After over a decade, Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the dismissal of teacher Ali Kuş for his membership in the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), now the Left Party, was unconstitutional.
An investigation was first launched into Kuş when he was working at the Technical and Industrial Vocational High School in Ankara's Polatlı district in 2000. After the conclusion of the investigation, he was dismissed for alleged absenteeism.
In 2001, he joined the ÖDP and in 2002 was the party’s parliamentary candidate from Turkey’s capital, Ankara. He also served as Polatlı district chairman for the party in 2004. In 2008, courts ruled that his dismissal from the civil service was unjust and he returned to the teaching profession. However, because he was still a member of the ÖDP when he began teaching again, another investigation was opened into him by the Ministry of National Education and he was again dismissed in 2009.
In a lawsuit filed after his dismissal, he said that he had been targeted for membership in a political party. The lawsuit was dismissed by an administrative court in Ankara, which said that in order to join a political party one must step down from civil service.
Kuş’ appeals of the lawsuit dismissal were rejected in 2012 and 2017. He then applied to the Constitutional Court when the decision became final.
The Constitutional Court ruled that the dismissal violated Kuş' right to organize.
“Article 33 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of association, and Article 68, which does not reconcile civil service with a membership in a political party, can only fulfill their functions fully in the context of the development of pluralistic democracy and if they are interpreted on the basis of rights,” the top court said.
They ruled that the Ministry of Education did not allow Kuş “reasonable” time to resign from the party and that he should be allowed a retrial. He is also to be paid 13,500 Turkish Lira in recompense.