Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policies in Turkey: Europeanisation or Ottomanisation?
2. Theoretical Framework
3. Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policies in Turkey before the Helsinki Summit7
4. Europeanisation of Turkish Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policies
“… we try to support and defend Turkey as much as we can but sometimes it becomes impossible … female employment for example is such a sphere that we can’t really defend Turkey … I don’t remember the official statistics but it’s below 25% so how can you really say something positive about Turkey on this? I mean it’s a fact … a very negative one …”
“… unfortunately I can’t see any progress in Turkey since I joined this commission … Of course there are more serious topics … I mean half of the civil servants are imprisoned … But female employment is a technical topic and Turkey had to increase the rate maybe 15 years ago…”
“… Well, Turkey … not good I’d say … in any sense … Yes, Turkey needs work and family life reconciliation measures … Turkey needs more women in the labour market … For all these Turkey needs a clear mind-set change …”
“… I know from our member organisations that one of the biggest problem in Turkey is the private kindergartens… They are so expensive … here we try to raise awareness and make some advocacy activities for free public childcare, there in Turkey our member organisations are saying that the prizes are almost as equal as mothers’ wages … It is unbelievable …”
5. Puzzling Notions within the Legislative Reforms
“… Well, to be honest. Turkey has made legislative changes. Five years ago, none of the policy documents were covering work and family life conflict. Today they at least acknowledge the existence of the conflict. But this time, the solution is problematic. They solve the conflict by excluding women from the labour market, which for us is not a solution at all …”
Legislation on part-time work for working parents has been adopted. The lack of institutions and services to care for children, the elderly and sick people, including for long-term care, continue to hinder women’s employment due to the gender bias for caring responsibilities.(COM, 2016: 60)
Conflicts of Interest
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Particularly during the 2000s, the coordination method of governance became more common in the EU. Unlike the community and intergovernmental methods, it offers middle ground solutions and seeks voluntary cooperation among member states or, at least, to decrease member states’ reluctance with regard to transferring their policies to the EU level and/or adopting EU-level policies to their national level (Borras and Jacobsson 2004; Vural 2011). Rather than finding ‘one size fits all’ solutions to policy problems, this method aims at finding the best solution through practice exchanges among the member states (Kantola 2010).
An official EU document prepared by the European Commission that identifies the reforms needed to be done at the domestic level in order to align the domestic legislative structure to the EU Acquis, together with the financial or technical aid provided by the EU to the applicant country for the reforms (Aldikacti-Marshall 2013; Aydin-Duzgit and Tocci 2015).
The Copenhagen criteria are the rules and laws that the country needs to obey and implement in order to be eligible to join the European Union. They can be summarized, as (1) guaranteeing democracy and ensuring the protection of human rights and minority rights, (2) a functioning market economy and being able to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU, (3) being able to take on the obligations of membership and being able to implement the EU Acquis (Retrieved from: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/summary/glossary/accession_criteria_copenhague.html).
An official EU document prepared by the European Commission that identifies the reforms needed to be done at the domestic level in order to align the domestic legislative structure to the EU Acquis, as well as the financial or technical aid provided by the EU to the applicant country for the reforms.
Acquis refers to all the EU rules, standards and policies (Retrieved from: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/summary/glossary/accession_criteria_copenhague.html).
In his book, Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Esping-Andersen excludes the distribution of care provisions from his typology and focuses more on the relationship between market and the state. He has thus been criticised from various perspectives, especially from feminist scholars. These criticisms have been acknowledged by Esping-Andersen, and when revisiting the welfare typology, he included the care arrangements into his study (see Esping-Andersen 1999; Lewis and Ostner 1991; Orloff 1993; O’Connor 1993).
In 1999, at the Helsinki Summit, the EU declared Turkey an official candidate state (Aldikacti-Marshall 2013). Afterwards, a mutual but hierarchical exchange period commenced between the EU and Turkey. The EU started sending ‘to-do lists’ for Turkey, under the name of the ‘Accession Partnership Documents’, wherein the EU outlines the administrative and legislative amendments Turkey had to make to attain official membership (ibid.). As a response to these official documents, the Turkish government has introduced a number of laws and bylaws, in line with those of the EU, with respect to leave schemes, childcare provision and working time arrangements (Aldikacti-Marshall 2013; Dedeoglu 2012; Ilkkaracan 2010). In other words, it can be said that a Europeanisation process has started in Turkey. Therefore, this paper accepts the Helsinki Summit as a historical marker and explores the period between 1999–2017.
Ziya Gokalp, a Turkish political philosopher, developed a concept called “Turkish-Islamist-Westernist Modernism” and supported combining the technological and scientific innovations, as well the civilized values and norms of the West, with Islam. Gokalp advocated building a new Turkish nationality based on this synthesis (Arat 2012).
The first Civil Code of the Turkish Republic came into force in 1926 and abolished polygamous marriages and husband’s rights on one-sided divorce. It also legalised monogamous marriages and gave the rights of divorce, child custody and ownership of family properties both to men and women. Moreover, women gained the right of suffrage in 1934, primitive maternal leave rights were introduced in 1945, the Law on Family Planning legalised the sale and free dissemination of contraception in 1965 and the same law legalised abortion until the 10th week. Unfortunately, the concept of “head of family”, given to fathers, was not abolished until the introduction of new Civil Law in 2001 (Aldikacti-Marshall 2013; Bugra and Keyder 2006; Bugra and Yakut Cakar 2010; Dedeoglu 2012).
The statement has been dropped from the Code in 2007 through the delegated legislation 24/1/2007 (Municipal Law No: 5393 bylaw 2).
In Turkey, ECEC services fall under the competence of the Ministry of Education or Ministry of Family and Social Policy. While the MoE is responsible for providing a comprehensive care places for children aged 0–2, the MFSP is responsible for children aged 3–6 (Ilkkaracan 2015).
|Accession Partnership Document, 2001||Remove remaining forms of discrimination against women and all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (Employment and social affairs: 8).|
|Accession Partnership Document, 2003||Adopt a transposition programme of the Acquis in the areas of labour law, equal treatment for women and men, health and safety at work, the fight against discrimination, and public health.|
Develop a yearly plan for financing investment, based on a realistic assessment of costs of alignment and of available public and private resources (Employment and social affairs: 8 and 9).
|Progress Report, 2005||… Turkey has not accepted the Article 8 of the European Social Charter on maternity leave of working women yet (p. 38).|
… In the last four years, Turkey made a 68% increase in the number of children in pre-school education yet it is still low … There is still much to be done in this area (p. 137).
|Accession Partnership Document, 2008||Address labour market imbalances. To this end, improve incentive structures and flexibility in the labour market to increase participation and employment rates; improve education and professional training efforts, thereby encouraging the shift from agriculture to a service-based economy (Economic criteria: 7).|
|Progress Report, 2009||… However, gender equality remains a major challenge in Turkey. According to official statistics, participation by women in the labour force is low (24.8% in 2007), and on a decreasing trend. The rate of women’s employment is the lowest among the EU Member States and the OECD countries (p. 20).|
|Progress Report, 2010||... As regards women’s participation in the labour market, the absence of sufficient child-care facilities and the existence of stereotypes all contribute to this (p. 25).|
|Progress Report, 2012||… There has been no progress in measures on improving the work-life balance are not fully in place, and the existing ones mainly focus on women rather than a gender mainstreaming approach … Provision of childcare facilities for working women remained an issue; work on a regulation on parental leave did not proceed (pp. 26 and 65).|
|Progress Report, 2015||… In the field of equal opportunities, there is no progress in increasing women’s low participation rate in the labour force. The lack of institutions to care for children, the elderly and the sick hinders women’s employment and reinforces their role as carers… The legislation and policies on balance of work and private life need take into account gender equality (p. 52).|
|Labour Code 2003 (article 74)||The law guaranteed pregnant woman a total of 16 weeks paid leave with protection from dismissal and the right to return to the same or equivalent position. It also provided nursing employees a total of 1.5 hours of nursing time after the leave, to be treated as part of her daily working time.|
|Labour Code 2003 (article 88)||The law obliged companies employing 100 to 150 female workers to provide comprehensive nursery rooms, and companies employing more than 150 female workers to provide comprehensive childcare centres and pre-school facilities.|
|Labour Code 2003 (article 13)||The law ensured equal treatment between part-time and full-time workers.|
|Municipal Code 2005 (article 14)||The law obliged metropolitan municipalities and municipalities with a population over 50,000 to provide children’s care centres.10|
|Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Education (2009)||The plan set a national target of raising the childcare enrolment rate for the 3–5 age group above 70%.|
|10th Development Plan (2014–2018)||The plan set the target of increasing the preschool enrolment rate for the 4–5 age group from 47% in 2013 to 70% as of 2018.|
|Family and Dynamic Population Structure Protection Plan (2015)||The plan introduced the right to paid part-time maternal leave for employed mothers for the first six months following the end of the maternal leave. It also provided parents the right to flexible working arrangements until their children reach mandatory school age (5.5 years old). It also introduced a five-year tax reduction for newly established childcare centres ran by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy11 and expanded the share of the government budget for elderly care (Retrieved from: http://www.ensonhaber.com/aile-paketi-yururluge-girdi-2015-04-27.html).|
|Reform on Labour Code 2003 (article 74:2)||10-day long unpaid paternity leave to fathers.|
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Kazanoğlu, N. Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policies in Turkey: Europeanisation or Ottomanisation? Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020036
Kazanoğlu N. Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policies in Turkey: Europeanisation or Ottomanisation? Social Sciences. 2019; 8(2):36. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020036Chicago/Turabian Style
Kazanoğlu, Nazlı. 2019. "Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policies in Turkey: Europeanisation or Ottomanisation?" Social Sciences 8, no. 2: 36. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8020036