By Barış Soydan
March 23, 2021
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have always claimed to represent the people, the downtrodden, against the elite, which is an important key to their longevity in power. Yet, during its eighteen years in power, the AKP has consistently sided with the economic elite against labor. The AKP has not only preserved the legacy of the conservative governments that preceded it – and of the military rulers who at the beginning of the 1980s imposed severe constraints on labor rights – but it has further limited the rights of workers. The response of the Turkish government to the pandemic has demonstrated a blatant indifference to workers’ health and safety.
By Hendrik Müller (vol. 7, no. 17 of the Turkey Analyst)
A series of workplace accidents in Turkey during the last months have brought attention to the dire conditions of labor rights in the country. While Turkey’s economic growth rates during the last decade have received much international attention, and the country has been praised for its economic policies, the conditions of labor have escaped international scrutiny. The dark side of the Turkish economic “miracle” is an insufficient regulatory framework, coupled with a history of suppressing dissent and the formation of unions. Turkish workers are subjected to severely hazardous working conditions, with Turkey ranking second only to China in the number of accidents at the workplace and first in the number of work-related fatalities of all OECD nations. The member states of the European Union can make a difference by reminding Turkey that progress in the membership process requires compliance with EU standards in this respect as well.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.