April 13, 2017
Turkey’s state of emergency has been used as a justification to undertake massive violations of the right to education and the right to work and to plunge many civil servants into poverty, according to United Nations experts*.
“The dismissal of up to 134,000 public servants, without due process, compensation, or access to a proper remedy, for alleged links with organizations that the Government has chosen to proscribe, cannot be justified by reference to Turkey’s longstanding international human rights obligations,” said the experts ahead of this Sunday’s constitutional referendum.
They noted that even under a state of emergency, economic, social and cultural rights can only be limited in ways that respect the basic rights themselves and ‘solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society’. “But there has been no attempt to show that these blanket measures, which have destroyed the careers and livelihoods of tens of thousands of persons, satisfy such criteria in each case,” they said.
The right to education has been targeted in an especially problematic way. A significant proportion of the public servants who were dismissed worked as school teachers or for the Ministry of National Education. Around 1000 schools and 15 universities are estimated to have been closed by emergency decree. Many of the dismissed public servants were trade union members, including more than 10,000 teachers who were members of the Education and Science Workers’ Union.