#023 – IŞIL ERDİNÇ: Turkish labor unions under AKP rule

Workers of the DİSK Confederation at the Gezi Park protests. The tag says “Tayyip, this is the beginning of the end”

Since 2002, when the Party of Development and Justice (AKP) seized power in Turkey, the relationship between state institutions and unions has changed toward polarization and fragmentation. The increasing interference of the government in unions’ internal affairs, explicit favoring the pro-AKP unions, has marginalised dissident confederations of workers, while former trans-union shared initiatives and platforms for defending workers’ rights have faded. In this episode, we approach the historical background of this setting in terms of economic and social transformation of Turkey during the last decades. Secondly, some patterns of union activism and the profiles of the actors involved are discussed. Thirdly, we provide an insight into some local configuration that show a limited, yet existing room for resistance against the AKP policies and state interference.

 

Işıl Erdinç is a post-doctoral researcher at Paris Dauphine University. She is one of the coordinators of the research project “Spaces, networks and transfers. The reconfiguration of politics in Turkey”, based at the Institut of Interdisciplinary Research in Social Sciences (IRISSO). She obtained her PhD in political science in Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University in October 2016. Currently, Her research interests include sociology of political regimes, labour studies, industrial relations, and public policy.

Hosted by Andreas Guidi and Elif Becan.

To cite this episode: Erdinç, Işıl ; Guidi, Andreas, Becan, Elif (2017): Turkish labor unions under AKP rule, The Southeast Passage #023, 22.06.2017, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/erdinc-turkish-labor-unions-akp-rule

Music:

Cem Karaca – “İşçi Marşı” (The worker’s march, words by Can Yücel)

///TR
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Dumanı dağıtacak yıldız poyraz başladı 
Bu fırtına varın ki süt limanlığa bedel 
Bahar yakın demek ki mevsim böyle kışladı 
Hava döndü işçiden ediyor yel 
Tekliyor işte çağın çarkına okuyan çark 
Ve durdu muydu bir gün bu kör avara kasnak 
Bir zinciri yitirenler bir dünya kazanacak 
Sen de o dünyadansın sınıfım insafa gel 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Köylüler uykusunda döndü dönüyor sola 
Güne bakıyor bebek büyüyen yumruğuyla 
Başaklar geberdi baş baş koydular bu yola 
Şaltere uzanıyor tanrıya uzanmış el 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Senlik benlik bitip de kuruldu muydu bizlik 
Asgari ücret değil, hür ve günlük güneşlik 
Bir Türkiye olacak aldığım son gündelik 
Kalıp kalkacak yine de bilince zalim sen 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Tarihle yürüyenler tarihle adım adım 
Safları sıklaştırın tarihle hırslanalım 
Lakin hızlandık derken komuta atma sakın 
Başları bozuklar var şimdi bize tek engel 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel 
Sanki Ferhat’ sın işçi günün senin gelecek 
İndir külüngün indir de şu karanlığı del 
Del ki dağlar ardından önümüze bir çiçek gibi açsın 
Aydınlık tekmil olunca tünel 
Hava döndü işçiden esiyor yel
/// ENG
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
The Eastern Wind that will scatter the mist has risen,
This storm, as strong as a millstone.
Spring is close, it means that the season had wintered so much,
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
The cogwheel of time chugs, 
And one day, once this blind idler stops,
Those who have lost a chain will conquer a world,
You too, you are from that world. My class, come to reason!
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
The villagers are about to turn to the left in their sleep,
The baby is watching the new day with his growing rising fist,
The anthers have bloomed, they point to this path with their heads,
The hand that once reached to God, now reaches to the power switch.
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
Once “you” and “me” come to an end, “we” will be established,
Not a minimum wage, but free and daily sunshine,
Turkey would be my final daily wage,
You will petrify, when you hear this, you tyrant!
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
Those who walk through history, step by step,
Close the ranks! Let’s be furious with this historyin mind!
Though, do not give up the command when you speed up,
The Başıbozuks are there now, as the only obstacle to us. 
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers,
As if you were Ferhat, worker, your day shall come,
Bring down your pick, bring it down to pierce this darkness,
Pierce so the mountains may then blossom like a flower,
When light shines out in the tunnel.
Times have changed, the wind blows from the workers

Further reading:

Akdemir, Nevra; Odman, Aslı (2008): Tuzla Tersaneler bölgesinde örülen ve üstü örtülen sınıfsallıklar [Les relations de classe cachées et masquées dans la zone de construction navale de Tuzla]. In Toplum ve bilim 113, pp. 49–89.

Bourdieu, Pierre (1984): Distinction. A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge.

Çelik, Aziz (2010): Vesayetten siyasete Türkiye’de sendikacılık. 1946-1967. İstanbul: İletişim (Araştırma – inceleme dizisi, 254).

Durak, Yasin (2011): Emeğin tevekkülü. Konya’da işçi-işveren ilişkileri ve dindarlık [La résignation au travail. Relations employeur-ouvrier et la religiosité à Konya]. İstanbul: İletişim.

Erdinç, Isil (2016): ‪Discrimination syndicale en Turquie‪. In Travail et emploi n° 146 (2), pp. 101–123.

Erdinç, Isil (2017): Le pouvoir de l’AKP et les relations au travail. L’adhésion syndicale sous contrôle. In Mouvements 90 (2), pp. 48–53.

Güler, Hasan (2014): Patron baba ve işçileri. Işçi sınıfı, köylülük ve paternalizm [Le patron, le père et ses ouvriers. Classe ouvrière, paysannerie et paternalisme].  İstanbul: İletişim.

Güzel, M. Şehmus (2007): İşçi tarihine bakmak [Analyser l’histoire des travailleurs]. İstanbul: Türkiye Sosyal Tarih Araştırma Vakfı.

Koç, Yıldırım (2010,): Türkiye işçi sınıfı tarihi. Osmanlı’dan 2010’a [L’histoire de la classe ouvrière turque de l’Etat Ottoman à 2010]. Ankara: Epos.

Koç, Yıldırım (2012): AKP ve emekçiler (2002 – 2012) [L’AKP et les travailleurs]. Ankara: Epos.

Koray, Meryem; Çelik, Aziz (2015): Himmet, fıtrat, piyasa. AKP döneminde sosyal politika [Le don, le destin, le marché. La politique sociale sous le gouvernement AKP].  İstanbul: İletişim.

Öngel, F. Serkan (2012): Kapitalizmin kıskacında kent ve emek. Gebze Bölgesi ve otomotiv sanayi üzerine bir inceleme [La ville et le travail à l’épreuve du capitalisme. Une étude sur la région de Gebze et l’industrie d’automobile]. Çankaya, Ankara: NotaBene.

Quataert, Donald; Zürcher, Erik Jan (Eds.) (1995): Workers and the working class in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic 1839 – 1950. London: Tauris.

Sülker, Kemal (2004): Türkiye sendikacılık tarihi [L’histoire du syndicalisme en Turquie]. İstanbul: Tüstav.

 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the 13th general congress of the Hak-İş confederation, 2015

Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, founded in 1952
Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions, founded in 1967, closed down in 1980, reopened in 1992

Confederation of Real Trade union, founded in 1976, closed down in 1980, reopened in 1981

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