Often praised for its response to the recent refugee crisis in the region by hosting the highest number of refugees in the world, Turkey is forcing its own citizens to embark on dangerous journeys to flee persecution, according to the London-based non-profit Centre for Hizmet Studies.

The centre on February 14 reported on the tragic death of a 37-year-old woman and her two children (ages 3 and 11). They drowned on February 13 while trying to cross the Evros River that separates Turkey and Greece.

According to the Centre for Hizmet Studies, the mother was identified as Ayse Soyler Abdurrezzak, who was a teacher dismissed from her job with a state of emergency decree after the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, due to her alleged link to the Hizmet Movement. Her husband, Ugur Abdurrezzak was also a teacher, dismissed from his job on similar grounds, jailed for 11 months, and released on bail in January.

A similar incident took place in November 2017, when Maden family with three children drowned in the Aegean Sea.

Human rights group Amnesty International recently stressed the arbitrary nature of the dismissals of over a hundred thousand public sector workers in Turkey under the post-coup attempt emergency decrees.

“The Turkish government’s indiscriminate use of emergency decrees and other authoritarian practices as well as its complete disregard for the rule of law force people to seek alternative ways to leave Turkey under dire conditions at the cost of their lives,” said Ismail Sezgin, Executive Director of the Centre for Hizmet Studies.

“To prevent similar tragedies from unfolding in the future, it is imperative that Turkey lifts the state of emergency, reinstates the rule of law and respects fundamental human rights and freedoms. It is also crucial that human rights organisations, Turkey’s friends abroad and other relevant agencies pay closer attention to how Hizmet people are being treated in Turkey in order to see the true extent of Turkey’s purge and bear witness to their sufferings.”