For decades, Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was both a doctor and a human rights advocate. By day, he saw patients at the Izmit Seka State Hospital. By night, he was a member of human rights organizations and shared posts on social media supporting a peace process to end nearly 40 years of warfare between Kurdish militants and the Turkish state.
On Oct. 13, 2016, one of his social media posts got him suspended and eventually dismissed from his position by decree law over alleged links with terrorist groups. He became one of 150,000 civil servants laid off in a wave of ongoing purges that began after the July 15, 2016, coup attempt in Turkey. Like the many dismissed academics, police officers and state employees, his passport was confiscated, he struggled to find employment and he became socially isolated in a period he describes as his “civil death.”