Cultural workers in Turkey to go on hunger strike in protest of underemployment

 Ankara  |  29 October 2014  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

The Association of Culture and Art Workers (Kültür Sanat Emekçileri Derneği, or KSED) is to take extreme measures in protest of the mass underemployment of those within the country’s cultural sector, staging a hunger strike that is to begin in Sıhhiye Abdi İpekçi Park in Ankara on 9 November.

Museum employees, archaeologists, art historians, restorers, and visual artists, along with students who will participate in solidarity, are to stage this protest due to the precarity of their situation, in the hope that the government will adopt a more pro-active approach to their problems. Hyperallergic cites Binnur Çelebi, vice president of KSED and member of the governing council of the Archaeologists’ Union, who explains that in the 1930s, nearly 300 specialists and officials had been employed in around 30 museums, while, by the 1990s, fewer than 500 specialists were expected to run more than 300 museums.

The statistics of employment are not positive for those who are currently without work in this sector. In 2013 17,683 people were employed by Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, against 141,911 employed by the Religious Affaires Directorate, 300,000 police and 700,000 soldiers, showing the undervaluing of the cultural sector.

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