The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) has defended its dismissal of close to 50 employees, saying that regulations “forced” them to do so. “We do not have the chance of putting ourselves in places of judges. We cannot produce politics. The regulations that we have to abide by forced us,” İBB human resources department advisor Yiğit Oğuz Duman told journalist İsmail Saymaz from Halk TV.
Following the Interior Ministry's investigation against dozens of İBB personnel on accusations of being “linked to terrorist organizations,” the İBB dismissed close to 50 personnel who were previously expelled from their government posts via statutory decrees (KHK). Among these personnel were also members of the Academics for Peace -- a group dismissed from their university jobs after signing the petition called “We will not be a party to this crime” in 2016.
Since their dismissal from the İBB, the personnel have launched a protest in front of the municipality building, saying that their employment contracts were terminated unlawfully. The dismissed academics have been pointing out that main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had vowed to reinstate them to their posts should his party come to power. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the CHP, has so far refrained from making a comment with regards to the issue.
The dismissed employees have said that the regulations have not changed since they were hired for the positions and that the municipality had taken this decision due to the rulership's oppression.
İBB official Duman said that although the CHP “politically” regards the dismissal decision as being “unlawful,” a public institution like the İBB “cannot make a preference between political discourse and legal writing.” “The job of politics is to make legal regulation, or to have it done, or to gain the power to do it. It is certainly a process that victimizes people but a public institution does not have the chance of taking an initiative,” he said.
“We have told the [dismissed] employees. Win the reemployment lawsuit and come back; then we would 100 percent abide by it [the court ruling]. But you cannot expect me to be a judge. The moment I attempt to act as a judge, I cannot take a risk in the process regarding the future of the Turkish Republic.”