We make use of state of emergency to ban strikes, says Turkey’s Erdoğan
At a meeting organized on Wednesday (July 11) as part of the commemoration ceremonies for the first year anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt and held at the convention hall of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, Turkey’s president and the ruling party AKP’s chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with the investors with foreign direct investment projects.
Calling on the investors, Erdoğan said: “By making use of the state of emergency, we immediately intervene in workplaces that pose a threat of strike”.
In other words, Erdoğan has confessed that his government violates the constitutional right of the laborers to strike by using state of emergency as an excuse.
Related parts of his speech included the following remarks: “Now, they (opposition) have been having a problem with the state of emergency laws. If it had not been for the emergency laws, we could not have taken steps this easily and peacefully. We also define the scope of state of emergency. We are enforcing emergency laws in order for our business world to function more easily. So, let me ask: have you got any problems in the business world? Any delays? When we took on power, there was again a state of emergency enforced in Turkey but all factories were under the risk of strikes. Remember those days! But now, by making use of the state of emergency, we immediately intervene in workplaces that pose a threat of strike. Because, you can’t shake our business world. We use state of emergency for this”.
The workers slammed Erdoğan with reactions shared on social media.
In a statement shared on Twitter, Secretary General of DİSK (Confederation of Progressive Workers’ Unions), Arzu Çerkezoğlu, said: “The state of emergency which the AKP government's officials keep referring to as something ‘not against the public’ is now being referred to as something they say they use ‘to intervene in places with a threat of strikes’. Meaning, workers are not part of the ‘public’. We thank them (authorities) for their sincere statements!"
The metal sector union Birleşik Metal-İş, which is a union whose strike had also been banned in reference to state of emergency, also reacted against Erdoğan's remarks. Head of the union Adnan Serdaroğlu talked to BirGün about it and said: “By considering the terror activities and workers’ practice of their democratic right to strike as equal under state of emergency, Erdoğan has openly asserted on the AKP mindset, which has for years kept a tight rein on the workers. When they (AKP officials) declared the state of emergency, they said ‘we declared it against the state; not against the public’. Workers are citizens of this country just as the employers. But we are the ones who suffer from the state of emergency. The right of thousands of our workers to strike has been violated. Our unions’ struggle against the policies of employers is being blocked with the excuse of state of emergency. With the order of the governors’ offices, giving press statements and holding demonstrations in front of factories are banned everywhere. We have faced with this problem especially in Kocaeli, Gebze and Bursa”.
“Although our worker friends in Turkey have seen the harm that the policies of the government cause, they have not yet been able to get out of the state of woolgathering yet. And, so long they do not get out of it, those ruling the country will continue to have the courage to easily give such statements at their meetings with the bosses,” Serdaroğlu underlined.
Since the declaration of state of emergency last year on July 20, 5 strikes have been banned; and, this led the total number of banned strikes under AKP governments to increase to 13.
Front-page article of BirGün published on 12 July 2017, Thursday with the headline of 'Aren't workers a part of the public?'