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Dr. Didem Ozkiziltan

Freie Universität Berlin

Center for Area Studies

Institute for East-European Studies

Postdoctoral Fellow

Institute for East-European Studies
Garystraße 55
Room 108
14195 Berlin

I began my academic life at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, Turkey as an undergraduate at the Department of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations. Subsequently I enrolled in master of art course at the same institution. Following successful completion of my master, I was awarded Jean Monnet European Scholarship to pursue a Master of Research degree in Social Policy at the University of Bath. I continued my postgraduate study at Bath as a PhD student with the generous funding of the University of Bath’s University Research Scholarship. I completed my PhD in 2014 and following this, I have joined the FU as a DRS Point Fellow. I have also continued my association with University of Bath as a visiting fellow at the Department of Social Policy and Science.

The current situation of Turkey’s employment relations & social policies and development of labour-capital relations in Turkey in historical process; especially in process of Turkey’s integration with global economy lay at the heart of my research interests. My research especially focuses on the way the related parties i.e. the employers, labour unions, various NGOs, international organisations, political actors define and defend their interests during (re)institutionalisation of social policies and employment relations. I am particularly interested in analysing the actors’ interaction with each other in the course of policy making and their influence on the institutional structures. To date, I have worked in three different research areas: the steps that Turkey has taken in the area of social policy in the process of the country’s accession to the European Union, conceptualisation of political economy of security and historical development of Turkey’s industrial relations.

Title of research project:

The unrelenting face of development: Fading voice of workers in AKP’s Turkey

Focus of research:

This study aims to provide insight into the role of the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi - The Justice and Development Party) government and that of socio-economic actors i.e. capital and labour in (re)construction of Turkey’s contemporary industrial relations.


Political economy of insecurity, employment relations and AKP, historical institutionalism, trade unions and collective bargaining in contemporary Turkey

Regional focus:



The AKP government has re-institutionalised Turkey’s three-decade old collective labour legislation in the year 2012 on the justification of country’s need for a change in the rules regulating the employment relations. However, according to the proponents of labour rights operating at national and international levels, provisions of the new bill that is slotted to replace the old law; neither improves Turkish Laws’ compliance with international labour standards nor does it meet the security demands of Turkish labour.

Against this background, this project investigates the way the current AKP government has created and managed what I call “the political economy of insecurity” in employment relations with a special focus on collective aspect of it. In order to achieve so, the study places capital, labour and state in a wider politico-economic and social global context and analyses their circumstances, interests and interactions in the process of most recent re-structuring of Turkey’s collective employment relations system.

This project employs the conceptual-theoretical framework that I have developed for my PhD thesis which was informed by historical institutionalism and which built its foundations on the argument that security/insecurity may appear as an embedded rationale in policymaking process and this is likely to constitute an important source of path dependency in policy and practices.

Didem Ozkiziltan (2009): The governance of occupational health and safety in Turkey in the process of EU candidacy. AkademikerVerlag.

Theo Papadopoulos & Didem Ozkiziltan (in preparation): Towards a Political Economy of Insecurity: State, society and the institutionalisation of (in)secure labour.

Didem Ozkiziltan & Aziz Celik (in preparation): State, Democracy and the Social Rights of Turkish Workers in the 1940s.