The Contesting Roles of the Hak-İş Trade Union Confederation: Class and Political Identities
This thesis aims at scrutinizing the tension between class and political identities of the Trade Union Confederation Hak-İş from a historical institutionalist perspective. This has been done by putting the transformation of the Confederation’s religious character and its elective affinity with the political Islamic parties in Turkey into economic and political institutional contexts from 1976 to 2017. Setting certain historical episodes, this thesis first analyzes the harmony and tension in the class and political roles of the Confederation by taking into account the Confederation’s responses to the ever-changing post-fordist pressures and incorporation practices. Then the thesis looks at the ways in which the Trade Union Confederation Hak-İş engaged in a privileged relationship with the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) government. By putting a great deal of emphasis on the period of the AKP government, this thesis attempts to offer insights into the ways of politically supported interest mediation that favored the Confederation and how this privileged relationship resulted in the short-term gains of the Confederation at the expense of long-term benefits. Finally, by drawing lessons from the nature of the political exchange between the AKP government and the Trade Union Confederation Hak-İş, the thesis claims that the Trade Union Confederation Hak-İş has become part of a newly-emerged political community around the AKP government that has been consolidating not around class but around an identity axis which will trigger the competing roles of the Trade Union Confederation in the following years.