Turkish authorities seize bank account of Yüksel Street protester Nazan Bozkurt
Turkish authorities seized the bank account of Nazan Bozkurt, a former civil servant summarily dismissed from her post by an executive decree in 2017, after an administrative fine of 281,000 TL ($ 32,000) was imposed on her for participating in the a demonstration, Turkish media reported.
According to notifications issued by the tax office, Bozkurt was fined for violating the misdemeanor law. Speaking to the Bianet news site, Bozkurt said the seizure of his bank account was a surprise because his fines had been overturned by the administrative courts.
“I have had 700 different fines overturned by various courts, however, the tax office has always seized my bank account,” she said.
Bozkurt said she would oppose the seizure with court documents proving the fines were overturned.
Bozkurt was one of many former officials protesting the dismissals without notice on Yüksel Street in Ankara. The protesters demanded their reinstatement in their jobs and were arrested on August 13, 2020. Bozkurt, along with Acun Karadağ, Alev Şahin, Mehmet Dersulu, Mahmut Konuk and Armağan Özbaş, were arrested 10 days later.
Although Bozkurt was subsequently released and acquitted, she still has not been reinstated in her job. Speaking to Euronews Turkish service, Bozkurt noted she had “been subjected to a great deal of ill-treatment” during and after the protests.
Bozkurt and other victims of the purge have been protesting against human rights violations in Turkey and the purge of officials since November 2016. They mainly gathered on Yüksel Street in Ankara, in front of a human rights monument. The protests first started with two dismissed academics, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, demanding their jobs return. The two academics then went on a hunger strike and were arrested on the 76th day of their protest. After months of imprisonment, Gülmen and Özakça were finally released.
The monument became a symbol of resistance and demand for justice after other purge victims and activists joined them. Turkish police notoriously used excessive force against protesters on Yüksel Street.
A total of 622,646 people were investigated and 301,932 were arrested in connection with a purge following the attempted coup of July 15, 2016. The government also sacked more than 130,000 officials.
Former civil servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also prohibited from re-working in the public sector and from obtaining a passport. The government has also made it difficult for them to formally work in the private sector. Notes have been added to the Social Security database on dismissed officials to deter potential employers.