It would take until 2030 if we had purged them in the normal bureaucratic process – AKP Deputy

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan interpreted the controversial July 2016 coup attempt as “a gift from God.”

Erdogan implied that the members of the Gulen Movement were easily cleared from the state in this way. Erdogan’s deputy made a similar statement three years later.

AKP Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş mentioned that “It would take until 2030 if we tried to get them out of the civil service by the regular bureaucratic system.”

Kurtulmuş participated in a program in a Youtube broadcast and responded to the criticism about the dismissal of 150 thousand public service employees in mere weeks.

Mentioning aggravated life sentences given last week in the context of the purge against the Gulen Movement and referring to the thousands of convictions in the courts so far, Kurtulmuş stated that “If we had expelled them from the state [institutions] by the standard procedures since July 15, we would not have been able to purge them from the civil service until 2020 or 2030. The State has taken such an urgent extraordinary measure to protect itself. We also have established a mechanism for those who are expelled from the civil service that they can apply for.”

Kurtulmuş responded to the criticism that even the people who have been tried and acquitted achieve no result from the appeal mechanism and could not return to their public duties. According to Kurtulmuş, being acquitted by the judiciary system does not mean to prove that one is not a member of the organization:

“There is no direct relationship between being acquitted and membership in the organization. One may have been acquitted of the alleged crime, but that does not mean he is not a member of the organization. You already put forth membership in the organization with other evidence. Membership in the organization is certain, but he/she didn’t commit a crime.”

According to the laws of the Republic of Turkey, contrary to Numan Kurtulmuş’s statement, membership in a terrorist organization is punishable by at least 6.5 years in prison.

However, thousands of former public employees who were acquitted and proven innocent by the court are still not reinstated. According to these public employees, the state has “blacklists” so acquittal does not make any sense if one’s name is included in these lists.

Fatih Murat Coşkun is just one of them. Coşkun, who was expelled from his post in public service after the failed 2016 coup, was acquitted of all charges in his trial after being arrested for 8 months. Coşkun proved that he was not a member of a terrorist organization through a court ruling but he could never return to his post.

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