‘the state has darkened archaeologists’ futures’: the employment campaign in Turkey

Posted: 28/05/2014 in free archaeology, Research
Tags: ,

‘Archaeologists have enlightened Anatolian history… but the state has darkened archaeologists’ futures… [Anadolu tarihini arkeologlar aydınlattı… ama devlet arkeologların geleceğini kararttı…]’

As I will explain later today, from now on, I am going to be posting far less (even less) on unfree archaeology – though I will hopefully post some more about this particular subject. Indeed, hopefully, I will publish at least one article on resistance to unemployment in Turkey (and elsewhere).

Absent colleagues

Eleven months ago today, Turkish state forces shot would-be archaeology student Medeni Yıldırım dead, during a protest against the construction of a gendarmerie “castle-keep (kalekol)” for detention, interrogation and torture; those clashes continue.

Deprivation of archaeological work, destruction of social memory

Archaeologists’ employment in cultural work ‘has remained below 1% [atamalar %1 oranının altında kalmıştır]’. Due to (consequently) inadequately policed looting, inadequately monitored development and the fact that ‘very few of our citizens see these [cultural] goods as part[s] of our own identity [Çok az insanımız bu değerleri, kendi kimliğimizin bir parçası olarak görmektedir]’, ‘social memory… is slowly slowly being erased [toplum hafızası… yavaş yavaş yok edilmektedir]’.

Under-employment and over-unemployment

Now, it is difficult to discuss the situation in great detail, because the statistics vary from one article to the next. Nonetheless, it does appear that, ‘in the last six years, more than ten thousand archaeologists have taken the KPSS [civil servant selection exam], yet hiring has remained at less than 1% [altı yıl içerisinde [Kamu Personel Seçme Sınavı] KPSS sınavına on binin üzerinde arkeolog girmiş ise de atamalar %1 oranının altında kalmıştır]’.

It might seem impossible to estimate archaeologists’ unemployment simply by comparing the number of exam entrants with the number of employed candidates. After all, it might suggest that no archaeologists get any other jobs; it might double-count, for example, a long-term unemployed archaeologist who re-entered the exam; it might confuse the number of people who should be employed with the number of people who could be employed. But, actually, it is not the worst measure.

Overall, there is 30% graduate unemployment, so even if archaeology were an average profession, there would be 3,000 unemployed archaeologists. And, as there are professionals in massively over-employed (or less under-employed) sectors (e.g. religious teachers), so there are professionals in (more) under-employed sectors (e.g. archaeologists); so, at the very least, 6,000 unemployed would be plausible.

The question of archaeologists’ employment is ‘the question of [their] lives [hayatlarımız söz konusu]’. Regardless of the exact number, ‘the army of the unemployed wants to be scaled down [işsizler ordusu azalmak istiyor]’.

Resist, struggle, secure your rights

Hence, the Archaeologists’ Employment Platform has insisted: ‘we have become 10,000 [10 bin olduk]’, ‘blow-by-blow, we will take our rights [hakkımızı söke söke alacağız]’.

‘We will take what is rightfully ours by resisting and struggling for the employment of at least 500 people at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and at least 1,000 people in various foundations and municipalities, whatever the cost, on the principle that “rights are not given, they are taken”. [en az 500 kişinin Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığına, en az 1000 kişinin de diğer kurumlara ve belediyelere atanması için “hak verilmez alınır” ilkesiyle her ne pahasına olursa olsun direnerek ve mücadele ederek hakkımız olanı alacağız].’

Archaeologists’ ‘struggle to demand an end to an unfair distribution of employment will continue [adaletsiz kadro dağılımına dur demek için mücadelemiz aralıksız devam edecektir]’. It has appealed to key figures to ‘lend your voice to ours, archaeologists’ employment is important [sesimize ses verin artık #arkeologistihdamı önemli]’.

The Archaeologists’ Employment Platform (Arkeolog İstihdam Platformu) also presented a new version of the three monkeys that can do no evil (with four!): the Ministry of Culture and Tourism that covers its eyes and cannot see; the associations that cover their ears and cannot hear; the administrations that cover their mouths and cannot speak; and the archaeologists who hold their stomachs and cannot eat.

Hunger strike

The Vice-President of the Archaeologists’ Union and the Spokesperson of the Archaeologists’ Employment Platform, Binnur Çelebi, has warned: ‘We’re at end of our tether with the employment of 1% of archaeologists. If there is not just employment in 2014, [there will be a] hunger strike. [%1’lik #arkeologistihdamı artık canımıza tak etti. 2014’de adil istihdam olmazsa açlık grevi.]’

  1. ONUR ÇARIKLI says:

    thank you so very much SAM HARDY
    @samarkeolog Glad to have you..

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