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Regional Human Development Report 2016

Progress at Risk Inequalities and Human Development in Eastern Europe, Turkey and Central Asia

The CASE STUDY on

Income and Social Inequalities in Turkey   

Inequalities in Turkey: An Overview 

Final report 

Ayşe Buğra and Volkan Yılmaz, with Alpkan Birelma, Burçak Gürsoy, Yasemin Taşkın, Zeynep Berra Dodurka, Başak Ekim Akkan, İpek Göçmen. 

Boğaziçi University Social Policy Forum 

I.   Introduction 

Equality has been one of the most popular and inspirational promises of modern citizenship.1 In social policy, following the footsteps of T. H. Marshall, citizenship status has been widely discussed in its potential to act against social inequalities especially through redistributive and transformative social policies.2 More recently, after a period when inequalities have at times been portrayed as an incentive for economic and human development, different dimensions of inequality are, once again, becoming part of global and domestic policy debates as roots or manifestations of social problems. Inclusion of measures of inequalities, namely Inequality- Adjusted Human Development Index and Gender Inequality Index, into the human development paradigm symbolised an important development in this direction. 

Increasing number of studies now show the harmful impact of inequality on health and wellbeing of societies.3 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s inspiring study –The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone- clearly demonstrated that the more egalitarian societies, the better they perform in various domains such as mental health, physical health, 

1 Amartya Sen elaborates this promise of equality by pursuing the questions of why equality matters and equality of what matters. See, Amartya Sen, Inequality Re-examined (New York: Harvard and Russell Sage Foundation, 1995).

2 T. H. Marshall, “Citizenship and Social Class,” In Welfare States: Construction, Deconstruction,

Reconstruction Volume I, eds. S. Leibfried and S. Mau (Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2008).

3 For example, See Ichiro Kawachi and Bruce P. Kennedy, The Health of Nations: Why Inequality is Harmful to Your Health (New York and London: The New Press, 2006). 

educational performance, social mobility, sustainability and crime rates.4 Another seminal work in the area is Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which analyses the historical origins of economic inequality in contemporary societies.5 Finally, OXFAM International’s latest report titled An Economy for the 1% draws attention to the extreme inequality in the distribution of wealth worldwide by demonstrating the fact that the richest one per cent have more wealth than the rest of the world.6 

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) no. 10, reducing inequality within and among countries, is a signal of this change at the level of United Nations.7 Inclusion of the reduction of inequality within and among countries is a significant paradigm shift from Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that lacked an equality target with the exception of a target based upon a limited understanding of gender equality. 

Inspired by abovementioned perspectives on and interest in the study of inequalities worldwide, this report offers an overview of inequalities in Turkey in key policy domains including income distribution and poverty, employment, health care and education (including early childhood education and care) with a special focus on regional manifestations of inequalities. Following this introductory section, each of the four separate sections examines up-to-date data on inequalities in income distribution, employment, health care and education. After these sections, the report ends with a section on policy suggestions and concluding remarks. 

In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), Turkey ranked 18th among other countries in 2014.8 Turkey ranks 72nd in Human Development Index.9 Human Development Report in 2015 announces that the difference between Turkey’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita ranking and Human Development Index (HDI) ranking is -12, which underlines the fact that Turkey is better ranked by GNI per capita than by the HDI. In other words, while, 

4 Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone (London: Penguin Books, 2010).

5 Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2014).

6 OXFAM International, An Economy for the 1%, Accessed on 4 March 2016, https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-1

7 Finalized list of SDGs can be found here: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/47th-session/documents/2016-2- IAEG-SDGs-E-Revised.pdf

8 World Bank, GDP ranking, Accessed on 5 March 2016, http://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf 9 United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2015: Work for Human Development, Accessed on 5 March 2016, http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr_2015_statistical_annex.pdf 

Turkey’s HDI ranking has been improving between 2009 and 2014, Turkey’s human development could not catch its economic development so far. In addition, Turkey’s ranking does not change in Inequality-adjusted HDI and Gender Inequality Index, but this should not lead stark differences between inequality-adjusted scores and standard HDI score go unnoticed. For instance, Turkey’s inequality-adjusted score is almost 16 per cent lower than its standard HDI score. 

II.    Income distribution and income poverty 

Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly egalitarian distribution. It ranges between 0 representing the perfect equality and 1 implying perfect inequality. Table 1 below shows the Gini coefficients of Turkey and other OECD countries in 2012.

Table 1: Gini coefficients of Turkey and other OECD countries, 201210

Country

Gini Coefficient

Country

Gini Coefficient

Denmark

0.249

Korea

0.307

Slovak Republic

0.25

Canada*

0.315

Slovenia

0.25

OECD Average

0.32

Norway

0.253

Australia

0.326

Czech Republic

0.256

Italy

0.327

Iceland

0.257

New Zealand

0.333

Finland

0.26

Spain

0.335

Belgium

0.268

Japan*

0.336

Sweden

0.274

Estonia

0.338

Austria

0.276

Portugal

0.338

Netherlands

0.281

Greece

0.34

Switzerland

0.285

United Kingdom

0.351

Germany

0.289

Israel

0.371

Hungary

0.289

United States

0.39

Poland

0.298

Russia*

0.396

Luxembourg

0.302

Turkey

1.402

Ireland

0.304

Mexico

0.457

France

0.306

Chile*

0.503

Source: OECD Income Distribution Database, http://www.oecd.org/social/income-distribution-database.htm 

10 OECD has started to use a new income definition since 2012. As explained in the database, compared to the previous one, the new OECD terms of reference include a more detailed breakdown of current transfers received and paid by households as well as a revised definition of household income, including the value of goods produced for own consumption as an element of self-employed income. Table 1 includes the data of Gini index measured by the new income definition for all countries in 2012. Since the available statistics belong to 2011 for Canada and Chile, 2010 for Russia and 2009 for Japan, those figures are used for them.

As clearly seen in Table 1, Turkey is one of the countries having the highest Gini records in 2012. The index of Turkey, that is roughly 0.4, is well above the OECD average of 0.32.

Compared to other OECD countries except Mexico and Chile, Turkey has less egalitarian income distribution. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Turkey’s Gini score has slightly declined in the second half of 2000s and the first half of 2010s.11 

Table 2 below shows the income quintile share ratio, the S80/S20 ratio, for Turkey and other OECD countries in 2012. The S80/S20 ratio is another measure of the inequality of income distribution, which is calculated as the ratio of total income received by the top quintile to that received by the bottom quintile. 

Table 2: S80/S20 disposable income quintile share for Turkey and other OECD countries, 2012

Denmark

3.5

Luxembourg

4.6

Czech Republic

3.6

Ireland

4.7

Finland

3.7

Poland

4.7

Iceland

3.7

New Zealand

5.3

Slovak Republic

3.7

Australia

5.5

Slovenia

3.7

Estonia

5.8

Norway

3.8

Italy

5.8

Belgium

4

Portugal

5.9

Sweden

4.1

United Kingdom

5.9

Netherlands

4.2

Spain

6.1

Austria

4.3

Greece

6.3

Germany

4.3

Israel

7.5

Switzerland

4.3

Turkey

7.8

Hungary

4.5

United States

8.5

France

4.6

Mexico

11.5

Source: OECD Income Distribution Database, http://www.oecd.org/social/income-distribution-database.htm 

As the figures in Table 2 suggests, the S80/S20 ratio of Turkey is 7.8, which makes it the third most unequal country among OECD countries. According to the interdecile S90/S10 ratio in 2012, the ratio for Turkey increases to 14, but Turkey’s ranking does not change.12

While they are commonly used interchangeably, inequality and poverty are analytically different concepts. It is hardly possible to generalize changes in inequalities to changes in poverty without specifying the conception of poverty and the dimension of inequality that one

11 OECD, Statistics, Accessed on 5 March 2016, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=66670

12 OECD, Income Inequality, Accessed on 3 March 2016, https://data.oecd.org/inequality/income-inequality.htm13 In this report, we use relative income poverty as another indicator of income inequality. Table 3 below shows poverty rates of Turkey and other OECD countries in 2012.

13 Andre Beteille, “Poverty and Inequality,” Economic and Political Weekly, 2003, 4455-4463.

Table 3: Poverty rates (after taxes and transfers, poverty line 50 %, with new income def.) of Turkey and other OECD countries, 2012

Czech R.

5.3%

New Z.

9.9%

Denmark

5.4%

Belgium

10.2%

Iceland

6.3%

Poland

10.2%

Finland

6.5%

Hungary

10.3%

 

7.7%

UK

10.5%

France

8.1%

Estonia

12.3%

Norway

8.1%

Italy

12.7%

Germany

8.4%

Portugal

13.0%

Ireland

8.4%

Australia

14.0%

 

8.4%

Spain

14.0%

Slovak R.

8.4%

Korea

14.6%

Sweden

9.0%

Greece

15.1%

Switzerland

9.1%

Turkey14

7.8%

Slovenia

9.4%

US

17.9%

Austria

9.6%

Israel

18.4%

 

Mexico

18.9%

Source: OECD Income Distribution Database, http://www.oecd.org/social/income-distribution- database.htm 

As demonstrated in Table 3, Turkey is the fourth country among OECD members with highest rate of relative income poverty. Poverty rate of Turkey in 2012 is 17.8 per cent, which is slightly better than the United States. Examining three indicators of income inequality together, it is clear that income distribution in Turkey is relatively unequal than other OECD countries.

While Turkey’s bad standing on income inequality and poverty among other OECD countries is stable over time as it is described above, there is evidence that it makes progress over time. For example, the World Bank’s report Turkey’s Transitions: Integration, Inclusion, Institutions suggests that the income of the bottom 40 per cent of Turkey’s population has risen roughly at the same rate of that of the general population between 2006 and 2011.15 In addition, Turkish Statistical Institution reports that the poverty rate declined between 2011 and 2013.16

14 We used poverty rate for the year 2012 for comparative purposes only. According to Turkish Statistical Institution, poverty rate for Turkey is 15 per cent in 2014. Please see, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=18633

15 World Bank, Turkey’s Transitions: Integration, Inclusion, Institutions, Washington: The World

Bank (December 2014), p. 44.

16 Turkish Statistical Institution, Turkey in Statistics 2014, Ankara: Turkish Statistical Institution (June 2015), 85.

According to Turkish Statistical Institute, poverty rate for women has been higher than that of men between 2002 and 2009.17 Child poverty rates are also higher than the rates for the general population.18 There is no data on the proportion of people living below 50 per cent of median income, disaggregated by persons with disabilities. 

A Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) report recently analysed regional income inequalities in Turkey.19 Using Turkish Statistical Institute’s (TURKSTAT) Income and Living Conditions Survey data for 2006-2014, the authors measure Gini coefficients for twelve different regions. Table 4 shows the results of those regional calculations between 2006 and 2011. 

Table 4: Gini coefficients for Turkey overall and its regions, 201120

Regions

Gini scores

Eastern Black Sea

0.31

Eastern Marmara

0.32

Western Black Sea

0.32

Istanbul

0.36

Western Marmara

0.36

Central Anatolia

0.36

Western Anatolia

0.37

North Eastern Anatolia

0.38

Aegean

0.39

South Eastern Anatolia

0.39

Turkey Overall

1.39

Mediterranean

0.4

Central Eastern Anatolia

0.4

Source: Raziye Selim, Öner Günçavdı and Ayşe Aylin Bayar, Türkiye’de Bireysel Gelir Dağılımı Eşitsizlikleri: Fonksiyonel Gelir Kaynakları ve Bölgesel Eşitsizlikler, Publication No: TÜSİAD- T/2014-06/554 (June 2014), 123.

17 Turkish Statistical Institution, Poverty Statistics, Accessed on 3 March 2016, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1013

18 Turkish Statistical Institution, Statistics on Child, Ankara: Turkish Statistical Institution (April

2015), 102-104.

19 Raziye Selim, Öner Günçavdı and Ayşe Aylin Bayar, Türkiye’de Bireysel Gelir Dağılımı Eşitsizlikleri: Fonksiyonel Gelir Kaynakları ve Bölgesel Eşitsizlikler, Publication No: TÜSİAD- T/2014-06/554 (June 2014).

20 Raziye Selim, Öner Günçavdı and Ayşe Aylin Bayar, Türkiye’de Bireysel Gelir Dağılımı Eşitsizlikleri: Fonksiyonel Gelir Kaynakları ve Bölgesel Eşitsizlikler, Publication No: TÜSİAD-

T/2014-06/554 (June 2014), 123. Here the table is sorted from smallest Gini to largest first in 2011 and then successively for the previous years.

Selim, Günçavdı and Bayar draw attention to two regions, Mediterranean and Central Eastern Anatolia, with higher Gini coefficients than other regions and Turkey overall in 2011. The Mediterranean region has always the highest income inequality during the period of study. According to the study, intense migration to the Mediterranean region in recent years and income-generating mechanisms specific to the region might explain why this region is one of the two regions with highest income inequality.

The report also analyses factor incomes and income inequalities both within different groups and different regions between 2006 and 2011. One of the significant conclusions derived from this analysis is that the income inequalities within regions is also striking. As a result, scholars examined the sources of income inequalities within regions and factor income groups. Such an examination shows that property rents and interest incomes are the main sources of income inequality in Turkey. Especially in Eastern Black Sea and Eastern Marmara regions, property rents have a significant impact on the increasing of income inequalities after 2009.

Interest incomes had a striking impact on the income inequalities in South Eastern Anatolia in 2009.21 

Table 5 below presents the number of people living under different poverty thresholds and poverty rates by different poverty thresholds for different regions in Turkey in 2014.22

21 Raziye Selim, Öner Günçavdı and Ayşe Aylin Bayar, Türkiye’de Bireysel Gelir Dağılımı Eşitsizlikleri: Fonksiyonel Gelir Kaynakları ve Bölgesel Eşitsizlikler, Publication No: TÜSİAD- T/2014-06/554 (June 2014), 137-43.

22 Regional at-risk-of-poverty rates for Turkey is available online on the website of European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON): http://mapfinder.espon.eu/?p=2520  

Table 5: Number of people living under different poverty thresholds and poverty rates by different poverty thresholds for different regions in Turkey, 2014

 

Poverty Threshold 5,390 TL¹

Poverty Threshold 5,554 TL²

 

 

REGIONS

 

Number of poor (thousand)

 

Poverty rate (%)

Number of poor

(thousand)

 

Poverty rate (%)

Eastern Black Sea

209

2

209

1.8

Western Marmara

239

  1. 3

241

2.1

Eastern Marmara

389

  1. 7

416

3.7

Central Anatolia

402

  1. 8

461

4.1

Western Anatolia

494

  1. 7

530

4.7

Western Black Sea

498

  1. 8

543

4.8

North Eastern Anatolia

640

  1. 1

710

6.3

Aegean

675

  1. 5

716

6.3

Istanbul

781

  1. 5

554

4.9

Central Eastern Anatolia

1,214

  1. 6

1,388

12.3

Mediterranean

1,776

17

1,985

17.5

South Eastern Anatolia

3,134

30

3,578

31.6

¹Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) adjusted threshold for 50 % of the median income in Turkey

²Not PPP adjusted threshold for 50 % of the median income in Turkey

Source: TURKSTAT Regional Statistics, http://tuikapp.tuik.gov.tr/Bolgesel/anaSayfa.do?dil=en

Table 5 clearly shows the unequal distribution of income poverty among different regions of Turkey. Both the number of poor people and poverty rates vary significantly, successively from 209 to 4,564 thousand people and 1.8 to 31.6 per cent for different thresholds. 

Despite the differences in calculating national poverty thresholds, the ranking of regions according to poverty rates does not change. For all thresholds, the lowest share belongs to Eastern Black Sea region, and the highest to South Eastern Anatolia. There are 209 thousand people living under the purchasing parity adjusted threshold for 50 per cent of median income of Turkey (5,390 TL) in Eastern Black Sea region, which corresponds to a share of 2 per cent. In the South Eastern Anatolia, both the absolute number of poor and their share increase up to 3,134 thousand people, which refers to roughly 30 per cent of region’s population. In other words, one-third of people living in South Eastern Anatolia lives under the PPP adjusted 50-percent income poverty threshold. 

Table 5 also shows that the South Eastern Anatolia differs significantly from other regions regarding poverty rates. Having also a high rate of poverty, the Mediterranean region follows the South Eastern Anatolia for all different poverty thresholds but the difference among these successive regions is not slight. The share of poor by the PPP adjusted poverty threshold for 50 per cent of median income of Turkey (5,390 TL) is 17 per cent and for 60-percent-median (6,468 TL) 16.9 per cent in the Mediterranean region, whereas the same figures for the South Eastern Anatolia are 30 and 26.3 per cent respectively. The South Eastern Anatolia is an outlier for all different measurements as the region of having an intensified income poverty compared to other eleven regions of Turkey. While further research has to be conducted in identifying the factors that stands behind this persistent trend of the South Eastern Anatolia, ongoing armed conflict in the region is definitely among the major factors which restricts the development of new job opportunities; makes it impossible for people to engage in agriculture and husbandry; causes internal displacement of people from rural to urban areas without any material support available and finally leads to further impoverishment of the population living in that region. 

As the abovementioned figures display, regions vary among each other in terms of income inequality and poverty. Nevertheless, it should be noted that regional comparisons might also hide inequalities within regions. For example, according to the region-specific poverty threshold, the Mediterranean is the worst region having the highest number of poor people

and poverty rate. According to the national poverty thresholds, it is the second-worst region. A closer look at the distribution of income poverty among different sub-regions of the Mediterranean might be helpful in displaying within region variance in income poverty rates. Table 6 below demonstrates number of people living under poverty thresholds and poverty rates according to different poverty thresholds for sub-regions of Mediterranean in 2014.

Table 6: Number of people living under poverty thresholds and poverty rates according to different poverty thresholds for sub-regions of Mediterranean, 2014

 

Poverty Threshold 5,390

TL¹

Poverty Threshold 5,554

TL²

Poverty Threshold 6,468

TL³

Poverty Threshold 6,665

TL4

 

 

SUB-REGIONS

Number of poor (thousand)

 

Poverty rate (%)

Number of poor

 

Poverty rate (%)

Number of poor

 

Poverty rate (%)

Number of poor

 

Poverty rate (%)

Antalya, Isparta, Burdur

280

  1. 7

281

  1. 5

411

  1. 6

427

  1. 6

Adana, Mersin

746

  1. 1

813

  1. 2

1,176

  1. 4

1,200

  1. 3

Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Osmaniye

 

750

 

  1. 2

 

891

 

  1. 9

 

1,080

 

  1. 8

 

1,214

 

  1. 4

Mediterranean – Total

1,776

17

1,985

  1. 5

2,667

  1. 9

2,841

  1. 2

¹Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) adjusted threshold for 50 % of the median income in Turkey 

²Not PPP adjusted threshold for 50 % of the median income in Turkey 

³PPP adjusted threshold for 60 % of the median income in Turkey 

4Not PPP adjusted threshold for 60 % of the median income in Turkey

Source: TURKSTAT Regional Statistics, http://tuikapp.tuik.gov.tr/Bolgesel/anaSayfa.do?dil=en

As clearly seen in Table 6, Antalya, Isparta and Burdur sub-region differs from the other two sub-regions (Adana and Mersin; Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Osmaniye), in having significantly lower number of people living under poverty thresholds and lower poverty rates. Under the PPP adjusted poverty threshold for 60 per cent of the median income in Turkey, there are 411 thousand people with a 2.6 per cent poverty rate in Antalya, Isparta and Burdur sub-region. For the same threshold, the number of poor people increases to 1,080 thousand in Hatay, Kahramanmaraş and Osmaniye sub-region and 1,176 thousand in Adana and Mersin sub-region, corresponding to the poverty rates of 6.8 and 7.4 per cent respectively. These figures call for a special attention to diversity among sub-regions in general and sub-regions of the Mediterranean in particular while formulating poverty alleviation measures. 

Tax revenues are crucial in funding policy interventions aiming at tackling social inequalities. However, Turkish tax system is far from diminishing inequalities stemming from income distribution. Four basic problems of the system can be identified: 1) Complex and inconsistent laws and legislations, 2) Very high rates of excise taxes and their high share in total tax revenues, 3) Lack of confidence in the governments’ ability to provide public services in return for taxes, 4) Unrest of tax- paying citizens from the frequency of tax amnesties.

Among OECD countries, Turkey generally has the lowest shares of total tax revenues as percentage of GDP together with Mexico. In 2007, the share for Turkey was 23.7 per cent while it was 35.8 per cent in OECD average.23 Turkey seems to make some progress in increasing the share since 2007 according to the OECD statistics. In 2013, the OECD average of tax revenue as percentage of GDP is 34.1 per cent and 29.3 per cent for Turkey. Yet, it is still the twenty-seventh of thirty-four OECD countries.24

The share of taxes from income and profit in total tax revenues is very low in Turkey compared to OECD countries. In 2012, the share is only 6 per cent in Turkey, while it is 11.4 per cent in OECD average.25 Contrary to income taxes, the excise taxes comprise a significant part of tax revenues. In 2013, Turkey has generated 16 per cent

23 Zenginobuz, Ünal et al. (2010) Vergi, Temsiliyet ve Demokrasi İlişkisi Üzerine Türkiye’de Vatandaşların Algıları, Açık Toplum Vakfı, İstanbul.

24 OECD Revenue Statistics, 1965-2013, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=REV

25 OECD Revenue Statistics, 1965-2013, http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=REV

of total tax revenue from VAT (Value-Added Tax), and 23 per cent from PET (Private Excise Tax.)26 Such a composition of total tax revenue has a direct impact in increasing income inequalities. 

The distribution of tax burden among different income quintiles is also significant to understand the relation between tax system and income inequalities. Zenginobuz et al. argue that the excise tax burden of the poorest five per cent is two-and-a-half more than the burden of the richest five per cent in 2008, considering both VAT and PET.27 Since excise taxes mean relatively more tax burden for low-income groups than high- income groups, they will still have a deteriorating impact on a possible progress in diminishing inequalities as a result of a better income-tax system. 

A public finance reform should be an essential item of any policy package in Turkey. The composition of tax revenue should be changed with a decrease in the share of excise taxes and a simultaneous increase in the share of income taxes. By empowering progressive income tax system, tax burden should be shifted from indirect to direct taxes. A better functioning public finance should give more attention to the issues of transparency and public trust. 

I.          Employment 

Labour market in Turkey has underwent a significant transformation since 1980s. Table 7 below illustrates this transformation. Table 7 displays the distribution of employment according to sector of activity and status at work in 1988, 1995 and 2014 with mean annual income according to status at work in 2014.

26 Gelir İdaresi Başkanlığı 2013 Yılı Faaliyet Raporu (Nisan 2014) http://www.gib.gov.tr/fileadmin/faaliyetraporlari/2013/2013_Faaliyet_Raporu.pdf

27Zenginobuz, et al. (2010) Vergi, Temsiliyet ve Demokrasi İlişkisi Üzerine Türkiye’de Vatandaşların

Algıları.

Table 7: Distribution of employment according to sector of activity and status at work with mean annual income according to status at work 1988-2014 

1988              1995              2014

Sectoral distribution of employment

Agriculture

46,5

44,1

21,1

Industry

21,5

22,0

27,9

Services

32,0

33,9

51,0

Distribution of emp. according to

Wage earners                      40,4               41,5               66,0

Self-employed                    25,9               24,9               17,3

Unpaid f. worker                30,2               27,9               12,2 

status

Employers

3,5

5,6

4,5

Mean annual income acc. to status

Wage earners

18.783

Self-employed

14.629

Employers

44.587

Source: “Mean annual income at main job by employment status, 2006-2014,” TURKSTAT, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1011. “Employment status by years and sex,” TURKSTAT, accessed November 23, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007. “Economic activity by years, NACE Rev.2,” TURKSTAT, accessed December 20, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007. 

As seen above, the share of agriculture in total employment significantly decreased from 46.5 per cent in 1988 to 21.1 per cent in 2014. Alternatively, the share of services sector in total employment drastically increased from 32 per cent to 51 per cent between 1988 and 2014. The share of industry in total employment also showed an increase from 21.5 to 27.9 per cent in the same period. Parallel to these, distribution of employment according to status at work also changed. The share of wage earners exceeded half of all those employed by 2014, while the share of unpaid family workers and self-employed dropped. 

Given these changes, one could expect a rise in labour share in Turkish economy in this time period. Figure 1 below suggests a different picture. Labour/wage share is a revealing indicator for the social conditions of workers, which attracts growing attention among scholars and policy makers recently. It measures the distribution of national income between labour and capital.28 Widely used series of adjusted wage share of AMECO shortly explains it as the compensation per employee as percentage of GDP.29 In a country where labour share is in decline, “improvements in macroeconomic performance may not translate into commensurate improvements in

28 ILO, Global Wage Report 2014/15: Wages and Income Inequality (Geneva: International Labour Organization, 2015), 10.

29 AMECO data base, European Commission, accessed December 18, 2015,

http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/ameco/zipped_en.htm.

personal incomes of households”, since lower labour share is correlated with higher inequality in the personal distribution income.30 

Figure 1: Changes in labour shares in emerging economies of G20, 1995-2012

Source: ILO, IMF, OECD and WBG, 2015, 12. Calculated by ILO using AMECO Database and ILO Databases.

Notes: Figures are sorted from left to right in increasing order based on adjusted labour shares. Figures refer to the change in the adjusted labour share between 1970-2014 for emerging economies, adjusted and unadjusted labour shares between 1995 and 2012. Exceptions include: Saudi Arabia: 2002-09, Turkey: 1995-2014, Mexico: 1995-2004; India and Brazil: 1995-2009. Data for Indonesia are not available.

Source: 

Figure 1 above shows that wage labour is steadily growing in size as a form of employment, however losing in terms of its share. During past three decades labour share has declined around the globe accompanied by rising inequality31 and Turkey exhibits a sharper version of this trend as revealed by AMECO data starting from 1988 for Turkey. Thanks to the two consequent years of strike waves, the greatest of the nation then,32 labour share rose to its peak of 64.7 per cent in Turkey, which

30 ILO and OECD, The Labour Share in G20 Economies, accessed December 3, 2015, http://www.oecd.org/els/The-Labour-Share-in-G20-Economies.pdf.

31 UNDP, Human Development Report 2015 (New York: UN Development Programme, 2015), 10-11.

OECD, Employment Outlook 2012, (OECD Publishing, 2012), 110. See Figure A in Annex for a comparison of different countries with Turkey.

32 Alpkan Birelma, “Türkiye’de Taşeron Çalışma,” Toplum ve Bilim 133, (2015): 68-74.

followed by a secular decline leading to 32.1 in 2014.33 Since 2002 labour share in Turkey is lower than Mexico, in other words the lowest in OECD, while Gini coefficient of Mexico is allegedly 0.6 higher than Turkey.34 An OECD report revealed that among G20 developing countries Turkey has experienced the highest decrease in labour share in between 1995 to 2012.35 For other developing countries ILO provides only unadjusted labour shares, which is most likely lower than adjusted shares.36 Despite this leverage labour share in Turkey exceeds only countries with much lower Human Development Index ranks such as Bolivia, Egypt, Guatemala and India.

In addition to lower labour share in Turkey, employees work longer than not only those in all OECD countries but also in developing countries like Brazil, South Africa, Colombia, and Costa Rica as demonstrated in Table 8.37 In another OECD series, which shows percentage of employees usually working 50 hours or more per week, Turkey ranks by far the first with a rate of 41 above Mexico with a rate of 29 per cent.38 

Table 8. Average usual weekly hours worked by employees on the main job, 2014

Netherlands    Germany

  1. S.

Poland

Brazil

Mexico

Turkey

  1. 9 34.5
  2. 6
  3. 9
  4. 3
  5. 7
  6. 1
         

Source: “Average usual weekly hours worked on the main job,” OECD accessed January 10, 2015, https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS. 

Turkish economy is far from creating enough jobs even compared with developing economies. Since the severe economic crisis of 2001, the unemployment rate did not

33 AMECO data base, European Commission, accessed December 18, 2015, http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/db_indicators/ameco/zipped_en.htm.

34 This is one of the reasons why Gini data of Turkey is found unreliable. See ILO, IMF, OECD and

WB, Income inequality and labour income share in G20 countries: Trends, Impacts and Causes (2015), 14. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/--- publ/documents/publication/wcms_398074.pdf. For official data see World Bank, Gini index, accessed November 3, 2015, http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI.

35 ILO and OECD, The Labour Share in G20 Economies, accessed December 3, 2015, http://www.oecd.org/els/The-Labour-Share-in-G20-Economies.pdf.

36 ILO and OECD, The Labour Share in G20 Economies, accessed December 3, 2015, http://www.oecd.org/els/The-Labour-Share-in-G20-Economies.pdf. For example the difference

between adjusted and unadjusted labor share for United States in 2009 is 2,5. See ILO, Labour income share data, accessed December 16, 2015, http://www.ilo.org/ilostat/GWR?_afrLoop=25485840279469#%40%3F_afrLoop%3D2548584027946 9%26_adf.ctrl-state%3Dt4tjs4o8n_4.

37 “Average usual weekly hours worked on the main job,” OECD, accessed January 10, 2016. https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS. For a similar data see World Bank, Turkey,

Labor Market Study (2006), 83.

38 “Employees working very long hours,” OECD, accessed January 10, 2016. http://www.oecd- ilibrary.org/economics/how-s-life-2015_how_life-2015-en.

fall below 9 per cent except a minor decrease in 2012. This rate is by far higher than many developed and developing countries as Table 9 shows below. To rightly assess the detrimental impact of unemployment rate, it should be read against the labour force participation rate, which is perhaps the most distinct features of Turkish labour market. 

Table 9. Labour force participation and unemployment rate (% of total population ages 15-64), 2014

Unemployment                   Labour force participation rate

 

Total

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Turkey

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 1
  4. 1
  5. 6
  6. 6
         

OECD total

  1. 5
  2. 5
  3. 6
  4. 2
  5. 7
  6. 8
         

Brazil*

  1. 6
  2. 1
  3. 6
  4. 4
  5. 8
  6. 7
         

Chile

  1. 6
  2. 3
  3. 1
  4. 6
  5. 6
  6. 7
         

Indonesia*

  1. 4
  2. 3
  3. 7
  4. 0
  5. 4
  6. 5
         

Russia

  1. 2
  2. 5
  3. 8
  4. 1
  5. 6
  6. 1
         

Mexico

  1. 1
  2. 1
  3. 0
  4. 7
  5. 1
  6. 8
         

India*

  1. 7
  2. 5
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 4
  6. 5
         

Korea

  1. 7
  2. 7
  3. 6
  4. 8
  5. 6
  6. 0
         

China*

  1. 9
  2. 7
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 3
  6. 3
         

* Data for Brazil and Indonesia are of 2013; for India is of 2012; and for China is of 2010.

Source: OECD, accessed December 8, 2015, http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/employment/data/labour- market-statistics/labour-force-statistics-by-sex-and-age-indicators_data-00310-en. 

As Table 9 demonstrates, high level of unemployment endures despite the fact that  the labour force participation rate is as low as 55 per cent, a significantly lower rate compared to world average of 63.5 per cent. The low participation rate might in part related to discouraged worker effect. In fact, according to a TURKSTAT survey, there are nearly 2.5 million people who do not seek employment but report that they are available to work. If we count this group as unemployed, the unemployment rate would rise to 18.5 per cent.39

Low rate of labour force participation is not only but mainly due to low participation rate of women, which is lower than the world average.40 Turkey does not only have the lowest female participation rate in OECD, but it also ranks among the bottom 15

39 “Reasons of not being in labour force by years and sex,” TURKSTAT, accessed January 4, 2016, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007.

40 ILO, Global Employment Trends (Geneva: ILO, 2014), 94.

countries globally.41 Extremely low female labour participation rate is not only a symptom, but also one of the strongest pillars of extensive gender inequality in Turkish society. 

In line with low labour force participation rate, Turkey has also one the highest share of youth neither in employment nor in education (NEET) with a similar wide gender gap. Table 10 below displays the share of youth (15-24) not in employment and not in education (NEET) by sex in 2014. 

Table 10. Share of youth (15-24) not in employment and not in education (NEET) by sex 2014 (%)

 

Total

Male

Female

South Africa*

32

  1. 3
  2. 7
 

Egypt

  1. 9
  2. 3
  3. 7
   

Turkey

  1. 8
  2. 6
 

35

Indonesia

  1. 2
  2. 7
  3. 7
   

Italy

22

  1. 7
  2. 4
 

Argentina

  1. 6
  2. 3
  3. 1
   

Bulgaria

  1. 2
  2. 2
  3. 4
   

Mexico*

20

  1. 3
  2. 7
 

Brazil

  1. 3
  2. 2
  3. 4
   

Greece

  1. 2
  2. 7
  3. 6
   

Spain

  1. 1

18

  1. 2
  2. S.*
  3. 5
  4. 6
  5. 4
       

Thailand

  1. 8
  2. 2
  3. 5
   

Chile

  1. 3
  2. 4
  3. 9
   

Poland*

  1. 2
  2. 1
  3. 3
   

Russia

12

  1. 5
  2. 7
  3. K.
  4. 9
  5. 7
  6. 1
 
       

Sweden

  1. 2
  2. 5
  3. 8
   

Japan

  1. 7
  2. 4
 

5

* Data year for U.S. and Mexico is 2012, for South Africa and Poland is 2013. Source: ILO, accessed December 15, 2015, http://www.ilo.org/ilostat/faces/help_home/data_by_subject/subject-details?_adf.ctrl- state=cat92mhsj_353&_afrLoop=943799505229257.

Youth unemployment rate is 17.9 per cent in 2014.42 As is seen above, NEET rate is

  1. 8 per cent in Turkey. Given that NEET rate refers mainly those who are

41 İpek İlkkaracan, Kijong Kim and Tolga Kaya, The Impact of Public Investment in Social Care Services on Employment, Gender Equality, and Poverty: The Turkish Case (İstanbul: UNDP, 2015), 18.

42 “Labour force status of young people in the 15-24 age group by years and sex,” TURKSTAT,

accessed November 12, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007.

“particularly at risk of both labour market and social exclusion”,43 this figure is alarming. It is alarming not only due to the exclusion of approximately one-fourth of young people from the labour market and education, but also due to its possible negative impacts on gender inequalities in Turkey in the future. The 20 per cent gender gap in the NEET rate indicates that low level of female labour force participation will most probably be reproduced in the future. Female labour force participation rate steadily increases with the enrolment of women to higher education as Turkish data indicates. While only 31.9 per cent of women with high school degree participate in labour force, 71.3 per cent of women with university degree participate in labour force.44 The exclusion of more than one-third of young women from education (and employment) today will most probably end up in lower level of female labour force participation in the future. 

High level of informal employment continues to be one of the biggest challenges of Turkey. This high level of informality is also a gendered phenomenon. Table 11 below indicates annual share of informal employment in total employment according to gender. 

Table 11: Annual share of informal employment in total employment according to

gender (%), Turkey

Year

Total

Male

Female

2007

45,4

40,1

60,7

2008

43,5

38,1

58,4

2009

43,8

38,3

58,4

2010

43,3

37,2

58,5

2011

42,1

35,6

57,8

2012

37,4

31,4

51,7

2013

34,3

28,1

49

2014

35,0

29,3

48,4

Source: TURKSTAT, Employment Statistics, Household Labor Force Survey. Access: 27.10.2015

As Table 11 demonstrates, despite steady decreases in the share of informal employment in Turkey over the years, gender disparity persists. Higher presence of

43 Sara Elder, What does NEETs mean and why is the concept so easily misinterpreted? (Geneva: ILO, 2015).

44 “Labour force status by educational level,” TURKSTAT, accessed November 15, 2015,

http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007.

women in informal employment leads to gender-gap not only in wage incomes but also in social security coverage. 

Regional inequalities in the labour market is also striking in Turkey, as Table 12 presents below.

Table 12: Unempl. rate, LFPR and share of unpaid fam. workers by regions, 2014

 

 

 

 

Turkey

Unemployment rate (%)

Labor force participation rate (%)

Share of unpaid fam. workers within total employment (%)

Total

Male

 

Total

Male

 

Total

Male

 

9,9

9,0

11,9

50,5

71,3

30,3

12,2

4,9

29,5

TR10 (İstanbul)

11,9

10,3

15,6

52,7

74,0

31,4

1,2

0,9

1,9

TR21 (Tekirdağ, Edirne, Kırklareli)

7,6

5,9

11,4

56,3

76,0

35,6

10,3

4,1

25,5

TR22 (Balıkesir, Çanakkale)

5,6

5,3

6,4

48,0

66,1

30,2

16,1

5,6

38,6

TR31 (İzmir)

13,9

10,8

20,1

53,5

72,0

35,3

6,8

2,9

15,5

TR32 (Aydın, Denizli, Muğla)

7,2

6,8

8,0

53,9

69,8

38,2

16,5

4,4

38,6

TR33 (Manisa, Afyon, Kütahya, Uşak)

3,9

3,3

5,1

52,3

72,5

33,4

23,0

7,9

54,3

TR41 (Bursa, Eskişehir, Bilecik)

6,2

5,0

9,0

49,3

70,0

28,9

5,9

2,4

14,7

TR42 (Kocaeli, Sakarya, Düzce, Bolu, Yalova)

10,0

8,2

13,8

54,5

74,4

34,5

10,6

3,9

25,8

TR51 (Ankara)

11,5

9,1

16,9

51,6

72,1

31,6

2,8

1,4

6,0

TR52 (Konya, Karaman)

5,6

5,0

7,3

49,1

73,3

25,7

13,6

5,6

36,3

TR61 (Antalya, Isparta, Burdur)

8,3

6,7

11,4

56,1

73,6

38,9

15,8

5,8

35,6

TR62 (Adana, Mersin)

10,7

9,3

14,1

49,2

70,7

28,3

9,7

4,3

23,4

TR63 (Hatay, K.maraş, Osmaniye)

15,4

14,5

18,1

43,3

67,9

19,9

10,5

4,3

31,5

TR71 (Kırıkkale, Aksaray, Niğde, Nevşehir, Kırşehir )

7,7

7,8

7,4

48,5

70,4

27,4

21,3

8,5

52,4

TR72 (Kayseri, Sivas, Yozgat)

9,6

8,7

12,1

47,9

70,7

25,6

16,9

7,6

42,9

TR81 (Zonguldak, Karabük, Bartın)

6,0

5,7

6,4

52,6

69,7

37,2

24,6

6,0

56,2

TR82 (Kastamonu, Çankırı, Sinop)

6,5

5,4

8,4

53,2

67,6

39,7

31,5

12,1

63,6

TR83 (Samsun, Tokat, Çorum, Amasya)

6,2

6,1

6,6

49,8

67,8

32,7

24,9

9,9

55,0

TR90 (Trabzon, Ordu, Giresun, Rize, Artvin, Gümüşhane)

6,2

6,3

6,1

52,9

68,1

38,2

18,4

6,0

39,8

TRA1 (Erzurum, Erzincan, Bayburt)

7,4

8,6

4,9

50,5

71,3

31,0

30,7

12,9

67,3

TRA2 (Ağrı, Kars, Iğdır, Ardahan)

3,4

4,5

1,2

54,8

70,8

38,2

38,7

17,8

77,9

TRB1 (Malatya, Elazığ, Bingöl, Tunceli)

7,5

6,6

9,8

46,8

67,6

27,1

20,0

8,1

49,0

TRB2 (Van, Muş, Bitlis, Hakkari)

13,5

16,0

6,6

48,5

71,5

25,7

32,4

14,3

77,2

TRC1 (Gaziantep, Adıyaman, Kilis)

8,0

8,1

7,9

43,2

69,0

17,8

9,5

4,6

28,2

TRC2 (Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır)

17,4

19,2

10,6

42,3

68,9

17,5

19,5

10,3

49,7

TRC3 (Mardin, Batman, Şırnak, Siirt)

24,0

23,9

24,8

37,1

64,3

12,3

11,3

7,0

30,6

Source: “Employment status by years and sex (SRE, Level 2),” TURKSTAT, accessed December 11, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007. “Labour force status by non-institutional population, years and sex (SRE, Level 2),” TURKSTAT, accessed November 20, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007.

As is seen in Table 12 above, national unemployment rate is 9.9 in 2014. Unemployment rate varies tremendously in Turkey among 26 statistical regions.45 The highest rate is recorded as 24 per cent in Mardin, Batman, Şırnak and Siirt region, followed by 17.4 per cent in Şanlıurfa and Diyarbakır region. It is important to note that both regions have a history of military conflict and internal displacement of people since 1980s, which then led to the collapse of the rural economy and accelerated unplanned urbanization.46 

Female labour force participation rate also varies significantly among different regions, which is lowest in the very same regions. Female labour force participation rate is 12.3 per cent in Mardin, Batman, Şırnak and Siirt region and 17.5 per cent in Şanlıurfa and Diyarbakır region. Given the fact that lowest male labour force participation rates are also recorded in these regions, low level of female labour force participation rate can partly be explained on the basis of extremely discouraging employment environment. However, as Table 12 presents above, another factor that contributes to this result is the following: The share of women in unpaid family work is one-third in Mardin, Batman, Şırnak and Siirt region and half of women are employed as unpaid family workers in Şanlıurfa and Diyarbakır region. 

Vulnerable groups and their relationship with the labour market need more attention. While it is not possible to cover all vulnerable groups in relation to the problems they have in the labour market in this brief report, five groups are selected to indicate how labour market may reproduce social inequalities between vulnerable groups and the society at large. These five groups are as follows: children, migrants, Kurdish, Roma and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. The rate of child income poverty in Turkey, which is consistently above one-fourth, is the highest among all OECD countries.47 Although decreased in last decades, child

45 “Labour force status by non-institutional population, years and sex (SRE, Level 2),” TURKSTAT, December 11, 2015, http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreTablo.do?alt_id=1007. For details see Table A. in Annex.

46 Hamit Bozarslan, “Kurds and the Turkish state,” in The Cambridge History of Turkey, Volume 4,

Turkey in the Modern World, ed. Reşat Kasaba (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Surhan Cam, “Neo-liberalism and labour within the context of an 'emerging market' economy” Capital & Class 77 (2002).

47 OECD, Child Poverty (2015), 2, Accessed January 17, 2016,

http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/CO_2_2_Child_Poverty.pdf

labour is an enduring problem in Turkey.48 From 2006 to 2012 the rate of child labour for children 6 to 17 years old was steady, 5.9 %, which reveals the end of the earlier decline.49 This means that there are 893 thousand working children in 2012, 292 thousand of which are 6 to 14 years old.50 We observed that persistence of child labour is accompanied by steady rates of poverty among children around 33 per cent in the same period.51 One third of the working children are female, and half of the working children do not attend school.52 Rural rate of child labour (9.6 %) is much higher than the urban rate (3.9 %), which partially explains that nearly half of the working children are unpaid family workers.53 At least 59 children lost their lives due to fatal work accidents in 2013, while the number was 54 and 63 for the following years according to a respected NGO, which records fatal work accidents reported by the press.54 

While Turkey was once an “emigrant country,” since 1990s it has become a “migrant receiving/transit country” with a special concentration of those from ex-Soviet countries.55 It is almost impossible to assess the numbers of migrants residing in Turkey, most of who joined in the informal labour force. Although there are numerous indications of a significant increase since 2000, the estimations ranged between 150,000 thousand to 5 million in 2007.56 Number of female migrant workers in domestic services, who face additional gendered risks, has significantly increased in recent years due to “care gap” in Turkey.57 Tourism, construction, garment industry

48 Sosyal Politika Forumu, Türkiye’de Eşitsizlikler: Kalıcı Eşitsizliklere Genel Bir Bakış (İstanbul: Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Sosyal Politika Forumu, 2010), 73.

49 TURKSTAT, Working Child, 2012 (Ankara: TURKSTAT, 2013), 1.

50 TURKSTAT, Working Child, 2012 (Ankara: TURKSTAT, 2013), 1.

51 TURKSTAT, Statistics on Child 2014 (Ankara: TURKSTAT, 2015), 102.

52 TURKSTAT, Working Child, 2012 (Ankara: TURKSTAT, 2013), 5.

53 TURKSTAT, Working Child, 2012 (Ankara: TURKSTAT, 2013), 8.

54 İşçi Sağlığı ve İş Güvenliği Meclisi, 2015 İş Cinayetleri Raporu (İstanbul: İşçi Sağlığı ve İş

Güvenliği Meclisi, 2016).

55 Gu□lay Toksöz, Seyhan Erdoğdu and Selmin Kaşka, Irregular Labour Migration in Turkey and Situation of Migrant Workers in the Labour Market (IOM International Organization for Migration,

2012), 18.

56 Gu□lay Toksöz, Seyhan Erdoğdu and Selmin Kaşka, Irregular Labour Migration in Turkey and

Situation of Migrant Workers in the Labour Market (IOM International Organization for Migration, 2012), 45-46.

57 Gülay Toksöz and Çağla Ünlütürk Ulutaş, “Is migration feminized? A gender- and ethnicity-based review of the literature on irregular migration to Turkey,” in Turkey, migration and the EU, ed. Seçil

Elitok and Thomas Straubhaar (Hamburg: Hamburg Univ. Press, 2012) 85-111.

are other industries migrant labour concentrates.58 Syrian civil war and influx of Syrian migrants tremendously changed the parameters of migrant labour in Turkey, as the number of Syrian migrants reached to 2.2 million at the end of 2015, which constitutes 2.6 per cent of Turkish population.59 Only 6 thousand Syrian migrants have work permit and nearly 400 thousand of them are estimated to work in an informal way with an alarming number of children among them.60 Agriculture, husbandry, construction and garment industry are the prominent sectors Syrian migrants work generally in much worse conditions than Turkish citizens. At the same time, the introduction of Syrian migrant labour affects domestic labour force; it is observed, for example, that it has a negative impact on female labour force participation.61 According to a study on the subject, Syrian workers receive around 50 to 30 per cent of the wages of the citizens in South-eastern border cities without social security coverage, which render them even more preferable for many employers.62 Rising number of migrants, who lost their lives in fatal work accidents, at least 22 in 2013, 53 in 2014 and 67 in 201563, reveals the hazardous working conditions they have to endure as depicted by field studies.64

The estimation of Kurdish population is around 12 to 15 million in Turkey.65 Quantitative research on working conditions of the Kurdish population is very limited, which makes BETAM research based on 2003 data an important one.66 According to this research, while only 38 per cent of Kurdish people (who report their

58 Gu□lay Toksöz, Seyhan Erdoğdu and Selmin Kaşka, Irregular Labour Migration in Turkey and Situation of Migrant Workers in the Labour Market (IOM International Organization for Migration, 2012), 83-86.

59 Murat Erdoğan and Can Ünver, Türk İş Dünyasının Türkiye’deki Suriyeliler Konusundaki Görüş, Beklenti ve Önerileri (Ankara: TİSK, 2015), 37.

60 Murat Erdoğan and Can Ünver, Türk İş Dünyasının Türkiye’deki Suriyeliler Konusundaki Görüş, Beklenti ve Önerileri (Ankara: TİSK, 2015), 43-46. “Kayıtlı: 3.686 Kayıt dışı: 400.000,” Hürriyet,

accessed January 10, 2015, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/kayitli-3-686-kayit-disi-400-000-40024074. Reyhan Atasü-Topcuoğlu, “Göç ve Sermaye İlişkisi ve Türkiye’de Göçmen Çocuk Emeği” DİSK-AR 4 (2015) 116-125.

61 Murat Erdoğan and Can Ünver, Türk İş Dünyasının Türkiye’deki Suriyeliler Konusundaki Görüş,

Beklenti ve Önerileri (Ankara: TİSK, 2015), 55 and 49.

62 Kuvvet Lordoğlu and Mustafa Aslan, “Beş Sınır Kenti ve İşgu□cu□ Piyasalarında Değişim: 2011- 2014,” Göç Dergisi 2/2, 249 – 267.

63 İşçi Sağlığı ve İş Güvenliği Meclisi, 2015 İş Cinayetleri Raporu (İstanbul: İşçi Sağlığı ve İş

Güvenliği Meclisi, 2016).

64 Kuvvet Lordoğlu and Mustafa Aslan, “Beş Sınır Kenti ve İşgu□cu□ Piyasalarında Değişim: 2011- 2014,” Göç Dergisi 2/2, 261.

65 Hamit Bozarslan, “Kurds and the Turkish state,” in The Cambridge History of Turkey, Volume 4,

Turkey in the Modern World, ed. Reşat Kasaba (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). 66 Seyfettin Gu□rsel, Gökçe Uysal-Kolaşin ve Onur Altındağ, Anadil Ayrımında İşgücü Piyasası Konumları (İstanbul: BETAM, 2009.

mother tongue as Kurdish) worked as regular employees, compared to 57 per cent for those, who report their mother tongue as Turkish. Casual employees, on the other hand, comprised 15 per cent of the Kurdish working population, while the ratio fell to 6 for Turkish.67 Among the urban working population, only 57 per cent of Kurdish people worked in a regular workplace, while the ratio rises to 80 per cent for Turkish workers.68 There are many signs that Kurdish are over-represented in worse jobs such as those in shipbuilding sector69 or among seasonal agricultural migrant workers. Although not all of the latter are Kurdish70, a vast majority of them are; as a recent field study in fact found that the ratio of 72 per cent of working children were Kurdish.71 Overrepresentation of Kurdish people in worse jobs and Kurdish children in child workers might originate from comparatively lower educational attainment among the Kurdish population than general population72 as well as obstacles against the equal enrolment, attendance and performance of children who were born and raised in Kurdish speaking households with children who were born and raised in Turkish speaking households.

The Roma are the most disadvantaged ethnic group in Turkey, most likely to experience a high level of stigmatization and live in poverty.73 The vast majority of them have to work in informal, insecure, low paying, irregular jobs where they are exposed to chronic occupational diseases which force them to quit working by the age of 40s.74 The study finds that the ‘low’ social status that is attributed to the Roma is mainly shaped by spatial stigmatisation and spatially related social perception.75

67 Seyfettin Gu□rsel, Gökçe Uysal-Kolaşin ve Onur Altındağ, Anadil Ayrımında İşgücü Piyasası Konumları (İstanbul: BETAM, 2009.

68 Seyfettin Gu□rsel, Gökçe Uysal-Kolaşin ve Onur Altındağ, Anadil Ayrımında İşgücü Piyasası

Konumları (İstanbul: BETAM, 2009.

69 Nevra Akdemir and Aslı Odman, “Tuzla Tersaneler Bölgesi’nde örülen ve üstü örtülen sınıfsallıklar,” Toplum ve Bilim 113 (2008).

70 Sidar Çınar, Öteki Proletarya: De-proletarizasyon ve Mevsimlik Tarım İşçileri (Ankara: Notabene,

2014) 31.

71 Kalkınma Atölyesi, Mevsimlik Tarım Göçünden Etkilenen 6-14 Yaş Grubu Çocukları için Temel Araştırma (Ankara: Kalkınma Atölyesi, 2013) 32.

72 İbrahim Sirkeci, “Exploring the Kurdish population in the Turkish context,” Genus 56 (2000): 166-

73 Başak Ekim Akkan, Mehmet Baki Deniz and Mehmet Ertan, Sosyal Dışlanmanın Roman Halleri (İstanbul: EDROM, SPF, Anadolu Kültür, 2011) 25.

74 Başak Ekim Akkan, Mehmet Baki Deniz and Mehmet Ertan, Sosyal Dışlanmanın Roman Halleri

(İstanbul: EDROM, SPF, Anadolu Kültür, 2011) 60.

75 Başak Ekim Akkan, Mehmet Baki Deniz and Mehmet Ertan, Sosyal Dışlanmanın Roman Halleri (İstanbul: EDROM, SPF, Anadolu Kültür, 2011) 97.

European anti-discrimination law includes provisions to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity especially in employment and at the workplace. However, LGBT identities have long been denied in Turkey. The invisibility of the group is reflected in the fact that the Labour Law does not address the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment and at the workplace. However, a recent survey revealed their presence in every city, in every social strata and occupational group.76 Research results demonstrate that 78 per cent of those working did not reveal their sexual orientation and/or identity at work.77 In addition, 56 per cent reported that they saw or heard that a co-worker received negative reaction at work due to her/his sexual orientation and/or identity.78 

I.          Health care 

While Turkish health care reform has been presented as a good example by international organisations, there are still serious challenges in health care that are inadequately addressed or remain unaffected by the reform process yet.

Manifestations of inequalities in health care is visible in health outcomes, access to health care services and occupational health. 

According to World Health Organisation data, under-five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births) for Turkey in 2015 is 13.5. While Turkey meets the under-5 mortality target of decreasing the rate to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births, the rate is still relatively high in comparative terms. This rate is worse in Turkey than, for example, China (10.7) and Russian Federation (9.6) and far behind neighbouring country Greece (4.6).79

76 Volkan Yılmaz and İpek Göçmen, “Summary Results of the Social and Economic Problems of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Individuals in Turkey Research”, Centre for Policy and Research on Turkey (ResearchTurkey) IV/6, 97-105.

77 Volkan Yılmaz and İpek Göçmen, “Denied Citizens of Turkey: Experiences of Discrimination

Among LGBT Individuals in Employment, Housing and Health Care,” Gender, Work & Organization (2016).

78 Volkan Yılmaz and İpek Göçmen, “Denied Citizens of Turkey: Experiences of Discrimination Among LGBT Individuals in Employment, Housing and Health Care,” Gender, Work & Organization (2016).

79 “Under-five mortality rate,” World Health Organisation, accessed January 26, 2016. http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_UnderFiveMortality_2015.png

In 2013, the World Bank declared that the prevalence of underweight children in Turkey is 1.9 per cent, up from 1.7 in 2008.80 Underweight children is defined as the percentage of children under the age of 5 whose weight for age is more than two standard deviations below the median for the international reference population in the 0-59 months age group. Also in 2013, the World Bank reported that the prevalence of stunting in Turkey is 9.5 per cent among children under 5. While this rate decreased from 12.3 in 2008, it still reveals the inequalities in children’s life chances in the country. The prevalence of stunting is estimated as the percentage of children under age 5 whose height for age is more than two standard deviations below the median for international reference population in the 0-59 month age group.81 Data indicate that not all children have access to essential immunisation in Turkey. In 2014, the World Bank reported that the percentage of children of age 12-23 months who received tetanus vaccinations before 12 months or at any time before the survey is 85.9, and the percentage of those who received measles vaccination is 84.5.82 While Turkey performs relatively well in both areas, these figures still points at the lingering inequalities in children’s life chances in Turkey. 

Turkey has compulsory public health insurance that covers all its citizens. According to a Turkish Statistical Institute study, the ratio of households with catastrophic health expenditure decreased from 0.81% in 2002 to 0.31% in 2014. The ratio of impoverished household because of catastrophic health expenditure, too, decreased from 0.43% in 2002 to 0.12% in 2014.83 

However, the low ratio of households with catastrophic health expenditure and the ratio of impoverished household because of catastrophic health expenditure in Turkey might conceal the prevailing obstacles against poor people’s access to health care services. For example, a study indicates “poor households are much less likely to seek

80 “Prevalence of underweight in children,” World Bank, accessed January 24, 2016. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.MALN.ZS

81 “Prevalence of stunting in children,” World Bank, accessed January 24, 2016.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.STNT.ZS

82 “Immunisation rates,” World Bank, accessed January 24, 2016.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.IMM.IDPT/ and http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.IMM.MEAS/

83 “Catastrophic health expenditures in Turkey,” TURKSTAT, accessed January 26, 2016. http://www.turkstat.gov.tr/jsp/duyuru/upload/yayinrapor/Katastrofik_Saglik_Harcamalari_2014_EN.pdf

health care than non-poor households, which is consistent with the hypothesis that poor households may not seek health care because of affordability concerns”. After controlling for the medical care seeking behaviour of poor and non-poor, the study concludes that poor households are less likely to experience catastrophic health expenditure as compared to non-poor households. This might be mainly explained on the basis of ease of access to private facilities for non-poor after the reform, which might lead to impoverishment of the non-poor household because of catastrophic health expenditure.84 

Occupational health and safety is one of the alarming issues in Turkey. Most developing countries, including Turkey, lack of reliable data on occupational accidents and underreporting is a major problem.85 A global comparison found that in 1998 fatality rate of occupational accidents in Turkey was 4.2 times as much as the rate of the developed countries.86 Odman underlines that Turkish official data is very unreliable, but even according to this data, fatality rate of occupational accidents in Turkey appears to be five times as much as the average rate of European Union between 2002 and 2008.87 Most scandalous feature of Turkish data is almost non- existence of deaths because of occupational diseases since 2000, whose number was claimed to be zero in 2013 and 2014.88 ILO states that occupational diseases kill six times as many people as killed by industrial accidents89, which were officially declared to be 1,360 and 1,626 respectively in Turkey.90 

Occupational health and safety have become a public issue in Turkey since mid-2000s due to relentless dramatic cases of deaths in large numbers such as sandblasting workers (73 deaths since 2005) and ship building workers (29 deaths only in 2008),

84 Dilek Başar, Sarah Brown and Arne Risa Hole, “Out-of-pocket health care expenditure in Turkey: Analysis of the household budget,” Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series (2012) SERP No: 2012020.

85 Paivi Hamalainen, “The effect of globalization on occupational accidents,” Safety Science 47 (2009) 733–742.

86 Paivi Hamalainen, Jukka Takala and Kaija Leena Saarela “Global estimates of occupational accidents,” Safety Science 44 (2006) 137–156.

87 Aslı Odman, “Avrupa’da İşçi Sağlığı ve İş Güvenliği Alanında Yeni Gelişmeler ve Mücadeleler,”

Eğitim, Bilim, Toplum 41 (2013) 9-37.

88 Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, accessed December 11, 2015. http://www.sgk.gov.tr/wps/portal/tr/kurumsal/istatistikler?CSRT=2576950133235003066. 89 ILO, Prevention of Occupational Diseases (Geneva: ILO, 2013).

90 Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, accessed December 11, 2015.

http://www.sgk.gov.tr/wps/portal/tr/kurumsal/istatistikler?CSRT=2576950133235003066.

followed by many others such as an explosion in a workshop in İstanbul taking 21 lives in 2008, a mine explosion killing 30 miners in 2010, another workshop explosion in Ankara taking 20 lives in 2011, a fire in the primitive barracks of construction workers in 2012 with a death toll of 11. In many of those cases victims were subcontract or outsourced workers, which was not surprising because health and safety conditions for subcontract workers are systematically found to be worse throughout the whole world.91 Weil demonstrates a similar trend in the U.S. where the subcontract workers in mining sector have 40% more risk of fatal work accident compared to regular workers.92 The similarities between working conditions and health risks of miners in Appalachia, U.S. as depicted by Weil and of shipyards in İstanbul - another bastion of hyper-subcontracting and skyrocketing fatal accidents - as described by Akdemir and Odman are quite striking.93 

A new law on occupational health and safety, which was introduced in 2012, was harshly criticized because it has not introduced effective measures to change the extremely lax enforcement and practical impunity of employers.94 In terms of labour inspection rate Turkey ranks 57th among 69 countries from all different levels of development.95 Indeed the new law has not led to a decline in the official number of fatal injuries. 

Turkey’s average frequency of fatal work injury in mining was 15 times as much as England or 9 times as much as Germany between 2000 and 2012. In Turkey that frequency was 12 times as many in private sector as the public uncovering the impacts of subcontracting.96 Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come in May 2014 when the disastrous Soma mine accident took the lives of 301 miners at once.97It is 

91 ILO, The effects of non-standard forms of employment on worker health and safety (Geneva: ILO, 2015). IndustriALL, The triangular trap: Unions take action against agency labour (IndustriALL, 2012), 8.

92 David Weil, The Fissured Workplace (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014) 104-107.

93 Nevra Akdemir and Aslı Odman, “Tuzla Tersaneler Bölgesi’nde örülen ve üstü örtülen sınıfsallıklar,” Toplum ve Bilim 113 (2008).

94 Murat Özveri, “Ak Parti Döneminde İş Hukukunda Güvencesizliğin Kurumsallaşması,” in Himmet,

Fıtrat, Piyasa: AKP Döneminde Sosyal Politika, ed. Meryem Koray and Aziz Çelik (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2015).

95 “Labour inspection rate,” ILO, accessed December 12, 2015. http://www.ilo.org/ilostat/faces/help_home/data_by_subject?_afrLoop=478861483341156&_adf.ctrl-

state=tmls798sl_243.

96 Aziz Çelik, “Organize bir katliam Soma,” Mesleki Sağlık ve Güvenlik Dergisi 49-50 (2014): 4-10.

97 Leonie Guguen, “Turkey’s Treacherous Mining Industry,” Global Worker I (2015): 12-17.

important to note that Soma mine was owned by state before but subcontracted to a private firm, as 97 per cent of the production of the state enterprise of coal mining was subcontracted in 2013. Profit rates of mining sector skyrocketed in the last decade ranking first by far than other sectors, while the sector became privatized mostly via subcontracting. 

II.   Education 

In the last decade, schooling rates have consistently risen and has become around 100% for primary education, 86% for secondary education, and 69% for tertiary education. In contrast to these figures, pre-primary schooling still lags behind with 31% of the 3-5 year old children participating in pre-primary education.98 Concerning net enrolment rates, these figures change: especially for the upper levels of education: net enrolment rate for secondary education is 67% and it is 35.5% for higher education.99 Despite the achievements in schooling rates in the last decades, and the changes in mandatory schooling law which increased the years for mandatory schooling to 8 in 1998, and to 12 years in 2012, the average years of schooling is still

  1. 6 years. Furthermore, according to PISA results in 2012, 21% of 15 year is functionally illiterate100, although the functional illiteracy rate has fallen from 37% in 2003. 
  • Schooling rates

Education Gini variables, which explicates the variation of schooling among the population, also implies that there has been improvements in terms of the access to education in Turkey in the last forty years. However, there are still differences among

98 UNDP, Human Development Report 2015 Work for Human Development (New York: UNDP, 2015),

243. The figures are gross enrollment rates.

99 MEB, Milli Eğitim İstatistikleri Örgün Eğitim 2014-2015 (Ankara: Ankara: Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı Strateji Geliştirme Başkanlığı, 2014), 1.

100 According to the OECD definition “A person is functionally illiterate who cannot engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his group and community and

also for enabling him to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his own and the community’s development.” “Glossary of Statistical Terms.” Accessed December 25, 2015. https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=1279. PISA measures the reading ability of 15 year olds according to six levels of proficiency. These are the shares of students below Level 2. OECD, PISA 2012 Results: What Students Know and Can do: Student Performance in Mathematics, Reading, and Science (Volume 1) [Revised edition February 2014], Accessed December 25, 2015. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results-volume-i.htm.

the individuals in terms of the years of schooling completed.101 In 2012 education Gini coefficient was 0.37, with a significant decline from 0.40 in 2000 and 0.61 in 1975. However, the education Gini coefficient is 0.43 for women while it is 0.30 for men, which means that the variation in terms of the schooling completed among women is higher and men are more homogenous in terms of the years of schooling they received.102

Wider access to education is still a recent phenomenon in Turkey with the rates increasing particularly after 1980s. For instance, schooling rates for high school level was still around 25% in 1990s and it increased especially in 2000s. But Turkey still performs below the OECD average regarding the “number of years at which at least 90% of the school age are enrolled”, since for Turkey this is 9 years, whereas the OECD average is 13, the difference being significantly related to the low percentage of children enrolled in 3-5 age group.103

Findings of a study, which is illustrated in Table 13 below, indicates that schooling rates vary by gender and region. 

Table 13: Access to education by gender, region, and family background, net schooling rates (%)

 

Pre-primary (age 3-5)

Primary and lower middle secondary

Secondary

Distribu tion of the 0-

19 age populat ion

 

Total

 

Female/M ale

 

Total

Female/Male (excluding distance education)

 

Total

 

Female/ Male

Turkey

  1. 7
  2. 9
  3. 1
  4. 97
  5. 4
  6. 9
         

100

Istanbul

27.5

0.89

97.9

0.96

82.2

0.92

16.3

West Marmara

37.4

0.92

94.8

0.96

85.2

0.91

3.2

Aegean

36.1

0.91

95.2

0.96

84.3

0.91

10.6

East Marmara

36.8

0.9

95.5

0.97

87

0.92

8.4

West Anatolia

34.3

0.9

95.5

0.97

85.8

0.93

8.8

Mediterranean

36.6

0.91

93.8

0.96

80.3

0.91

13.4

Central Anatolia

31.3

0.9

94.5

0.97

81.7

0.92

5.3

West Black Sea

38.8

0.91

95.1

0.98

85.8

0.96

5.3

East Black Sea

39.3

0.91

95.3

0.98

90.1

0.95

2.9

Northeast Anatolia

28.8

0.91

94.6

0.97

65

0.88

3.5

101 Ekber Tomul. "Measuring regional inequality of education in Turkey: an evaluation by Gini index." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1 (2009): 949-952.

102 ERG, Türkiye’de Bölge ve Cinsiyet Ayrımında Eğitimsel Kazanımlar (Istanbul: ERG, 2014)

103 OECD, Education at a Glance 2015 (Paris: OECD, 2015), 316. 2013 data is taken from Table C1.1.a. Enrolment rates, by age group.

Central East

Anatolia

 

31

 

0.91

 

94.4

 

0.96

 

64.8

 

0.85

 

6.7

Southeast Anatolia

28

0.91

95.4

0.96

65.6

0.82

15.5

Source: ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), Eğitim İzleme Göstergeleri. 

As is seen in Table 13, secondary school enrolments are below the country average, especially for girls, for the students who live in rural areas, in household with many children, and whose families are employed in agriculture. In the case of young people with disabilities, although the number enrolled in inclusive education has risen to 259,282 in total in 2015.104 

  • 4+4+4 and Distance Education 

Mandatory schooling is organised into three segments of 4 years (the law that is known as the “4+4+4”) and the duration of mandatory schooling increased from 8 to 12 years.105 However, there might be a possible mismatch between the school capacities and the anticipated rise in the high school enrolment rates. Open high schools/distant high school education was accepted as a viable option for completing mandatory high school. However, this should not lead to the systematic exclusion of students with particular characteristics (i.e. socioeconomic status, gender, disabilities) from ordinary high schools. In order to scrutinize this we would need detailed data on open high school education as well as the transfers to night schools and apprenticeship schools (where students work full-time at factories). 

  • Location of Schools and Transportation 

For many of the students, location of schools is an important determinant of access to education. Nevertheless, there is no data on reliance on paid-school-buses to access schools or the distance between students’ homes and schools. The only data available on this issue is the number of students enrolled in “Boarding Lower Secondary Regional Schools”. This data might be considered as an approximation of the number of students for which there is no other schooling alternative around their home. As of

104 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), 20.

105 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2011, (Istanbul: ERG, 2012)

2015, 850,000 students are enrolled in “transporting/mobile schools”, and slightly more than 100,000 are enrolled in regional boarding schools. 

II. School attendance: absences and dropouts 

The high rate of schooling is not the only indicator of access to education. In Turkey, this achievement is undermined by the high rates of absences and dropouts. 

As the students proceed from one segment of education to the other, they might leave education. The socioeconomic status of student, his/her income level and employment status of his/her family members, the number of people in his/her household impacts the chances of the student’s continuation of her/his education. Students who have parents involved in seasonal works and students who are employed are particularly at risk.106 Most recent data show that regional boarding school students have higher absence rates in 2014. A publication of Ministry of Education shares only approximate value on absences: looking at this regional data, the percentage of students who are absent in secondary education in 2013 are the highest in the Aegean region, and the lowest in Istanbul,107 while male students’ rate of absence is about 20% more than female students for all regions.108 However, class repetition is the highest in the Southeast Anatolia with 10%, while again it is more likely for male students to repeat classes for all regions.109 More importantly, early leavers of education for men and women are 35.3% and 41% respectively, which in total is 38% and higher than the EU average of 11%.110 Furthermore, students whose native language is not Turkish have lower attendance rates and achievement.111 Overall, it can be said that in Turkey disadvantaged students are enrolled at primary schools later

106 Kalkınma Atölyesi, Fındık Hasadının Oyuncuları (Ankara: Kalkınma Atölyesi, 2014). Kalkınma Atölyesi, Malatya İlinde Kayısı Hasadında Çalışan Çocuklar (Ankara: Kalkınma Atölyesi, 2014). Kalkınma Atölyesi, Eskişehir İlinde Bitkisel Üretimde Çalışan Çocuklar (Ankara: Kalkınma Atölyesi, 2014). Kalkınma Atölyesi, Adana İlinde Bitkisel Üretimde Çalışan Çocuklar, (Ankara: Kalkınma Atölyesi, 2014). ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), 20.

107 MEB, Ortaöğretim İzleme ve Değerlendirme Raporu. (Ankara, 2013), Figure 7.1.

108 MEB, Ortaöğretim İzleme ve Değerlendirme Raporu. (Ankara, 2013), Figure 7.2.

109 MEB, Ortaöğretim İzleme ve Değerlendirme Raporu. (Ankara, 2013), 204.

110 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), 60.

111Işıl Oral and Eileen Joyce McGivney, Türkiye Eğitim Sisteminde Eşitlik ve Akademik başarı (Istanbul: ERG, 2014), 7.

than the average, and leave school earlier than the average during secondary education.112 

IV.  Differences between and within schools 

There has been amelioration in the number of students per teacher and per classroom in the last decades.113 But still Turkey is lagging behind most of the OECD countries.114 The regional breakdown of students per teachers in Turkey shows similar results, while the rate is higher for Northeast, Central East and Southeast Anatolia.115 On the other hand, the rates for students per classroom are in general higher for Istanbul and Southeast Anatolia.116 This is especially important to consider in understanding the roots of absenteeism as more crowded classrooms also have higher absence rates.117 

The physical conditions of schools are also crucial in constituting equality in access. Differences between schools include the number of school buses and the number of other staff (cleaning, security).118In the previous years there has been accidents in which some students were killed or severely injured.119 Furthermore, the accessibility of school buildings for disabled students has not been ensured yet.

A study concludes that most important determinants of inequalities in access to education in primary school is socioeconomic status, whereas in secondary schooling it is the type of schools and the type of program pursued at school.120 Even more strikingly, when TIMSS 2011 scores are analysed, the variance of scores within a

112 ERG, Türkiye’de Sosyoekonomik Durumun Geç Kayıt ve Okul Terkleri ile İişkisi. (Istanbul: ERG, 2014), 8.

113 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), 23, 73, Eğitim İzleme Göstergeleri.

114 OECD, Education at a Glance 2015 (Paris: OECD, 2015),Table D2

115 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), Eğitim İzleme Göstergeleri. 116 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), Eğitim İzleme Göstergeleri. 117 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015), 55.

118Ayşen Candaş, Başak Akkan, Sevda Günseli and Mehmet Baki Deniz, Devlet İlköğretim Okullarında Ücretsiz Öğle Yemeği Sağlamak Mümkün mü? (İstanbul: Açık Toplum Vakfı, 2011), 52.

119 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015).

120Işıl Oral and Eileen Joyce McGivney, Türkiye Eğitim Sisteminde Eşitlik ve Akademik Başarı. (Istanbul: ERG, 2014), 8.

school, 65%, is higher than the variance among different schools, 35%.121 Regional differences in educational attainment are also striking. 27-45% of the students do not have the basic competencies in mathematics (the highest percentage, 45% is in the South-eastern Anatolia).122 A study using 2007 data concludes that intergenerational mobility has increased in Turkey and the policy makers should especially target groups whose parents have low educational attainment and female students.123 

V.  Child Care and Early Education

Childcare services are administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Family and Social Policy (MFSP). Kindergartens (3-5 ages) and nursery classes (5 years old) are administered by MOE, day care centres (0-5) are administered by MFSP. The child care and preschool education has expanded by 30.5% between 2006 and 2015.124 This increase was mainly centred upon services for 4-5 ages group and led to an increase of the capacity in the preschool classrooms (kindergarten and nursery classes within public primary schools)125. But still Turkey has the lowest pre- school education enrolment among the OECD countries. For the age group 3-5 years, enrolment rates of which was presented in Table 13 before, the percentage for Turkey is 30.6% as of 2012 126. Transition to the “4+4+4” system has disrupted the improvements in pre-school education as MOE has diminished its target for pre- school enrolment127.

Table 14 below shows enrolment rates in preschool education by age group for the academic years between 2009 and 2015. 

121Işıl Oral and Eileen Joyce McGivney, Türkiye Eğitim Sisteminde Eşitlik ve Akademik Başarı. (Istanbul: ERG, 2014), 8.

122Işıl Oral and Eileen Joyce McGivney, Türkiye Eğitim Sisteminde Eşitlik ve Akademik Başarı.

(Istanbul: ERG, 2014), 7

123Aysıt Tansel “Intergenerational Education Mobility in Turkey”. ERF Working Paper Series. (2015) No: 1528. Accessed December 26, 2015, http://eaf.ku.edu.tr/sites/eaf.ku.edu.tr/files/erf_wp_1528.pdf 124 Supply and Demand for Child Care Services in Turkey, 2015 World Bank

125 Supply and Demand for Child Care Services in Turkey, 2015 World Bank

126 http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=FAMILY Turkey is the only country without data for 0-3 age care access.

127http://erg.sabanciuniv.edu/sites/erg.sabanciuniv.edu/files/enews/EIROzetDegerlendirmeENG.25.12.

15.SON.pdf

Table 14: Enrolment rates in preschool by age group, 2009-2015

Years

0-3

3-5

4-5

5

2009-2010

NA

26.92

38.55

NA

2010-2011

NA

29.85

43.10

NA

2011-2012

NA

30.87

44.04

65.69

2012-2013

NA

26.63

37.36

39.72

2013-2014

NA

27.71

37.46

42.54

2014-2015

NA

32.68

41.57

53.78

Source: MOE Statistics (http;//sgb.meb.gov.tr/www/resmi-istatistikler/icerik/64) 

As Table 14 displays, enrolment rates in preschool education increased for all age groups between 2009 and 2015. For the age group between 0 and 3, no data is available. Lowest enrolment rate is recorded in 3-5 ages. 

Figure 2 and Figure 3 below illustrates total number of service providers needed to accommodate all children ages 3-5 by province and total number of children ages 3-5 not enrolled in centre-based care by province respectively. 

Figure 2: Total number of service providers needed to accommodate all children ages 3-5 by province

Source: World Bank, Supply and Demand for Child Care Services in Turkey, 2015, 14.

Figure 3: Total number of children ages 3-5 not enrolled in centre-based care, by province

 

Source: World Bank, Supply and Demand for Child Care Services in Turkey, 2015, 14. 

Both figures demonstrate the unmet early childhood education and child care needs and underline the need for more service providers in early childhood education and child care in the cities including but not limited to İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Konya, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Van. 

IV.  Policy recommendations 

In line with the United Nations Development Program’s focus on Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, Turkey should focus its energy on the development and implementation of redistributive and transformative social policies. These policies are much needed in Turkey to tackle its problems of social inequalities in income distribution, employment, health care and education. A special focus on regional inequalities in this report demonstrates the regional or provincial differences in the intensity of some forms of inequalities (i.e. lack of child care service providers in largest metropolitan cities), which should be taken into consideration in formulating policy solutions. However, the report also indicates that some forms of inequalities are equally significant for all regions, which requires concerted efforts in all regions or overall changes in national policies. In addition, the report notes that there are stark

inequalities within regions as well, which should also not be overlooked in formulating policy solutions. 

Table 15 below shows poverty rates before and after taxes and social transfers for Turkey and other OECD countries in 2011 and the difference between two values that might be used to give a hint about the effectiveness of tax systems and social transfers in tackling income poverty. 

Table 15: Poverty rates before and after taxes and transfers for Turkey and other OECD countries (poverty line 50 %, with income def. until 2011), 2011

Country

Before

After

Difference

Ireland

  1. 414
  2. 094
  3. 32
   

France

  1. 35
  2. 08
  3. 27
   

Finland

  1. 319
  2. 075
  3. 244
   

Germany

  1. 329
  2. 087
  3. 242
   

Belgium

  1. 325
  2. 092
  3. 233
   

Czech Republic

  1. 291
  2. 059
  3. 232
   

Austria

  1. 318
  2. 09
  3. 228
   

Luxembourg

  1. 31
  2. 082
  3. 228
   

Portugal

  1. 327
  2. 119
  3. 208
   

Greece

  1. 358
  2. 152
  3. 206
   

Slovenia

  1. 293
  2. 088
  3. 205
   

Slovak Republic

  1. 28
  2. 083
  3. 197
   

Estonia

  1. 313
  2. 116
  3. 197
   

Spain

  1. 342
  2. 148
  3. 194
   

Italy

  1. 316
  2. 126
  3. 19
   

Denmark

  1. 247
  2. 06
  3. 187
   

Norway

  1. 257
  2. 077
  3. 18
   

Poland

  1. 28
  2. 111
  3. 169
   

Sweden

  1. 265
  2. 097
  3. 168
   

Iceland

  1. 216
  2. 059
  3. 157
   

New Zealand

  1. 247
  2. 098
  3. 149
   

Canada

  1. 246
  2. 117
  3. 129
   

United States

  1. 284
  2. 171
  3. 113
   

Israel

  1. 279
  2. 209
  3. 07
   

Chile

  1. 225
  2. 178
  3. 047
   

Switzerland

  1. 147
  2. 103
  3. 044
   

Turkey

  1. 223
  2. 192
  3. 031
   

Korea

  1. 173
  2. 152
  3. 021
   

Source: Calculated by authors using OECD Income Distribution Database, http://www.oecd.org/social/income-distribution-database.htm

As the table demonstrates, Turkey is one of the countries with lowest value of difference between poverty rate before taxes and transfers and poverty rate after taxes and transfers. Comparatively speaking, this figure points at the shortcomings of Turkey’s tax and welfare system in tackling poverty. 

In tackling income poverty as well as stark inequalities in income distribution, in addition to increasing employment and labour shares, social assistance policies also play a significant role in many countries. In the period after the 2001 economic crisis, social assistance expenditures increased and social assistance schemes were diversified in Turkey. The contemporary structure of social assistance schemes include both funds administered by boards of trustees of local social assistance foundations and funds centrally organized by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies. While locally administered social assistance schemes are mainly discretionary and irregular; nationwide social assistance schemes (i.e. monthly allowance for poor people with disabilities) are standardized and regular. However, even standardized and regular nationwide social assistance schemes are targeted and not universalistic. Universalist forms of income support policies such as regular guaranteed income without categorical eligibility criteria might be better suited to tackle income poverty as well as stark inequalities in income distribution in Turkey. 

With very long working hours and very low earnings in comparative terms as shown in this report, Turkey has to better regulate its labour market in order to create a better working environment. Regulation of the labour market should include, but should not be limited to, measures to decrease (and finally abandon) informal and subcontract employment, increase the capacity of labour inspection and number of labour inspectors, and lift the barriers against unionisation. For example, the new draft law128 which will permit private employment agencies to temporarily hire workers to other firms with a view to enhance labour market flexibility. This draft law –if enacted- and

128 “Belirli şartlarda esnek çalışma modeli getiren tasarı komisyondan geçti”, Hürriyet, February 24, 2016, Accessed on March 22, 2016, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/belirli-sartlarda-esnek-calisma-modeli- getiren-tasari-komisyondan-gecti-40059320similar policy changes might aggravate the problems in the labour market summarised here. 

Collective bargaining coverage under 5 percent is alarming. Much criticized industrial threshold for union recognition must be totally abandoned to let Turkish workers enjoy the right to organize and collective bargaining. The article of the Union Law which allows the government to ban strikes arbitrarily, should be withdrawn. Measures should be taken to decrease the average time of a trial in labour courts, which rose from 284 to 417 days between 2001 and 2014,129 in order to effectively protect workers against acts of anti-union discrimination. 

Turkey has to meet health challenges (i.e. relatively high under-5 mortality, the prevalence of underweight children and stunting among children under 5) presented in this report with more effective public health policies and social policies. While compulsory social insurance scheme for all offers comprehensive health insurance coverage for the majority of the population, the impact of the introduction of flat-rate contributory payments on the poor people’s access to health care services should be carefully investigated.130 Switching to a tax-based financing model in health care services is still a viable policy option, which would be better suited to the Turkish context, where the share of informal employment is sizeable. 

The new law of occupational health and safety enacted in 2012 has proved to be futile. Occupational health and safety specialists and workplace doctors should have job security in order to have the power of action against the will of the employer whenever necessary. The number of labour inspectors should be increased. Penal code and judicial practice should be altered to end the employers’ practical impunity in cases of work accidents.

129 “Hukuk mahkemeleri ortalama yargılama süresi,” T.C. Adalet Bakanlığı, accessed January 5, 2016, http://www.adlisicil.adalet.gov.tr/istatistik_2011/149.pdf and http://www.adlisicil.adalet.gov.tr/istatistik_2014/137.pdf.

130 Volkan Yılmaz, “Changing origins of inequalities in access to health care services in Turkey: From

occupational status to income,” New Perspectives on Turkey 48 (2013): 55-77.

Education is another policy area that historically lies at the centre of the policy attempts to tackle social inequalities. Education system can serve social mobility and public schools can create a social safety net for children. However, public spending on education is comparatively low in Turkey, which limits the transformative capacity of education. While the share of public expenditure on education as per cent of GDP in Turkey is 2.9 per cent, the average share of public expenditure on education as per cent of GDP among other high human development countries is 4.9 per cent. Even for low human development countries, the average share is 3.6.131 Turkey is lagging behind all these thresholds. 

School lunch program132 is a simple but powerful tool to increase regular school attendance and students’ achievement in education. In a country like Turkey where one out of four children is poor, school lunch program would also compensate for the unhealthy diet of most lower class students while also helping to attend school regularly. These programs are helpful in decreasing the rates of absences and dropouts and especially helpful for the enrolment of female students. 

Child care and early childhood education services should be expanded to meet the needs of the population. Affordability and spatial proximity should be ensured in the development of the capacity of child care and early childhood education services. 

UNDP Turkey may support human rights based social policy making in focusing its work on four domains: obstacles against social mobility, limitations on participation to society, understudied manifestations of poverty and institutional transformation of social policies. 

Ensuring equality of opportunity for children and young people is key for human development of modern societies. In this regard, studies on social mobility and the obstacles against social mobility in Turkey will be beneficial. These studies may

131 UNDP, Human Development Report, 2015, 245.

132Ayşen Candaş, Başak Akkan, Sevda Günseli and Mehmet Baki Deniz, Devlet İlköğretim Okullarında Ücretsiz Öğle Yemeği Sağlamak Mümkün mü? (İstanbul: Açık Toplum Vakfı, 2011),

include studies on young people’s access to education and transition from education to employment. Longitudinal studies examining the link between socio-economic status of households with children and young people and their education as well as employment prospects will shed light on different trajectories of social mobility or stability. We believe that these studies will initiate a much-needed public debate on social policies for children and young people. 

Turkey has a significant number of groups whose links with education and employment are rather weak or non-existent. These groups include but not limited to young people neither in education nor in employment –the majority of whom are young women- and people with disabilities who are not employed –the majority of people with disabilities-. Conducting studies on the limitations on these groups’ participation to society will be beneficial as these studies contribute to policy agenda aiming at gaining the lost human development potential. 

Among those groups, it is critical to address the social and economic problems that refugee population faces in Turkey. Turkey and its social policies have been facing a new social challenge especially with the coming of Syrian refugees in large numbers. According to the latest official statement, more than 2 million 700 thousand Syrian refugees live in Turkey as of March 2016.133 Around 280 thousand of Syrian refugees reside in temporary housing centres, while the majority resides in cities. Syrian refugees are recently granted the right to apply for work permits.134 While social and economic problems of Syrian refugees started to attract researchers’ attention for understandable reasons, examining this problem can hardly be separated from already contentious situation of refugees in Turkey long before the Syrian migrant crisis and Turkey’s already deeply entrenched problems of social inequalities.135 Given the

133 “Akdoğan: Türkiye’deki Suriyeli göçmen sayısı 2 milyon 733 bin 784”, CNN Türk, March 10, 2016,

accessed March 24, 2016, http://www.cnnturk.com/turkiye/akdogan-turkiyedeki-suriyeli-gocmen- sayisi-2-milyon-733-bin-784

134 “Suriyeli mültecilere çalışma izni yürürlüğe girdi”, Hürriyet, February 12, 2016, accessed March

24, 2016, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/suriyeli-multecilere-calisma-izni-yururluge-girdi-40053841

135 For example: Umay Aktaş Salman, “Atanan çok kalan az”, Al Jazeera Türk, September 29, 2015, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/al-jazeera-ozel/atanan-cok-kalan-az.

Tülay Çetin Güleç, Al-Monitor, October 23, 2015, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.al- monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/10/turkey-southeast-clashes-pkk-kurds-education-crisis.html# .

limited employment opportunities and two-digit unemployment figures, social tensions may aggravate between refugees and low-income citizens of Turkey. To decrease the risk of aggravating social tensions, more efforts should be spent upon institutional social policy responses to social challenges arising from mass migration. 

These social policy responses should be tailored towards different policy areas. For instance, Education Reform Initiative brings together data on Syrian refugees: currently the number of refugees is more than 1.7 million and about half of them are children of which 70 per cent cannot participate in education.136 According to Human Rights Watch round 400.000 children are deprived of the right to education.137 Therefore, education policy is one critical policy area within which institutional responses has to be designed to integrate children of Syrian refugees into Turkey’s educational system. 

Studies on different dimensions of poverty are not rare in Turkey. Nevertheless, not all dimensions of poverty and inequalities received due attention from researchers. This lack of attention can partly be explained on the basis of the absence of data in some areas. Three areas are particularly noteworthy. First, income, employment and other relevant data for an analysis of inequalities and poverty in Turkey would be very useful to have at the provincial level for individual cities separately. Second, statistics on income distribution could be improved by making decile income shares available in addition to the now available quintile shares. Third, as it has also been pointed out in the interviews we conducted for this study, collecting and providing separate statistics for wage and salary earners and casual employees could improve the income and employment data on status at work. 

Among the dimensions that do not receive enough attention from researchers, rural poverty has been the most striking. While official statistics on poverty consistently

“Bu çocuklar ne olacak?”, Cumhuriyet, January 05, 2016, accessed January 20, 2016, http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/egitim/459031/Bu_cocuklar_ne_olacak_.html. 136 ERG, Eğitim İzleme Raporu 2014-2015 (Ankara: ERG, 2015).

137 Human Rights Watch, ‘When I picture my future, I see nothing: Barriers to Education for Syrian

Refugee Children in Turkey, 2015. Accessed November 9, 2015, https://www.hrw.org/node/282910/

demonstrate that rural poverty rate are higher than urban poverty rate, origins and manifestations of rural poverty is understudied. For this reason, closer look to dynamics of rural poverty will contribute significantly to our understanding of poverty and help us formulate social policies that will tackle rural poverty. In order researchers to examine dynamics of rural poverty, Turkish Statistical Institute should support them with a new methodology that will replace the removed distinction between rural and urban. In addition, official statistics on income and living conditions do not provide province-level data limiting province-wide analysis that will be helpful in formulating policy prescriptions. Similarly, official statistics on income and living conditions should also produce data with gender, age, employment status breakdown that will shed light on diverse patterns of poverty and inequalities among different social groups. 

Social policies have undergone comprehensive transformation in the last decade in Turkey. Nevertheless, reliable sources of long-term data as well as holistic studies examining institutional change in Turkey’s welfare system are lacking. 

As discussed before, a significant challenge to Turkey’s welfare system originating from mass migration of Syrian refugees to Turkey signifies a change in social context within which welfare system is situated. In order to address this lack of comprehensive account on the transformation of social policies in the last decade, more studies should be conducted on financing, monitoring and participation to social policy making and implementation will shed light on the changing dynamics of social citizenship in Turkey. 

For this study, we conducted five key interviews to grasp the relationships between public institutions and civil society organisations in the area of social policy making. In these interviews we asked the informants three main questions. These questions are as follows: 1) How and to what extent you can get access to information and data from public institutions that you need in your field of work? 2) How and to what extent you can share the results of your studies and activities with the representatives

of public institutions and policy makers? 3) How and to what extent you can work with other organisations including but not limited to public institutions? 

To conduct interviews, we selected four civil society organisations working in the broader domain of social policies. These organisations are Education Reform Initiative (ERG), Public Expenditures Monitoring Platform (KAHİP), Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey Research Unit (DİSK-AR), and Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation (SPoD). The rationale behind selecting these organisations was to include civil society organisations working on different dimensions of social policies and with varying institutional capacities.

Without doubt, this is a limited research exercise with a quite small and purposive sample that does not provide us enough data to understand the relationship between public institutions and civil society organisations. In addition to these four interviews, with the aim of understanding the possible shortcomings of Turkey’s official statistical data, we conducted an interview with a researcher working with official statistics of Turkey. 

All informants reported problems in accessing information and data from public institutions. They argue that obstacles against their access to administrative data lead to poor analysis of policies and social problems that hamper their ability to provide grounded policy recommendations. With the exception of Turkish Statistical Institute, public institutions’ decisions to share information and data with civil society organisations and researcher seem to be discretionary. For instance, as our informant from Education Reform Initiative reported, the Ministry of Education started not to share dropout rates with them in last couple of years without providing any reason.

Our informants suggested that distrust between public institutions and their organisations increased over the years. This leads to the loss of collaborative working ethos between public institutions and civil society organisations. In addition, our informants noted that the data collection capacities of public institutions are quite limited. Available administrative data do not allow researchers to make impact evaluations of policies.

While informants’ evaluation of data that the Turkish Statistical Institute provides is generally affirmative, one of our informants noted that inconsistencies within data and/or frequent changes made in categories pose problems to make longitudinal analysis. To exemplify, our informant from the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey’s Research Unit reported that they cannot track “casual employees” in Turkish Statistical Institute’s data -which they need in their research and advocacy activities- after the Institute combined two categories of employment into one.

Analysing the interviews, we would like to underline the fact that Turkish Statistical Institute should be open to inputs from its data users that include researchers and civil society organisations. Turkish Statistical Council should also include representatives from trade unions and human rights based advocacy organisations including but not limited to women’s rights groups. 

Our informant from the Public Expenditures Monitoring Platform underlined the lack of institutional capacity in Turkish Grand National Assembly in informing members of the Parliament on public expenditures. While data on public expenditures are available online, our informant reported that available data do not allow researchers to calculate separately public expenditures targeting women, children, young people and people with disabilities. Lack of abovementioned data puts limit on the public expenditure analysis with respect to questions regarding gender equality policies, youth policies, child policies and disability policies. In addition, using public expenditures data does not allow researchers to monitor all forms of public goods. For instance, total market values of nationalised land under the auspices of Housing Development Administration should also be shared with the public. 

Civil society organisations differ in terms of their access to financial resources as well as their abilities to reach out to public institutions. While these differences partly originate from variance in their institutional capacities, they also result from how their areas of specialisation or “causes” are perceived at the level of public officials and funding agencies. For example, both of our informants from the Public Expenditures Monitoring Platform and Education Reform Initiative reported that they spent considerable effort to share their works with members of the Parliament. Their ability

to do so can be partly explained on the basis of their institutional capacities, as both of these organisations benefit from universities they are associated with. All informants reported that high turnover in public posts limit their possibilities of building trust relationships with public officials. 

Increasing participation of civil society organisations into policy-making processes and creating a constructive dialogue between civil society organisations and public institutions should be a significant policy target. In addition to this, our analysis from a limited number of interviews we conducted with civil society organisations demonstrate that organisations of vulnerable groups have less resources and less access to policy making processes. Therefore, all efforts to widening participation in policy making should take existing power imbalances among civil society organisations into consideration and should be designed to empower the less powerful to voice its concerns.

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