Confederation of labour unions founded in Ankara on October 22, 1976.

The confederation was founded by Mustafa Tasci, Mehmet Asena, Abdülhakim Kaplan, Hakki Büyükharbut, Muharrem Gökhan, Mustafa Noyan and Zübeyir Yetik, representing the unions Öz Yapi Sen, Öz Sütkur, Öz Demir-Is, Öz Yol-Is, Öz Dokuma-Is, Öz Gida-Is and Öz Metal-Is, respectively.

In the temporary executive committee Mustafa Tasci functioned as chairman, Zübeyir Yetik as general secretary, Muharrem Gökhan as finance secretary, Mehmet Asena as education secretary and Abdülhakim Kaplan as organization secretary.

The first logo of Hak-Is depicted the silhouettes of a factory and a mosque inside a crescent, symbolizing a religious motive and an equal distance to workers and employers. In fact its charter defined the aim of the confederation as „ensuring respect for moral values and compliance with the rules of the right and law, instituting labour peace by establishing the fraternity of workers and employers ... and enabling partnership at the workplace". It regarded communism, zionism and fascism, „all three tyrannical systems with foreign roots", as being equally dangerous, and declared that the mainstay of its struggle were moral values, a history of thousand years, and national unity. It also proposed to invest the dues it collected from its members and to make the workers partners in the enterprises to be established in this manner.

The first congress of the confederation was held on 13.2.1977. Yasin Hatipoglu was elected as chairman, Mehmet Asena as deputy chairman, Mustafa Tasci as general secretary, Muharrem Gökhan as finance secretary, Abdülhakim Kaplan as education secretary and Hakki Büyükharbut as legislation secretary. Yasin Hatipoglu resigned afterwards and was replaced by Mustafa Tasci.

Hak-Is reported 20,000 members at the time of its foundation, 343,765 in 1977 and 135,412 in 1979.

In 1978 it had 20 affiliates: Hak Tarim Is, Or-Is, Öz Orman Is, Hak Maden Is, Öz Gida Is, Öz Teksif, Öz Dokuma Is, Tek Met Is, Öz Basin Is, Öz Lastik Is, Tek Cimsa Is, Öz Demir Is, Öz Donat Is, Hak Metal Is, Tüm San Is, Öz Yol Yapi Is, Hak Büro Is, Öz Petrol Is and Egitim Is.

The second general assembly on 20.5.1979 was followed by an extraordinary congress on 10.2.1980. The board elected at this congress was composed of Aziz Yilmaz (chairman), Necati Celik (general secretary), Abdurrahman Bilici, Ahmet Yilmaz and Abidin Özkara.

The confederation did not play an important role in the trade union movement prior to 1980. It has maintained close relations with the Nationalist Salvation Party from the time of its foundation, and Hak-Is affiliates were able to organize with the support of the public enterprises attached to the ministries which the Party controlled in coalition governments.

After the military coup in 1980, the activities of the confederation were suspended, but Hak-Is was allowed to function again on 18.2.1981.

The third general assembly meeting convened on 19-20.12.1981, at a time when there were changes in the confederation leading to the expulsion of one of the founding members, Öz Metal Is, from Hak-Is.

The fourth congress that was held on 24-25.12.1983 elected Necati Celik to the position of chairmanship. The other members of the board were Hüseyin Tanriverdi (general secretary), Mustafa Elveren, Salim Uslu, Mehmet Er and Abdülkadir Imamoglu. Mehmet Er resigned afterwards.

In 1983 Hak-Is had 6 members: Öz Demir Is, Öz Gida Is, Öz Iplik Is, Hizmet Is, Hak Büro Is and Öz Agac Is. In 1986 the number of its affiliates was still the same, but there was one change in their composition: Öz Demir Is (reported members 44,545), Öz Iplik Is (35,934), Öz Gida Is (33,157), Hizmet Is (24,071), Hak Tarim Is (5,545) and Öz Agac Is (5,906).

The fifth congress was held on 20-21.12.1986. The former board was reelected, with the addition of Yusuf Engin to replace Mehmet Er.

In November 1987 Hak-Is took the initiative to bring together for the first time the leaders of Hak-Is and Türk-Is. The two confederations which until then had constantly criticised each other made a joint declaration stating their intention to cooperate for a free union movement. Nevertheless, this positive step was not followed up.

In 1988 Öz Saglik Is was founded, raising the number of Hak-Is affiliates to 8.

In 1989 Hak-Is changed its logo, adopting an emblem composed of a wheel, an olive branch and a crescent. It was explained that the wheel represented labour and bread, the olive branch peace and life, and the crescent national unity, independence and freedom. The red background was the symbol of a conscious struggle and the blood spilt in this struggle.

Hak-Is started also from that year on to celebrate First of May.

In 1989 Hak-Is supported the independent union Celik Is in the 137-day strike at the Iron and Steel Mills in Iskenderun and Karabük. Celik Is later united with Öz Demir Is to from Öz Celik Is and affiliated to Hak-Is.

The board elected at the 6th general assembly meeting on 22- 24.12.1989 was composed of Necati Celik (chairman), Hüseyin Tanriverdi, Salim Uslu, Abdülkadir Imamoglu, Mehmet Aras and Yusuf Engin.

In November 1991 Bagimsiz Orman Is (Independent Union of Forest Workers) joined Hak-Is.

Hak-Is announced that it would support the 1-day work stoppage called by Türk-Is on 3.1.1991 although it did not believe such action forms would bear fruit or act as a deterrent.

At the general elections in 1991 Hak-Is leadership declared their support to the Welfare Party.

The confederation convened its seventh congress on 17-20.12.1992. The new board was composed of Necati Celik (chairman), Hüseyin Tanriverdi, Metin Türker, Salim Uslu, Yusuf Engin and Abidin Özkaraaslan. It signed a joint declaration of cooperation with the representatives of the trade union federations of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Turkmenia, Tadjikistan and Azarbaijan, who attended the congress.

In 1993 the application of Hak-Is for affiliation to ICFTU and ETUC was rejected, when Türk-Is and DISK expressed unfavourable views on the charter of Hak-Is. But it is accepted to ETUC on 5.12.1997, and to ICFTU on 17.12.1997. Hak-Is also established close relations with the World Federation of Labour, although it did not become a member of this organization.

Hak-Is participated in the Democratic Platform that was established by various unions and confederations, professional chambers and democratic organizations in September 1993.

Hak-Is protested the privatization of the state-owned meat, fodder and milk enterprises, where its affiliate Öz Gida Is was organized, and stated that if privatization was unavoidable these enterprises should be sold to the workers, declaring itself ready to make this purchase in their name. This attitude was severely criticised by the other confederations, and the sale of the meat enterprise to Hak-Is which was already effected was cancelled because of these reactions. Hak-Is then withdrew from the Democratic Platform.

The 8th general assembly meeting of the confederation was held on 30.11-3.12.1995. The charter was amended so that the new aims of Hak-Is now read as follows: „Hak-Is bases itself on respect for human rights, universal principles, the Constitution and the rules of natural law. It believes sincerely in the integrity of the nation. It adopts the principle of defending and developing the rights and interests of the working people in the most effective way within the context of pluralist and liberal democracy. It recognizes the human being and labour as the principal values. It considers a pro-reform, principled, responsible and resolute struggle for attaining this objective as its fundamental duty".

The reformulated tenets of Hak-Is stressed that democracy and a free and civil society were sine qua non for the confederation, that it regarded social differences as a natural result of community life which led to legitimate struggles for larger shares, but that this struggle had to be waged under just conditions. It regarded environmental problems, cultural pollution and the alienation of people to their own nature as the most serious crisis of our times, and defended a sustainable development and alternative technologies. Hak-Is believed that rapid and constant renewal was a basic requirement and emphasized the importance of the production of and access to information.

The congress adopted a number of resolutions on democracy, politics, trade union concepts, privatization, environment and Cyprus.

Necati Celik, who had been the chairman of the confederation for 14 years, did not run for this post at the congress. He was elected to the parliament in December 1995 on the Welfare Party ticket, and became the Minister of Labour in June 1996.

The new board was composed of Salim Uslu (chairman), Hüseyin Tanriverdi, Recai Baskan, Yusuf Engin and Abidin Özkaraaslan.

Since 1986 the confederation publishes a journal, which is issued irregularly. It has issued a large number of books on various issues and prepared numerous television programs.

At present 8 unions are affiliated to Hak-Is: Öz Tarim Is, Öz Gida Is, Öz Iplik Is, Öz Celik Is, Öz Saglik Is, Hizmet Is, Öz Agac Is and Kamu-Sen (union of civil servants in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). As of end-1997 these unions have reported a total membership of 339,577.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | November 1998

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