On 6 January 2017, the AKP government issued three new decrees with the power of law, expelling 8,398 more public employees and 649 academicians, and banning 83 more civil society organization. 30 of the expelled academicians are signatories of the Peace Declaration. According to human rights organizations, with the thirteen governmental decrees issued since 23 July 2016, a total of 95,744 public employees have been dismissed and 1,487 civil society organizations have been closed without any court decision. According to government sources, as of 10 January 2017, the number of expelled state employees has reached 135,000.
These recent decrees also include unlawful measures pertaining to the use of social media and de-naturalization. New regulations oblige Internet service providers to share personal information of their subscribers with the police without any court decision, which is in obvious violation of freedom of thought and expression. Given the thousands of cases and arrests on grounds of insult and propaganda in social media, this is a clear step to further persecute and stifle all voices of opposition and criticism in this venue.
The regulation concerning de-naturalization stipulates that if prosecutors learn that citizens with legal cases or under investigation for charges related to crimes against the constitutional order are abroad, they will inform the Ministry. The Ministry will then issue a call through the Official Gazette ordering these citizens to return to Turkey. And if they do not return in 3 months, the government will be free to deprive them of their citizenship.
These purges, purging the state apparatus of “undesirable” employees, the universities of undesirable academicians, the civil society of undesirable organizations, the social media of undesirable voices, and finally the country as a whole of undesirable citizens are steps towards and symptoms of the emerging one-man-rule in Turkey.
Hence, these purges should be considered in relation to the purge of “undesirables” from the Parliament and Kurdish municipalities: 12 HDP deputies, including our 2 co-chairs, 74 co-mayors, and thousands of local administrators and members of the party have been arrested and sent to prison. MP of Sirnak Ms Leyla Birlik was recently released; the number of imprisoned HDP MPs is 11 now.
Despite these extremely dire circumstances, the HDP is determined to maintain its democratic struggle for the peoples of Turkey.
Deputy Co-chair of HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs
Member of Parliament