Full Law Name
Law No. 5457 on Amending the Telegraph and Telephone Law No. 406 (Official Gazette 15.02.2006)
Description of the law
The law stated that employees had to decide whether to work for Turk Telekom or move to the public sector within 180 days of the institution’s privatisation. In early 2006, 11,000 of the 24,000 Turk Telekom employees had already applied to move to the public sector. The prospect of more employees requesting to be moved to the public sector created the risk of dysfunction in the company.
On 15 February 2006, Law No. 5457 amended the original law by introducing the additional Article 29. The new provision made it more difficult for Turk Telekom employees to apply for public sector vacancies and gave the company a longer period to deal with the situation. Previously there was a transitional period of 180 days after which employees, upon their or the company’s request, had to reassigned to another public sector position. Subsequently this period was extended to 5 years (see here and here).
The amendment also lifted the burden of severance benefit payments from Oger Telecom, owned by family of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, and transferred it to the Turkish government.
Thus, the Turkish state was made liable for paying approximately 8,000 employees a one-month salary (amounting to 1.5 billion Turkish lira (€169 million) as well as severance payments (see here, here and here).
Type of law
Act of Parliament – amendment to the law
Scope of application
Substantive: Labour rights of Turk Telekom employees
Personal: Turk Telecom employees, Oger Telecom Group
Temporal: Until abrogated
Time of adoption and entering to force
Date of adoption: 9 February 2006
Date of entry into force: 15 February 2006
Who drafted it
Justice and Development Party (AKP)
Who submitted it to Parliament or to another collective body
Relevant developments in the process of adoption that show signs it is tailor-made
Law No. 5457 was adopted shortly after thousands of Turk Telekom employees applied to pursue their right to move to the public sector. After the drafting the law, AKP and CHP moved the motion on the parliamentary floor for an earlier date.
The amendment provided a significant financial benefit to Oger Telecom. Although not included in the tendering agreement of the privatisation, the amendment required the Turkish state to provide compensation of severance pay plus one month’s salary for roughly 8,000 workers. Before the amendment, legal provisions put this burden on the private enterprise.
Who adopted it
Initiatives to challenge it and their outcomes
Although the Republican People’s Party supported the law from scratch, party members later appealed to the Constitutional Court to annul it. The representatives argued that the new amendment compromises the rights of employees. The Constitutional Court refused the motion.
Communications and media
Direct beneficiaries and related networks
By shifting the financial burden from the company to the state, the law benefits Turk Telecom management and thereby its new owners Oger Telecom. This company was in turn owned by the family of former prime minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri and was also part of Saudi Oger Telecom.
The legislation reduces Turk Telecom employees’ rights by preventing them from switching to public sector vacancies.
The law compromises workers’ rights and it puts a financial burden on the Turkish state, which was initially placed by the original privatisation tender on commercial companies.
Impact on rule of Law
The amendment of the law was specifically designed to benefit Turk Telecom. The two main parties had moved the parliamentary hearings to an earlier date in order to pass the bill in a rapid manner. Allegedly, Oger Telecom-funded lobbying activities were an important aspect in this process. The implementation of the amendment following these events shows the significant influence that clientelist relationships – or the exchange of goods and services for political support – have on the legislation. The adoption of an amendment to alleviate the problems of a private company while violating workers' rights indicates a manipulation of parliamentary discretion in favour of companies instead of citizens. This points to a systemic problem that is detrimental not only to the rights of the citizens affected in this case, but to the principle of fair, universal, and unbiased law.
Is there any corruption case that is linked to the tailor made law?