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Turkish man proves after 10 years that “he is alive”

ANKARA: A Turkish man heaved a sigh after proving he is alive after he was mistakenly listed as dead by Turkey’s main social security service provider.

Sinan Avcı, 46, who was forced into early retirement in 2003 after being diagnosed with epilepsy, has not been able to get his retirement salary or disability pension since he was listed as dead in 2004 by the Social Security Institution (SGK), the main social security service provider in Turkey.

“I happened to know I was [epileptic] in 1999, and kept working ill for four years. I then became eligible to retire as a disabled person. I got my [retirement] salary until 2004. After I failed to withdraw my salary in January 2004 I filed an application to the SGK. The SGK told me I was ‘dead.’ I filed a lawsuit then [to prove I was alive]. The case has gone on for 10 years now and I have not been able to get my salary over that period,” Avcı was quoted as saying.

Avcı, a former worker at the local municipality in Erzurum’s Pasinler district, discovered the SGK had listed him as dead in 2004 when he failed to withdraw his disability pension, which he had received for a year until January 2014. He also could not work both due to his illness and since he no longer officially existed.

Known as “Sinan, the dead” by locals, the man relied for years mostly on financial help from relatives and neighbors because he could not work due to retirement amendments and his illness report.

After a 10-year legal battle, Avcı finally managed last week to convince the authorities that he was not dead. But he faces another struggle trying to get his unpaid retirement salaries and the right to his disability pension.

Avcı also called on the authorities to investigate the people who reported his death.

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