Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

Turkey's Election Earthquake

By       Message Conn Hallinan       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 6/12/15

Author 76846
Become a Fan
  (11 fans)
- Advertisement -

Reprinted from Dispatches From The Edge

From youtube.com/watch?v=770pg0_q_es: Turkish president Erdogan power grab frustrated
Turkish president Erdogan power grab frustrated
(Image by YouTube)
  Permission   Details   DMCA

Among the many things behind the storm that staggered Turkey's ruling party in last week's elections, a disastrous foreign policy looms large. But a major factor behind the fall of the previously invincible Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a grassroots revolt against rising poverty, growing inequality and the AKP's war on trade unions.

- Advertisement -

On the eve of the election, the government's Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) found that 22.4 percent of Turkish households fell below the official poverty line of $1,626 a month for a family of four. The country's largest trade union organization, TURK-IS, which uses a different formula for calculating poverty levels based on incomes below the minimum monthly wage -- $118 -- argues that nearly 50 percent of the population is at, or near, the poverty line.

- Advertisement -

Figures show that while national income has, indeed, risen over the past decade, much of it has gone to the wealthy and well connected. When the AKP came to power in 2002, the top 1 percent accounted for 39 percent of the nation's wealth. Today that figure is 54 percent. In the meantime, credit card debt has increased 25 fold, from 222 million liras in 2002 to 5.8 billion liras today

In 2001, Turkey was in a serious economic crisis, with the unemployment rate at 10.8 percent. Today 11.3 percent are out of work, and that figure is much higher among young people and women. TUIK estimates that over 3 million Turks are jobless, but at least another 2.5 million have given up looking for jobs. The total size of the Turkish workforce is 28 million.

Women have been particularly hard hit. Over 227,000 women have been laid off this past year, a higher percentage than men. According to Aysen Candas of the Social Political Forum of Bogazici University, the "situation of women is just horrible."

- Advertisement -

While the average rate of employment for women in the 34 countries that make up the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development is between 62 and 63 percent, in Turkey it is 25 percent. According to Candas, in access to jobs, political participation and economic power, Turkish women rank near the bottom of the 126 countries the Bogazici University study examined.

Turkish workers have seen their unions dismantled under the AKP government, and many have lost collective bargaining rights. According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, unionized workers have fallen from 57.5 percent of the workforce in 2003 to 9.68 percent today. And, of those unionized workers, only 4.5 percent have collective bargaining agreements. Add to this police repression, the widespread use of the subcontracting system, and a threshold of 3 percent to organize a new union, and there are few barriers to stop employers from squeezing their workforce.

In comparison, Sweden has a unionization rate of 67.7 percent, Finland 69 percent, Italy 35.6 percent and Greece 28.7 percent.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Conn M. Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, "A Think Tank Without Walls, and an independent journalist. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He oversaw the (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Iran Sanctions: War by Other Means

Israel and Syria: Behind the Bombs

Japan Vs. China: Smoke or Fire?

Marching On Moscow

Iran: Rumors Of War

Iran, Israel and the U.S.: The Slide To War