Top Menu

Dear Reader, we make this and other articles available for free online to serve those unable to afford or access the print edition of Monthly Review. If you read the magazine online and can afford a print subscription, we hope you will consider purchasing one. Please visit the MR store for subscription options. Thank you very much. —Eds.

The Neoliberal Restructuring of Turkey’s Social Security System

Simten Cosar teaches in the department of political science and international relations at Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey. Metin Yegenoglu is a graduate student in sociology at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Webmaster’s Note: As recipients of the print edition and others may note, the manuscript and print editions of this article contained many accented characters—some of which were consonants—that cannot be duplicated with the ISO-8859-1 or UTF-8 character sets for online display. For those characters, the most visually-similar English character was substituted.—Mr. Webb

For almost thirty years Turkish capitalism has taken the form of neoliberalism. Turkey’s subordination to the world neoliberal order started in the late 1970s and was pursued consistently after the 1980 military coup. The coup reflected Hayek’s contention that a transition to “free markets” may require a dictatorship.1 By dissolving political and social opposition, the coup provided the necessary political environment for the shift from the import substitution industrialization that framed economic policy since the 1960s to an export-oriented economics. During the interim regime (1980–83), Turkey experienced a fierce process of depoliticization, which limited the opportunities for an effective opposition against the launch of neoliberal policies. All segments of the labor movement that had made political gains in the preceding decade were banned from politics and the majority of prominent activists were imprisoned. The general elections held in 1983 were a farce. The military rulers banned all political parties that had organic links to pre-coup political organizations and that were in opposition to the coup and the interim regime, and allowed only three political parties to participate.

The winner of the elections was the newly formed Motherland Party (MP), headed by Turgut Özal, architect of the January 1980 stabilization package. This package was the most decisive attempt of the dominant groups in society and polity—the military and business circles—to launch the neoliberal agenda. It eliminated multiple exchange rates and price inspection, reduced the provision of basic goods and services, increased interest rates, provided incentives for exports and foreign investment, and liberalized rules for imports.2 All of these measures required that the organized workforce be suppressed and workers stripped of the rights won through past struggles. Accordingly, the politics of the two consecutive periods (1983–87, 1987–91) of MP rule were that of the neoliberal preference for strict control over wage labor, decreases in wages, and the gradual reduction of public social expenditures.3

However, it should be noted that the onset of neoliberalism involved more than the military ensuring stability and the technocratic implementation of the package of neoliberal economic policies. The 1982 constitution, devised under the auspices of the military, validated the replacement of the “social state” with a new “regulatory state.”4 Hence, by the time of the transition to a civilian regime in 1983, neoliberal restructuring was institutionalized, and the governments that followed either readily adopted or had to abide by neoliberal measures. Consequently, the Hayekian ideal of turning each and every sphere of life into a version of the “free market” marked the 1980s and after. Consider the provision of social services in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. The programs, plans, and reports prepared and implemented in this period show the gradual domination of society by an entrepreneurial mentality. Throughout these three decades, public expenditure on social services was consistently questioned, with the implicit premise being that such services should be privatized.5 Reports prepared by business circles even called for “shock therapy” in line with the Chilean model, though its failure to alleviate poverty is no secret.6 For the Turkish bourgeoisie, the “success” of the Chilean model lay in the policies that were effectively carried out under a dictatorial regime, creating a political reality in which market forces could encroach on social rights without opposition.7

The Law on Social Security and General Health Insurance:
Rationalization and Opposition

The new social security law (Law on Social Security and General Health Insurance) represents a significant step in the ongoing process of the commodification of social security and public health in Turkey. Reflecting their understanding of the experiences with structural adjustment policies in Latin America, the Turkish neoliberals saw a choice between two styles: a radical transformation as in Chile or a more gradual transition as in Argentina.8 The tide of events suggests that Turkish neoliberal policy makers opted for the latter. First, the state curtailed its social responsibilities in the transition to the regulatory state model. Second, the regulatory state itself has been going through a process of dissolution. Preceding the new social security law, policies encouraging private insurance schemes were pursued in the early 2000s, and then a new Labor Law (2003) was enacted, legally consolidating the priority of workfare over welfare.

The current ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (JDP), under whose leadership the new social security law was enacted, is the most decisive adherent of the neoliberal paradigm in all spheres from the legal to socio-cultural. The JDP’s electoral success has allowed it to play this leading role. It is the only political party since the 1990s that has been able to form a single-party majority government. It is also significant that despite its persistent attempts to privatize the social sphere in its first term in government (2002–07), the party made considerable gains in the 2007 general elections. It certainly owes this gain to its synthesis of Islam and nationalism, which appeals to the conservative majority of the Turkish electorate. The party also pursued populist policies on the eve of elections, which further contributed to the party’s success. The JDP’s populism, long espoused by its neoliberal mentors, embraced charity combined with Islamic sentiments. The JDP’s program was also aided by the legacy of the post-1980 political turn, which continues to restrict the activism of the socialist left in institutional politics. This, in turn, has contributed to the fragmentation of the socialist left, to the benefit of the JDP.

The political context in which the JDP, and center-right governments in general, have built hegemonic blocs has been marked by a “patchwork” style of politics. Briefly, the rise of identity politics that began in the late 1980s and gained widespread appeal throughout the 1990s has served to divide the opposition and strengthen the position of neoliberals. The left has so far failed to develop an effective agenda to overcome these divisions.

The JDP’s success has also maintained its political base and convinced voters of the indispensability of neoliberalism by using a liberal discourse, especially in its first term in office. This liberal accent was shown in the party’s commitment to Turkey’s accession to the European Union and the promises that the JDP government included in its National Programs. The promises and the legal reforms made by the JDP support a perception of the party as a liberalizing force against the authoritarian politics of the past. Meanwhile, the party’s conciliatory attitude toward pro-military circles and its opposition to hawkish secularists has allowed it to garner support from conservatives, liberal intellectuals, and youth. Likewise, the party’s relatively tolerant attitude toward the issue of ethnic identity, including state-sponsored broadcasts in Kurdish and the inclusion of a Kurdish channel (TRT 6) in the state radio and television network, have also reinforced this perception. In this respect, it is possible to note that the JDP symbolizes the current model of center-right politics in Turkey. While the past representatives of center-right political identity fell short of standing firm against the military’s domination and a hawkish interpretation of secularism and the Kurdish issue, the JDP seems to have been successful in putting into force a liberal version of Turkish-Islamic synthesis.9 Thus, it might be argued that today’s JDP represents a political identity in the making—one that is constantly reproduced through a fragile amalgam of a conservative socio-cultural outlook, a certain version of a Turkish-Islamic synthesis, and the neoliberal economic program—and the policies that result might appear to have liberalizing consequences.

In the final analysis, the first JDP government (2002–07) can be considered in terms of synthesizing Islam and Turkish nationalism into a neoliberal framework. The Islam that the JDP has been promoting is Islam as a cultural phenomenon rather than political Islam. This state of affairs works to the advantage of the party in three respects. First, appealing to Islam on a socio-cultural basis helps the party to fend off the claims of the hawkish secularists that the JDP is a pro-Islamist political party. Second, it works to convince the Western allies of Turkey that the JDP is the best possible example of a moderate Islamic standpoint—one which neither denies Western values nor Muslimhood as the most comprehensive cultural trait of the Turkish population. Third, it is also functional in terms of reproducing the already established connection between Muslimhood and Turkishness, thus giving the party a centrist appearance. The JDP’s version of nationalism, however, can be considered a “banal nationalism.”10 Though the party differs from the statist and hawkish nationalists in its approach to the Kurdish and Armenian issues, its deeds on these issues have been mainly of a lip service character.

All in all, the success of the JDP in two subsequent general elections and in the rapid enactment of the Law on Social Security and General Health Insurance should be read in terms of: (1) its liberal version of a Turkish-Islamic synthesis, which combines a neoliberal approach to poverty with Islamic charity networks; (2) the failure of the center-left to propose alternatives to neoliberalism; as well as (3) the failure of the left to appeal to the populace in terms of rights that go beyond the abstract liberal notions of equality and liberty.

When the JDP government began complaining about the existing social security system in 2002 they stressed three points: its costs were out of control, the system was fragmented, and it made the labor market less flexible. First, they argued that the previous system had become a black hole, absorbing invaluable financial resources from the national budget and yet still failing to fulfill its functions properly. If this continued, the whole system would collapse. According to the neoliberals, the financial solvency of the social security system was being destabilized by the early retirement age, high rates of informal employment, high levels of retirement benefits, short contribution periods, systemic failures to collect premiums, and the systematic efforts by employers and, to a lesser extent employees, to underreport wages earned in order to minimize premium payments.11 Therefore, contributions to the system had to be increased and costs reduced by increasing premiums paid, extending the contribution period, and limiting benefits received.

There were problems with Turkey’s social insurance mechanisms. They were designed to function as self-sustaining systems, but they did not have an autonomous structure that would have allowed them to make investments to increase their resources. In addition, national governments often intervened and used their resources to finance other projects.12 As a result of the periodic populist policies that placed undue burdens on these institutions, they began to show deficits and had to rely on transfers from the state budget. This destabilization of the funds fueled the political hysteria affecting all successive governments, culminating in the proposals for social security reform. However, in all of the reform proposals, it was clear that the burdens of reform were to be borne by the workers.

The second neoliberal argument criticized the fragmentation of the social security system. Social security was provided through three main institutions, serving different occupational groups: the Pension Fund for Civil Servants (1949), the Social Insurance Institution (1964) for contracted laborers, and the Social Security Organization for the Self-Employed (1971). The latter two entities also had special arrangements for those making a living in agriculture, either as contracted workers or as owners of business (1983). This fragmented structure and the lack of uniformity in norms and standards created hierarchies among the beneficiaries of social insurance.13

In addition to these, the Social Assistance and Solidarity Encouragement Fund was instituted in 1986 with the aim of aiding the poor and destitute (Article 1). However, the fund did not have a stable financial basis and service provision was arbitrary.14 Another similar arrangement that targeted the poorest of the poor was the Green Card system (1992). The government issued green cards, to be handed out to those in poverty, and these cards enabled them to receive health services in state-sponsored hospitals without making any payments. At the beginning, the system covered only the expenses of in-hospital treatment; it was anticipated that the costs of outpatient treatment or the costs of medicine should be covered by the Social Assistance and Solidarity Encouragement Fund (Article 11). In 2004, this law was amended, and as of 2005, green card holders benefited from all health-related services without having to make any payments. While this made the JDP more popular among the poor, it also led to complaints that benefits provided through the Green Card system motivated people to misuse and abuse the system. It was alleged that most of the people benefiting from the free medicine provided through the system were not actually in poverty. There were so many rumors that after some time it became impossible to tell urban legends from fact. As a panacea for these problems, the JDP trumpeted the idea of integrating these institutions under one national institution, namely, the Social Security Institution. The initial measures that the first JDP government took were tactful, in that they appealed to popular frustration with the hierarchical and fragmented nature of the old social security system. One such measure that the JDP used to mitigate the dire consequences of its neoliberal agenda was the standardization of the right to health. Briefly, the insured, regardless of the institution, gained the right to apply to all hospitals (public and private) for treatment.15

The third reason was the supposedly rigid structure of the labor market.16 It was argued that the previous legislation made employers reluctant to employ more workers and created a tendency towards informal employment. Here, the mentality behind the newly enacted Labor Law was echoed: work security meant first and foremost the security of the employer. In this perspective, employer security is assumed to encourage investment and to result in a decrease in the levels of unemployment and in the reduction of informal labor. The state is envisaged as “an ‘enabling state’ that exists to protect a limited set of private rights, and to create the conditions for the flourishing of markets.”17

Immediately after the enactment of the Labor Law, the JDP government prepared the Transformation in Health Program (2004). This introduced the basic concepts of the social security law that it first tried to implement in 2006.18 However, that law was challenged in the Constitutional Court by then president Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The court ruled that the law violated the constitution. The JDP government then decided to carry on the reform process, by taking into account the grounds of the ruling.

As part of the revision process, the JDP in 2008 tactically and cynically resorted to seeking the consent of the Labor Platform, formed by workers’ and civil servants’ unions and democratic mass organizations. However, this last minute maneuver by the party was nothing beyond a token gesture of “searching for social consensus.” The proposals of the Labor Platform that benefited the working class and the disadvantaged were given scant attention, and most of them were rejected by the government.19 Furthermore, the information on the law disseminated by the mainstream media was for the most part provided by the leading cadres of the JDP government and/or by neoliberal economists.

Despite the attempts of opposing social groups (most prominently the Labor Platform and the Initiative to Improve Women’s Labor and Employment) dissenting voices were largely ignored by media. Thus, public consciousness was oriented to the need for, and not to the “how” of the reform, reflecting the consolidation of the shift in class “alliance between the bourgeoisie, bureaucracy, and the workers.”20 Thus, the workers in the informal sector, who did not benefit from the previous “corporatist insurance system,” were encouraged to ally themselves with those who were, in fact, their class enemies.21

Contributing to this state of affairs was, of course, the government’s adoption of the neoliberal hostility to labor activism, most recently attested by the brutal crushing of the May 1, 2008, worker demonstrations by the police forces. Likewise, the patchwork “populist” style of politics that we noted above proved useful: The law on social security got quick parliamentary approval in the midst of distracting discussions around the headscarf issue, which were revived during the deliberations on constitutional reform.

The Law—Commodifying Human Life, Once Again!

The new law on social security is comprised of two sections: social insurance and health insurance. In many respects, the law curtails the rights of the working population, increasing the costs of social insurance for the employed while, at the same time, limiting the kinds and the levels of the benefits received. It substantiates the pay-as-you-go structure of the social insurance system in Turkey by collecting premiums for social insurance and general health insurance separately, introducing marginal payments for health services, and depriving those with premium debts of the protection and services offered. On the positive side, the legislation establishes the state’s responsibility to make contributions to the social security system. However, the state’s contribution is fixed at a very low level, comprising only one-fourth of the premiums collected.

The law claims to address the problems of the old social security system by raising the retirement age, lengthening the contribution period, and reducing retirement, disability, and survivor benefits and pensions. As for health insurance, it includes the application of additional fees and marginal payments for health services received, and raises to the highest limit the additional fees that can be demanded from the insured individual and her/his dependents.

The law anticipates the gradual fixing of the retirement age at sixty-five for both men and women, with a contribution period of 7,200 workdays. Proponents rationalize this change by pointing out the aging of the population, presumably a source of grave problems in the imminent future. Ironically, however, Turkey has a young population with relatively high birth rates. The ratio of the aging population to the whole population for the years between 1995–04 was 5 percent, while for the years 2004–07 it was 6 percent. Aging may create problems in the future, but that future is not near. It is not age but rather the scarcity of employment opportunities that is the most pressing problem that the Turkish economy faces. Thus, neither the diagnosis nor the prescription is correct.

In Turkey, as elsewhere, employers are reluctant to employ people over fifty. When there is an abundance of unemployed young workers, employers are more than eager to replace older people with them. A high retirement age is then bound to cause problems for older workers. Even when insured workers fulfill the condition of 7,200 working days, they need to wait until the age of sixty-five to be entitled to retirement benefits. Since they obviously cannot just wait, they need to keep on working if they can. In many cases, this is virtually impossible. Thus, it is more than likely that fixing the retirement age at sixty-five will increase poverty in Turkey.

And, supposing that workers do reach the legal retirement age, will they be able to maintain a decent standard of living? As a result of other changes in the law this is not very likely. Under the previous law, the first ten years of working life contributed to the retirement pension the most, with the contribution ratio decreasing over time. In the new system, the proportion of income contributed to the retirement pension is a constant 2 percent. This serves two purposes. First, it seems to encourage the workers to work longer. However, it also discourages work: if workers decide to carry on working after retirement, cutbacks of 30 percent from their wages are made. Second, it reduces the income levels at retirement: before the law the total (average) ratio contributing to the retirement pension was 2.6 percent, after the law it is 2 percent.

The legislation also reduces the correction factor used in the calculation of the retirement pension from 100 to 30 percent of the growth in GDP. In the case of widows and orphans, monthly pay is recalculated only on the basis of the inflation rate, and they are not allowed a share from the growth in GDP. Similarly, the minimum level of payments to seasonal workers, temporary workers, and part-time workers have been eliminated, as have the minimum level for monthly payments to those who have suffered an occupational accident or illness resulting in a disability of 25 percent or more.

The cut in benefits is accompanied by an increase in the costs to recipients for the social services provided. With respect to health insurance, for every service received additional contributions and marginal payments are demanded from the insured. The law has been promoted as providing health security to the whole population and is a mandatory insurance plan, which for the JDP means universal health insurance. However, everyone, except those with a monthly income of less than one-third of the minimum wage, is required to pay premiums at the rate of 12.5 percent of income. The premiums for people currently holding a green card—if they still qualify for it after the means-testing under the new legislation—and for those under the age of eighteen are paid by the state. The law says that those with premium debts will be denied health security benefits, and the Social Security Institution is authorized to enforce these debts through property seizure. However, even regular premium payments do not entitle the insured to free-of-charge services.22

It is clear that the new law contains arrangements that further deepen the already existing insecurity and poverty among the working population. And for the specifically disadvantaged social groups the situation is worse. For example, for women, the largest disadvantaged group in Turkey, the formal equality of the law masks factual inequalities. One example is the equalizing of the retirement age for men and women. The argument for a different retirement age of men and women is based on the disadvantaged position of women on the one hand, and the additional burden of unpaid domestic labor on the other. The difference is a kind of positive discrimination that serves to compensate the additional work done by women.23 This, the new law precludes.

Here, we are not arguing that the previous social security structure was supportive of women’s emancipation. On the contrary, that law too worked for the reproduction of the exploitative mechanisms of patriarchy and the dominance of capital. What is new is the deepening of the patriarchal setting of social life and the domination of capital under the liberal mask of equality and liberty—certainly defined in terms of the market. As Gülnur Acar Savran notes in her analysis of the draft law on social security and general health insurance, “the old law foresaw women’s dependency to the family and that they would not work outside the home.”24 The current regulations, in contrast, while treating women the same as men in the labor market—thus fulfilling the liberal resolution for gender equality—also force an increase in women’s domestic labor.25 This state of affairs amounts to a deepening of the double servitude of women rather than their emancipation. For example, the cut in survivors’ pensions are detrimental to women, since they comprise the majority who benefit from these pensions. In this respect, the policymakers were careful not to skip anything when it entailed the curtailing of rights, but in matters such as funeral and breastfeeding aids, they relegated the authority to the Social Security Institution. The legislation does not contain any legal mandate as to the level of payments for such aids. It is the authority of the Social Security Institution to decide the level, making the provision and the level of the aid arbitrary. As a result of these arrangements, the legislation is most likely to increase the “feminization of poverty” in Turkey.

Within the area of health insurance, too, women will bear the most negative impacts of the legislation. The previous system granted women the right to health service benefits as dependents of their fathers, so long as they were not themselves employed or married. With the new legislation, just as men are excluded from the coverage of social insurance coverage as dependents of their families upon reaching the age of eighteen (or twenty-five if they are in college), women also are excluded from health insurance coverage as dependents of their families. Considering the low rates of women’s employment in Turkey, it is clear that the regulation forces a large portion of the population out of the social security system. That women are no longer entitled to health security as the dependents of their families forces them either into marriage, to benefit from insurance as the dependent of a husband, or into accepting unfavorable working conditions.

Moreover, within a patriarchal family structure, it is the man who decides how the family spends its money and since the new legislation anticipates additional charges and payments upon receiving health services, it is more than likely that most women and many children will not receive medical services. Read in terms of the smooth synthesis between neoliberal economic preferences and conservative sociocultural ones, such policies clearly demonstrate the kind of society the JDP government has in mind, and testifies to how damaging conservative governments can be for the material conditions of women.26 Thus, the percentage of women participating in the workforce has steadily declined throughout the JDP’s term in government.27

Lastly, though the alleged rigidity of the labor market is not mentioned in official documents, it was a frequent theme in the speeches made by the leading cadres and economists of the JDP. Unemployment and informal employment are the two major problems for the Turkish economy in general and the social security system in particular. The situation is acute; the combined rate of formal and informal employment is around 50 percent.28 A great proportion of families earn wages below the subsistence level, many having little or no access to social security. Commodification has only deepened inequalities and reinforced hierarchies. As discussed above, the legislation entails coverage for those working in flexible employment: Upon their “request” and “wish,” and by paying the anticipated premiums, they can benefit from the security afforded by the system. In other words, the legislation entails theoretical inclusion but actual exclusion.

Indeed, the high rates of unemployment and informal employment put the lie to the claim that labor markets in Turkey have a rigid structure.29 What is rigid is the profits of the capitalists. They have not invested in production, but have tried since at least the early 1980s to make money through money, refusing to make investments in the production of either goods or services. The gap created by the gradual retreat of the state from such production was to be filled by private enterprises. However, the capitalists have sought high profits by investing in the real estate of formerly public enterprises. In such circumstances, it is more apt to talk about the rigidity of capitalism’s obsession with profits than the rigidity of the labor market.

In this respect too, women are the most disadvantaged group. In many speeches, JDP members emphasized that the protection afforded to women precluded their chances of employment. Even minor contributions, such as the opening of daycare centers in the workplace, are seen as unnecessary costs. It is not that the capitalists in Turkey do not want women to join the labor force. They just want them to be employed in particular ways (which also fit a patriarchal way of doing things), in short-term, flexible arrangements entailing no prestige, security, or benefits. It is no surprise that there are no arrangements within the legislation that establish incentives for women’s employment: there are no quotas, no promotions. The legislation only serves to diminish the conditions of women, forcing them to accept whatever employment they can find, under whatever terms. In a patriarchal setting, forcing women into the labor market means accepting the exploitative conditions rather than helping them to free themselves of their dependent positions in their families.

In summary, the recipe of the JDP government for improving the financial balance of the social security system has been to transfer the burden of the system to the insured. With the previous system, the main problem was low deposits into the system, resulting from the state’s lack of contribution, the informal market, and increasing poverty, intensified by the insecure, flexible labor market. The new framework does not resolve these issues.

Whose Security Is It?

Neoliberal ideology considers social security spending to be an injurious intervention into the functioning of the market. In a market setting, every good has a price and social security is no exception. To ensure this, neoliberal policy makers around the world, with support from international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization, inaugurated a rigorous attack against state-sponsored social security systems. To a great extent, they have succeeded in attaining their objectives. Definitive in this turn of events was the rigid and unyielding power of capitalism, which demanded an end to working-class security, as well as the exclusion of a greater part of the population from the social security system. The result has been the deepening and diversification of poverty.30

In Turkey, in each reform initiative since the early 1990s, governments have tried to finance deficits by increasing the contributions made by individuals, gradually turning a social right into a commodity. The new legislation is the ultimate step in the exclusion of social security from the rights of citizens. Thus, either security must be obtained in the marketplace or it must be gained as a result of another person’s or institution’s benevolence. The combination of charitable work with market priorities has long been an asset of the new right. The JDP is not an exception in this respect, since works of charity, colored with Muslim sentiments, are both in line with the neoliberal mentality and more profitable politically. The end results turn citizens into customers and dissolves the state as an institution with responsibility for the well-being of its citizens. Political space is modeled after the marketplace.

It is legitimate, in these circumstances, to ask, whose security is it? It is certainly not the security of the citizens who encounter hardships during their work life or at retirement, and it is not the security of the poor, the destitute, and the disadvantaged. Rather, it is the security of those who are able to afford it. Meanwhile, the security of the capitalists and their profits has been maintained and strengthened. The law on social security repeals all that can be considered protective legislation. In this respect, there is nothing social in it. Pursuing the neoliberal path, the legislation teaches us that every commodity has a certain price in the market, that our life is itself a commodity.


  1. Quoted in Michael A. Lebowitz, “Ideology and Economic Development,” Monthly Review 56, no. 1 (May 2004).
  2. Nazif Ekzen, “1980 Stabilizasyon Paketinin 1958, 1970, 1978 Paketleri ile Karsilastirmali Analizi,” in Ilhan Tekeli et al., Türkiye’de ve Dünya’da Yasanan Ekonomik Bunalim, (Ankara: Yurt 1984), 166-177.
  3. Bagimsiz Sosyal Bilimciler (BSB), 2008 Kavsaginda Türkiye, Siyaset, Iktisat ve Toplum (Istanbul: Yordam Kitap, 2008), 222.
  4. BSB, 2008 Kavsaginda Türkiye, 222-23.
  5. BSB, IMF Gözetiminde On Uzun Yil: Farkli HükÜmetler, Tek Siyaset (2006), 45ff,
  6. Immediately after the launch of the neoliberal restructuration program under the Pinochet regime the poverty ratio increased tremendously in Chile, amounting to 38.6 percent in 1990. Likewise, as of 2005 the poverty ratio for the whole Latin American region was recorded as 39.8 percent. See CEPAL, Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean, 2006 (Chile: UN Publication, 2007), 74.
  7. Gamze Yücan-Özdemir and Ali Murat Özdemir, Sermayenin Adalet, Türkiye’de Emek ve Sosyal Politika (Ankara: Dipnot 2008), 173-74.
  8. Carmelo Mesa-Lago and Katharina Müller, “Politics of Pension Reform in Latin America,” Journal of Latin American Studies 34 (2002), 687-715; Asa Cristina Laurell, “Structural Adjustment and the Globalization of Social Policy in Latin America,” International Sociology 15, no. 2 (June 2000), 306-25.
  9. For a detailed analysis of the liberal version of Turkish-Islamic synthesis materialized in the discourse of the JDP see Simten Cosar, “Turkish Nationalism and Sunni Islam in the Construction of AKP, BBP and MHP Identities,” in A. Kadioglu and E. F. Keyman, eds., Symbiotic Antagonisms: Competing Nationalisms in Turkey (University of Utah Press, forthcoming).
  10. Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage 1995/Reprint 1997).
  11. Çalisma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanligi, Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanligi (March 16, 2008), 4-6,
  12. Ayse Bugra, “Ekonomik Kriz Karsisinda Türkiye’nin Geleneksel Refah Rejimi” Toplum ve Bilim, 98 (2001), 22-30.
  13. Bugra and Sinem Adar, “Social Policy Change in Countries without Mature Welfare States: The Case of Turkey,” New Perspectives on Turkey 38 (Spring 2008): 83-106.
  14. Tülay Arin, “The Poverty of Social Security: The Welfare Regime in Turkey,” in Nesecan Balkan and Sungur Savran, The Ravages of Neoliberalism: Economy, Society and Gender in Turkey (New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2002), 87-88. For the abritrariness in the allocation of the Fund see, BSB, 2008 Kavsaginda Türkiye, 245-46.
  15. For an analysis of the JDP’s version of social security see Asena Günal, “Saglikta Dönüsüm: Iki Aspirin Al, Geçer!,” Amargi 8 (2008), 36-38.
  16. Özlem Onaran, “Adjusting the Economy through Labor Market: The Myth of Rigidity,” in Balkan and Savran, 181-94.
  17. Ioannis Glinavos, “Neoliberal Law: Unintended Consequences of Market-Friendly Reforms,” Third World Quarterly 29, no. 6 (2008): 175.
  18. For a comprehensive analysis of the program, the shifting class alliance manifested in the program, and the opposition see, Tuba I. Agartan, Turkish Health System in Transition: Historical Background and Reform Experience, unpublished dissertation (New York: State University of New York, 2008), 290-317.
  19. BSB, 2008 Kavsaginda Türkiye, 252-56.
  20. Agartan, Turkish Health System in Transition, 122.
  21. Ibid., 292-93.
  22. Upon entering the health institutions, the insured pays TL 2 as an additional contribution. S/he also pays 10 to 20 percent of the prescribed drugs, prostheses and/or ortheses. If the insured goes to a private hospital, s/he pays the 20 percent of any kind of expenses.
  23. Gülnur Acar Savran, “SSGSS, Görünmeyen Emek ve Feminist Politika,” Amargi 8 (2008): 16-19; Nükhet Sirman, “Sosyal Güvenligin Öznesi,” Amargi 8 (2008): 20-21; Asli Çoban, “Kadinlarin Sosyal Güvenlikten Dislanmasi Nasil Gerçeklesir?,” Amargi 8 (2008): 28-29.
  24. Savran, “SSGSS, Görünmeyen Emek ve Feminist Politika,” 16.
  25. Ibid.
  26. KEIG, Sosyal Sigortalar ve Genel Saglik Sigortasi Yasa Tasarisi Kadinlara Nasil Bir “Sosyal Güvenlik” Vaat Ediyor? (Ankara) (March 2008); M. Kadriye Bakirci, “Sosyal Sigortalar ve Genel Saglik Sigortasi Kanunu Degisikligi Hakkinda Degerlendirme ve Degisiklik Önerileri,” (Istanbul) AKDER (2008),
  27. As of 2005 the rate of women’s employment was 24.8 percent. This decline has already been underway since the mid-1980s. Between 1985 and 1990 women’s employment declined from 43 percent to 34 percent and to 26.4 percent in 2004, and finally to 24.8 percent in 2005. Aysun Sayin, ed., “Kota El Kitabi,” (Istanbul) Ka-Der (August 2007).
  28. The figure belongs to 2005. BSB, IMF Gözetiminde On Uzun Yil, 55-56.
  29. Onaran, “Adjusting the Economy through the Labor Market.”
  30. Bugra and Çaglar Keyder, “Poverty and Social Policy in Contemporary Turkey,” Bogaziçi University Social Policy Forum, January 2005,
2009, Volume 60, Issue 11 (April)
Comments are closed.