Industrial Relations in Turkey

Social Dialogue matters

Wikileaks on Memur-Sen

Thanks to the famous ‘Cablegate’ of Wikileaks, which published about 250.000 diplomatic correspondences of the US, we can get a unique insight in how the Turkish industrial relations and the Turkish labour organizations are perceived in the eyes of the diplomats. Using the website ‘’, we reviewed all the diplomatic communications regarding Turkish industrial relations issues.


Our second search of the wikileaks cables focused on the pious public service union Memur-Sen. In total, 11 cables were found dating from 2004 till 2010. Again, most cables are rather objective press scans. Nevertheless, the last cable, evaluation the 4 February 2010 ‘work stoppage’ reveals slightly how the Memur-Sen confederation is perceived by the diplomats. Here, Memur-Sen & Hak-Is are portrayed as being close allies of the government AKP party. These are nevertheless no secrets.


  • December 10, 2004 (Ankara Embassy – Report on a boycott of US goods): In reaction to US actions in Iraq, several calls for a boycott of US goods were made in Turkey. As such, the Elazig & Rize branches of the Memur-Sen confederation called for such a boycott. American flags were burned andthe greater Middle-East Project of Israel and the U.S.” was identified as the main reason behind the massacres in Iraq.


  • August 11, 2006 (Adana Consulate – Press review): In Adana, members of Memur-Sen protested against the Israeli offensive in Lebanon.
  • August 16, 2006 (Ankara Embassy – Press reaction): Negotiations between the government and the public sector unions started. Kamu-Sen, Memur-Sen & KESK demand a 10% pay raise for public employees and asked for the increase of the minimum wage above 1000 YTL (coming from 477 YTL).


  • August 10, 2009 (Ankara Embassy – Media reaction): Memur-Sen demands a 11% pay raise, collective bargaining with the government is about to start.
  • October 27, 2009 (Ankara Embassy – Report on strike threat): As Kamu-Sen & KESK are preparing for a general strike of the public services on November the 25th, Memur-Sen, ‘the third public sector labor confederation which represents 12 affiliated public sector employee unions, said it does not plan to participate in the strike’. According to the comments of the author, Memur-Sen will rather pressure the government to amend the constitution.


  • February 3, 2010 (Ankara Embassy – Report on looming strike)(3 reports): In the context of the TEKEL conflict, Türk-Is president Kumlu organized a meeting for all 6 presidents of the largest union confederations to discuss their response. On February 2, they all declared to supported the February 4 ‘work stoppage’.
  • February 4, 2010 (Ankara Embassy – Media reaction): Memur-Sen announced that they will not participate in the general strike of February 4.
  • February 5, 2010 (Ankara Embassy – Report on the work stoppage): Although Hak-Is and Memur-Sen initially supported the February 4 ‘work stoppage’, they reiterated and declared not to support the strike.
  • February 10, 2010 (Ankara Embassy – Report on the TEKEL strike): In a report on the February 4 ‘work stoppage’, titled ‘Tekel Strike: Last Gasp For Labor Movement?’, the following note was included: (Note: Hak-Is and Memur-Sen, generally regarded to be more sympathetic to the government, pulled out of the strike at the last minute but declared on February 4 that they were in solidarity with the former TEKEL workers. End note.). In the comment area, the authors declares: ‘The GOT (government) appears to favor harmonious dialogue with sympathetic labor unions that will lead to mutually acceptable labor conditions, although its allies in Hak-Is and Memur-Sen are viewed with contempt by the more militant unions.’

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