sciences from a university in the US and did my post-doctoral research at one of the top and prestigious universities in the US. After completion of the Ph.D., I had been working as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor at one of the state universities in Istanbul until I was fired. The Faculty where I was working has awarded me (I have the certificates) almost every year and I have gotten the highest ranking at the Department based on the evaluation criteria of the faculty and Council of Higher Education. Some duties I was doing before I was fired are:
- I had several research studies in social issues in Turkey and the US by myself and with colleagues from different universities such as Harvard University.
- I have written books and several articles as an individual author and co-author with national and international colleagues.
- I gave talks at very prestigious conferences, universities and other institutions.
- Unfortunately, as thousands of others, the Turkish government fired me with the decree law number 672 at September 01, 2016 and my name posted at the official newspaper of Turkish government and mass media and I have been targeted as a terrorist/member of a terrorist organization without any reason, evidence, witness, investigation, court decision, etc.
- Every morning I wake-up and wait for police officers for the custody for months, because many academics were arrested and imprisoned for no reason!
- Even whenever I hear any noise, I panic and feel like police came to arrest me…
- I have not received any compensation, my health insurance was canceled and I have been prohibited to work at any public institution forever. Moreover, since the expression, “he was fired from the public service” was written on my social security information, I am not allowed to work at any private institution in practice and get health insurance neither. Unfortunately, I have a chronic health problem, rheumatoid arthritis, for a decade and could not get an examination and buy my medicines due to the high costs of the medicines. My pains are severe and make arthralgia, therefore; I am having a hard time to use my feet for walking and my hands and arms for daily activities. Briefly, I can do nothing! Furthermore, I could not sleep and eat regularly after I was fired! I had sleeping and eating disorders.
I have not had any legal investigation until now. In contrast, I applied to all official institutions, for example, XXX University (3 times), Council of Higher Education, Ombudsman Administrative Court, Prime Ministry, Council of State and Supreme Court and asked for reinstatement. Only ombudsman and administrative court responded to my application and gave a decision of rejection of venue and the others have not had any response yet.
Last but not least, my green passport was canceled and I am banned for flying overseas. I wrote to Police Department about the cancellation of my green passport, my right to get a maroon passport (public passport) and my situation about flying overseas. Police Department responded to me: “Since your request is ambiguous and hard to understand, we cannot give any response!” Therefore, I, as hundreds of thousands, have to stay in Turkey as a slave with no reason, facing with a massacre and “the civil death” by the government.
In sum, due to lack of freedom, health insurance, job, income, wealth and social pressure as being isolated from the society and being labeled and threatened as a traitor, it is impossible for me to live in Turkey anymore in such conditions. When I was talking about my situation to a relative, a radical Erdoganist, he pityingly said: “Well, your situation in Turkey is worse than Syrian refugees!” I said: “Good morning after supper!” Could you please imagine our devastating situation? People in Turkey have not been aware of what and how we are trying to survive under the state terror, because almost all opposition media were crack downed.
Who can create a relationship between an academic and a failed coup without any reason, evidence, witness, investigation, court decision, etc. other than Erdogan’s government? Please hear us, we are dying!
That is the brief description of my (our) situation in Turkey now. As an academic, I want to live, do my job and work in a place where human rights, democracy and freedom have been satisfied.
I kindly ask your cooperation and assistance and will highly appreciate your efforts and tasks you do about human rights, freedom, and equality in Turkey.
The Stigmatized Academic as a Traitor/Terrorist