The Civil Servants' Trade Union (Memur-Sen), the largest civil servants' union in Turkey, has been involved in an alleged government plan to profile employees in public offices, Turkish media has reported.
An article published in the Cumhuriyet daily on Tuesday claimed that Memur-Sen served as a whistle-blower, identifying civil servants who the union board does not like and sharing this information with the government. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is already being harshly criticized for what is often referred to as a “witch hunt.” The government particularly targets certain groups and has been purging every civil servant who it deems to be affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement.
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) earlier this month accused the government of “passing laws to carry out a complete cleanup in the state bureaucracy.” Memur-Sen is criticized for failing to condemn these allegations and keeping silent when the legislation was passed in Parliament. Others have said that Memur-Sen made use of the current government motivation to purge civil servants to help put people it favors into certain state job positions.
The Cumhuriyet article says that recent high-profile purges in the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) were coordinated by the TRT deputy chairman, İbrahim Eren, and Memur-Sen officials.
The CHP accuses the government of “creating a bureaucracy not comprising civil servants, but servants to the government.” A recently passed law in Parliament states that even if a court rules to reinstate a civil servant, he or she may not be able to return to his or her job, as managers that disobey such rulings will not be subject to sanctions. Opponents argue that the law opens the way for arbitrary, unjustified firings that could affect the fates of millions of civil servants.
The AK Party government has responded to a major graft investigation concerning it, which became public on Dec. 17 of last year, by removing police officers and civil servants in the state bureaucracy and judiciary from their posts. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the faith-based Hizmet movement of conspiring against it, saying the graft allegations are a plot. Erdoğan, however, has failed over the past six months to come up with evidence to support his claim.
Published on Today's Zaman, 15 July 2014, Tuesday