Ministry to reinstate former military officers kicked out by YAŞ

August 01, 2011, Monday/ 14:57:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Individuals who were dismissed from the military by arbitrary decisions taken during previous Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meetings will be reinstated, Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Çelik has announced.

Çelik, in an interview with the Sabah daily published on Monday, said, “We'll take a new turn on our road to democracy.” He added that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel who have been expelled by the army will have their rights reinstated along with the rights and benefits enjoyed by other officers who served in the same term before their expulsion. If the peers of an officer are retired, for example, the expelled person will be entitled to full retirement benefits when they are reinstated. Those not eligible for retirement will be recruited by a special research unit.

Çelik said 2,199 YAŞ victims have so far applied for their rights to be restored after constitutional changes that opened YAŞ decisions, previously closed to appeal, to further judicial examination. The state opened 2,000 new positions for these individuals, saying work regarding the openings will be completed within the next 45 days.

Following the approval of a constitutional reform package in a referendum last year, Parliament passed a law in March which sought to reinstate the rights of former members of the military who were expelled by YAŞ. The constitutional reform package included an article that allows ex-military members to appeal their expulsion before a judicial body. Before the referendum, YAŞ decisions were closed to judicial review.

Çelik recalled that the law includes YAŞ victims who were dismissed during the military interventions of 1971 and 1980 as well as the 1997 postmodern coup. There had been some concerns that members of the military dismissed following YAŞ decisions during the Sept. 12, 1980 and March 12, 1971 coups d'état may miss out.

The changes brought about by this law mean that if a YAŞ victim is found to have been unfairly expelled from the military, then all of his rights will be reinstated. If he is old enough to retire, he will be granted a monthly pension. If not, he will be allowed to obtain employment in a state institution. Previously, personnel dismissed from the military were ineligible for employment in state institutions. In the case of YAŞ victims who have passed away, their rights will be transferred to their legal heirs. In other words, their pensions and compensation, if any, will be passed on to their legal heirs.

“In extraordinary times like March 12 [1971] and Sept. 12 [1980], many were dismissed from the military with YAŞ decisions, without any judicial review. Turkey has been rapidly normalizing over the past few years. Undoing injustices is one of the most important indicators of normalization. All of the relationships between state agencies are changing and are now normal, as they should be.”

According to Çelik, 2,199 people have applied to benefit from the law passed in March. “The Ministry of Defense is working on these applications. The State Personnel Department has created 2,000 positions. Once the procedures are complete, recruitment for the posts will begin within 45 days.”

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