After quakes, KHK victim and family not allowed to settle in state dormitory

Officials of a state-run dormitory have refused to admit a quake-hit citizen and his family on the grounds that he was previously expelled from his government post via a statutory decree (KHK). The Turkish government has opened up the KYK dormitories for the quake-hit victims whose houses are badly damaged.

Serkan Alan / Gazete Duvar

A quake-hit citizen and his family have not been allowed to settle in a state dormitory on the grounds that he was previously dismissed by a statutory decree (KHK) during a two-year state of emergency.

M.Ç., expelled from his position as a teacher by a KHK, was residing in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş with his wife and two children. After the province was hit by the major quakes of Feb. 6, the family left their damaged house for another province where they wanted to settle into a dormitory run by the Credit and Dormitory Institution (KYK).

The Turkish government has opened up the KYK dormitories for the quake-hit victims whose houses are badly damaged.

M.Ç. and his family were initially directed to the dormitories in the Central Anatolian provinces of Niğde, Sivas and Konya. The family chose to go to Niğde to settle into Sultan İkinci Kılıçarslan KYK dormitory. After going there, the family was exposed to a criminal record check (GBT) by the police. After a long wait, M.Ç. and his family were not allowed in the dormitory.

“People who came to the dormitory after us had started to settle in. I went to the police and asked them if there was a problem. They said there was a GBT control. When I asked if there was a problem, they said, ‘We don’t know.’ I told them, ‘I am a teacher dismissed by a KHK. The trial process is continuing. It has not been yet finalized. As per the presumption of innocence, it is an ongoing case. The police said, ‘I don’t know,’ but one of the (dormitory) officials there said, ‘You can’t stay here,’” M.Ç. said. 

“When I asked why we can’t stay there, they said: ‘Don’t make us say it. This is something that is above us.’ I wanted to talk to another official, but they did not accept it. They said that they would get into trouble. Upon this, I said, ‘We have come from a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. If we can’t still form unity, if we are still exposed to discrimination, what should I say? I hope that you don’t go through what we did,’” the quake-hit victim said. 

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu filed a parliamentary motion with regards to the issue, asking Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu why M.Ç. and his family were not allowed in the KYK dormitory although they were sent there by the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

“It is impossible to grasp what kind of an unjust situation this is. You have done all the oppression against those dismissed by KHK for the last six years and you are still doing cruelty even during the quake disaster,” Gergerlioğlu said.

The HDP MP also inquired if an investigation would be launched against the state officials responsible for this discrimination against M.Ç. and his family. “How is the case that your rulership is making no discrimination against M.Ç. when it comes to getting taxes but making discrimination when he becomes a quake victim?” Gergerlioğlu asked. “Does this incident mean that quake-hit citizens will not get aid from the state if they have been dismissed by KHKs?”

(English version by Didem Atakan)