Zonguldak and TTK

2011-08-14 18:37:00


              Section 1: INTRODUCTION   

             Zonguldak, with Turkey Coal Association inside, (Türkiye Taşkömürü Kurumu) is one of the most important cities in Turkey especially due to its contribution to state economy and its great role in the industrial and social progress of both Ottomans and Turks from the 19th century. Although it is assumed that coal mining in Zonguldak region was started in 1848  TTK is established in 19th October 1983 when Ereğli Coal Operation which has already was bound to Turkey’s Coal Operation was converted into a separate directorship. This great corporation where its center locates in Zonguldak, carries out operations in 5 separate region (Armutçuk, Kozlu, Karadon, Üzülmez and Amasra). (As the very nature of the paper prones us not to go behind 1940’s, 1950’s considering the life span of our interviewees, we found appropriate not to go in older times while we give account for the ‘organization’).


                Until the first half of 1980s, because coal was regarded as the main energy resource, its production without any financial concerns was considerably essential that also lead that institution to be very scattered and expansive with its workshops, laboratories, coke factories, various logistic service managements, schools, hospitals, cinemas, worker dormitories, canteens, beaches and public houses (called ‘lojman’). To locate people in Zonguldak, particularly the mining engineers graduated from the eminent universities like ODTU or ITU and their families who came from different parts of Turkey, these facilities of public house life served as an appealing factor as it was thought. Starting from1930s, for example, those people who were living in public houses started to form a kind of ‘elite group’ with their relatively luxurious and intellectual lives in there, apart from the local people living in Zonguldak. Just like Cengiz Otacı [1]calls such implementations as elite projects held by the state itself, since Ottomans but especially in the republican period. This project, which takes Western modernity as basis, aims at creating a new society within the society. This process can be called as “society engineering” according to Otacı with the features such as integrating the society to modernity, being appropriate to intellectual enlightening production process, and holding by the state legally.


After 1940s, similar policy to keep workers there who were coming from closer vicinities started to emerge. Also, It was hard to keep those workers there that is why a situation was invented, called ‘alternate worker’ (münavebeli işçi) who were coming from their villages just for one month and changing the group of people for next month to go Zonguldak to work. This kind of application including trials to keep workers staying there seems too far away from today’s perspective, while thinking about high reluctance to work in coal mining institution, as an underground worker, becomes invalid when we face with those high unemployment rates in Turkey, as Necdet Karabakal mentioned in his interview.


         The golden age of coal mines in the mid 70’s like many other state institutions which contain heavy industrial activities all around the country was in the coalition MSP and CHP. Ecevit being a father figure and defender of  workers’ rights and Erbakan who has fancy dreams about producing big machines insisted on protecting little entrepreneurs, were in favour of state regulation and subvention on natural resources such as coal and petrol.


        Going back to the historical continuum, it is crucial to mention that TTK’s competent power in the period after 1980s started to reduce in time unlike the prediction of Doc. Dr. Ahmet Demir in 1968[2] which was about the non-reduction of the production of coal in the future even there may exist new energy resources. Things did not happen as what he said with the reasons such as great search for alternative energy resources, low-cost production of coal in open coal pits (ocak), decrease in oil prices, latitude of international trade. Likewise, what happened in many other increasing KİT’s (Economic Public Formations) in Turkey at that time. TTK also missed too many steps to catch the contemporary developments which are in line with the rapid progress in the world. In addition, with the new perception of cost-benefit analysis throughout the context of that period, TTK also started to be perceived as a burden on state especially with its worker numbers that exceeded 40 000 andhigh level of working security issue which requires considerable amount of investment as Necdet Karabakal mentions in his interview that:

          ‘…iş güvenliğinin sağlanması da tabiki yüksek bir maliyet unsuru ama bu biraz da dünya çapında düşünülürse bunun heryerde, devletin bundan zarar edeceğini bile bile desteklediğini görürürüz. Türkiyedeki ise farklı politika tercihleriyle şekillendi ve direk özelleştirilmeye gidildi…’


 During 1990s, with the high increase in privatization which will be mentioned below, reduction in the number of worker-purchasing and also compulsory retirement policies towards TTK started to be observed in Turkish state agenda. On the other hand, these processes of high privatization is based on some other factors by Dr. Muzaffer Dartan[3] like the geographical difficulties and poor location of its reserves that lead TTK’s mines to remain relatively unmechanized. Besides these factors  which also cause low productivity, another one can be said by Necdet Karabakal that bad policies of government is the main cause of this mandatory shrinkage in the sector. Moreover Aykut Kırbıyık contributes to this debate in terms of remedies telling that:

          ‘Kurum bitme noktasına gelince kentte başka alternatifler aranmaya başlandı. Örneğin, limanlar iyileştirilmeye başlandı ya da başka fabrikalara yatırımlar yapıldı. Tüm bunların sonunda da özelleştirme de gittikçe arttı.’


           The increasing privatization during these processes lead a great recession of Turkish state from various spheres (even the sphere of state control) of TTK that can also be seen in the sayings of one of our interviews who did not wanted to give his name that:

           ‘…eskiden iki senede bir gelen meclis teftiş komisyonu vardı. Devlet elini ayağını çekmeye başlayınca bunlar da azaldı. Aslında biraz da bu, kurumun verimsiz işleyişine karşı devletin bir tutumu olara da algılanabilir.’ 


          Moreover, other than privatization the second remedy is to import coal from other producers around the world, especially from South Africa, Russia etc. Mr. Fısıltı mentions that ‘...after some point it is cheaper than importing coal rather than producing it..’ As a precaution to a question like ‘so why government does not put an end to this sector?’, he argues that  the social environment within the city and need for coal in that territory to produce iron and steel more efficiently  are the factors which make that question answered. According to Mehmet Ali Gürol[4] the needs of developing iron and steel sector could not be satisfied since 1970 only by our domestic reserves and the entrance of imported coal to our country became inevitable. Other examples can be the decreasing worker numbers which is about 10 000 today which also affected the power of the worker-unions adversely as Şakir Yurdakul mentioned and the increasing vendition in some parts of the Public houses(like C-type blocks in the center of Zonguldak which will be discussed in more detailed with its effects in the following parts of this paper).


                After Karaelmas University was established in 1992 with the faculty of engineering (Machinery, Metal, Construction and Electric) which belonged to Hacettepe University since1982[5] new policies started to be followed like training up engineers who are originally from Zonguldak or had already been staying there for a long time rather then trying to integrate incoming employees although it is not clear yet if this had been a solution or a part of dissolution.                


Considering the unique picture of TTK in Zonguldak throughout the 20th century both in the sphere of varying state policies and different understandings of  working there and a kind of public house life that its inner logic can be examined more apparently than lives of other public house dwellers among Turkey’s various places depending on also the obvious reflections of working conditions to those living areas which may include the changing of perception of ‘the state’ in the eyes of those people. In addition, particularly public houses, could be regarded as a symbol of how ‘the state’ is embedded in the lives of the people residing there and how their perceptions of the state is shaped there. The way of those people who have been living in those residences since 1980s and their relationships among each other and with local people are the main concerns of this paper to make inferences on the issue of  changing state policy towards TTK.


             For the purpose of running after the answer of this kind of an abstract topic related to the perception of the state both in the context of their work sphere and their family sphere, 8 interviews were conducted among  people who have been working there for a period at least since 1970s as an engineer (from different departments) and have been living in the Public houses during this period. While working on this paper, little crucial parts from the interviews were tried to be gathered to make basic inferences following these headlines: 

1.      Summaries of the personal stories of each interviewee

2.      Social relations at the work place

3.      Family relations and social life within the Public House

4.      Interactions with the local people

5.      Connections with local, regional and central state institutions 


Section 2: Personal Stories

            In this project, the interviews were held with eight people from Zonguldak. All of these interviewees are chosen from the upper degree personnel of Türkiye Taş Kömürü Kurumu and the wife of one of those upper degree employeesin order to reach facts by evaluating different or similar perceptions of those people on the same issues. The goal of our research is to find a concrete ground out of abstract concepts such as political ideology, perception of the several state institutions, social and political hierarchies in workplace etc. Rather than emphasizing how the institution works with its interrelated parts. Our focus founds itself in huntering key elements of those differing understandings, conflicting informations that make us touch the truth when they come together bymaking more concrete analogies. The variables that can be observed from the personal stories are sex, place of birth, political ideology, the institutional departments... of the interviewees.        


Firstly we start with a mining engineer named Ahmet Haşim. He is working in the bureau of the Genaral Directorate. He lived in Zonguldak since 1980 and before he came  to Zonguldak he lived in Istanbul and he had taken the high school education in Bogazici High School. He came to Zonguldak for university education. At that time Zonguldak Karaelmas University was the faculty of Hacettepe University. He was born in Van and his parents lived in there. He studied mining engineering in Zonguldak but he said that he did not want to study in this branch. He specifically wanted to study about meteorology or petrol and he made the university choices by this way. However, for the choices before the examination his elder brother marked six different choices without his desires. Then, he entered his 14th choices and started to study in Zonguldak. He began to work in TTK in May 1986. He got married in 1989 and in 1991 they settled down in the public houses (lojman). He has only one son and he goes to secondary schoolin Zonguldak.. His emphasis was on the lost importance of Public sector and production culture brought by it.. He had an experience of 20months in the private sector just before he began to work in TTK,to our mind his past memoire in private sector makes

him put distance to them. For instance he does not even think about a production culture which is privatized.



The second interviewee of this project is İbrahim Gül. He is a mining engineer too but now he is a consultant in General Directorate. Before working as a consultant he worked in mine engineering, explosion management and bureau of job security. He was born in Zonguldak. His life except university years passed in Zonguldak. He studied the university in Istanbul Technical University. Like some other interviewees he did not think to work in TTK or become a mining engineer, his aim was becoming an architect or artist. After graduating from university, he started to work in Zonguldak, TTK and for 38 years he has been working there. He lived in three different public houses in this institution in 32 years. His father had been a personal in TTK, too. But he does not want his son to do his  father’s job in the future.


            The other interviewee is Sevim Erdönmez. Her husband is a mine engineer in TTK. She was born in Göylük(Bolu). She did not attend to the university.They got married when she was sixteen. They went around the Anatolia (such as Ankara, Sivas, Çanakkale) because of his husbands job then they came to TTK and in this institution they lived in four various regions. And since 1989 they have still living in Zonguldak. She is pleased to live in Zonguldak because of its social life. After married she started to work as an officer. But according to her it is very difficult for a married woman. She has one son. He is married and he has a child too. She had attended to public education courses(Halk eğitimi kursları) One thing that she can not bear is ‘extremism’. She sits as a conformist in the chair and the reason of this conformism lies in the early trip that she did not plan but she accepted  and her trauma occurred due to hard times that she spent with her child searching for a house for months when they first came Zonguldak. But besides its traumatic end those travels give her the opportunity compare different cities,İstanbul versus Zonguldak so at the speak., which is an important heading for us. She is thankful for the state, for having a Public Houce in



Fener.(which is the first quartier(mahalle) in Turkey was built in line with the principles of city planning in the work of  Dr. Tunç Çelebi.[6]


            The forth interviewee is Necdet Karabakal. He is a physical engineer. He is married and has two children, one of them is girl and the is boy. His son has graduated from Hacettepe University Electronic Engineering and his daughter is a student in primary school. His wife was an officer but she is retired now. His father was an officer and mother was a housewife. He chose this branch because it was a highly interested area at that times. He said that when he graduated from high school, administrative sciences were not popular. He has been worked in Zonguldak for 27 years. He was born in Kastamonu but he sees himself as he is from Ankara due to his life experience in that city. Although he says ‘çok şükür halimizden memnunuz’ in every opportunity he catchs, during the dialogue he follows a long trajectory deciding on whethet he would have been an academician or a famous musician. According to us this kind of inconsistent behaviour,especially by an interviewee who does not even hesitate in saying ‘ben asosyalim, kızımın da samimice konuşabileceği kimse yok.’, ‘lojmanlarda dayanışma kültürü de pek kalmadı.’ and phrases like these might give us a clue about the invisible fear of  insulting the provider( the state ) of all  these opportunities and  the comfortable milieu.


            Şakir Yurdakul is the other interviewee of this project. He is a mining engineer and now he is working in General Directorate as a higher degree officer. He was born in Tarsus. He was attended to university in  Istanbul Technical University. He did not want to become engineer too and due to his friends’ choices after university examination, he started to study on mining engineering. He has been working in Zonguldak for 30 years. He chose Zonguldak in order to improve his ability over engineering about mining.(different than other interviewees who are by chance or unwillingly came here.) He and his family does not want to live in Zonguldak after his retirement from TTK. Because there is not any linkage between


Zonguldak and them. His wife is a teacher in Kız Meslek Lisesi. They have two children. Their son is a senior student in Karadeniz Technical University, in Economy department and  their daughter is in the “new” second class in Anatolian High School in Zonguldak. He is a member of an officer trade-union but he believes that this trade-unions are not beneficial.


            The sixth interviewee is Aykut Kırbıyık. He is a bit different from the other interviewees because he is not an engineer. He was attended to Ankara University, Basın Yayın Yüksek Okulu and now he works in TTK as adepartmental chief in Review Commitee Chairmanship. He was born in Istanbul in 1961. He went to primary school in Trabzon and high school in Istanbul Vefa Lisesi. After his graduation he started to work in Nokta Dergisi. Then he came to Zonguldak and worked there for 23 years. He is married and has two children. His daughter is fourteen years old and now study in private TED College. His son is one-year old. His wife is operator of anesthesia. He is a member of a trade-union (KESK) and one period he is the representative of workplace. He wanted to work about his branch however in interviews before being accepted for work, he was eliminated due to his eye-problem. But, now he is interested in cultural and intellectual activities in Zonguldak and by this aim he is the member of the management committee of ZOKEV (Zonguldak Kültür Eğitim Vakfı). They publishes books, journals, brochures about Zonguldak and its cultural activities. He said that Zonguldak is a democrat and politicized city. So that by this activities they can save this characteristic of Zonguldak. He does not want to work in state institutions and he does not want that his children to work there. But at the same time, he believes that state institutions are the most secure place for working.




The seventh interviewee of the project is İhsan Ünlü who started to work in TTK in 1968 and became an operating manager in 1978. He comes from Aydın, Nazilli while his wife  is one of the residents in Zonguldak. Her father and uncle too, had been working in TTK, even her aunt has been living in the same public house. Although their house is outside the city they do not want to live inside Zonguldak because they are in love with their site in Kılıç.


For this reason they cast away both their friends’ offers to move into Zonguldak and those of their daughters to move into İstanbul. Both of their daughters are graduates of Zonguldak College and live in İstanbul with their families. Mr. And Mrs Ünlü are proud of their children and they are very interested in talking about them. Mr Ünlü is one of the most politicized interviewees of this project. Although he did not spell it, it can be cocluded that he is a Kemalist, from his arguements about Atatürk which are full of praise, and from the newspaper on the sofa: Cumhuriyet. In addition, he is one of the supporters of Republican March  on 14.04.07, and he is reluctant to give information about his lecel of religiosity. ‘Bu çok özel bir soru, bence sorulmamalı’ he said. Moreover he claims that most of the deficiencies in Turkey are results of religion and religious activities. But the one must not think that he is an atheist, because it is obvious that he believes in god. However he is  trying to keep it in private sphere although he could not keep himself away from making assertions about the issue.


            Mr. Fısıltı is the last interviewee. This is the pseudonym used instead of his real name   because he does not want his  name to be used. He is different from the other interviewees because he is the only one who has a private sector experience. He prefered TTK because of the fact that the one feels himself in safe while working in a state institution. In addition there are lots of advantages of working in TTK instead of private sector, such opportunities as public housings and social resourses which will be examined in detail below. He is one of the


most reluctant ones in answering our questions. Most of the time he spoked like whispering. In addition when he was asked something about state or government policies he answered in a manner in favor of the state as if there are not any problems related to these policies. However, his wife rightened his words by saying ‘Hayır, hiç de öyle değil, hükümet değişiklikleri tabi ki etkiliyor TTK’yı.’, for example. After this he explained his real point of view in a tone of voice which can hardly be heard. Mr. Fısıltı has one daughter who is attending to secondary school and does not want to leave Zonguldak after his father’s retirement. However Mr Fısıltı and his wife are quiet decisive in moving from Zonguldak to Samsun-which is their home town- after retirement.


In the remainder of this paper all the aspects of TTK will be examined over these eight interviewees, and expected to reach valid and useful conclusions  as results of the project in the light of them.


Section 3: Social relations in the work space

              As a very bifurcated topic, it should be discussed regarding that social relations in the workplace those employees are mostly neighbours from the public houses,as Necdet Karabakal mentions: ‘ ..lojmanlarda bir koloni havası var..’, this argument is also linked to  the following topic, relations with the local people. Argument emphasized that a clear distinction of insiders and outsiders can be monitored in the very image of public housing. For instance as Necdet Karabakal says again : ‘ ..Mühendis çocuklarına farklı bakılırmış..’,this also emphasizes social superiority of engineers in that territory to other workers.(intra class distinction within the Public houses also lies or does not lie related with the true meaning of different perceptions of ‘Mühendis çocukları’.). However, challenging to this most of the interviewees reject this or do not prone to talk these understanding of hierarchies when an operation is not held.(because taking into account harsh conditions of coal mining,this job


requires almost militaristic hierarchy while handling the operations during the work hours.) On the contrary Ahmet Haşim,in our point of view being more realistic, clearly sees Lokal like a continuum of worklife mentioning ‘..rahatsız davranışlar..’ against supervisors in his own words. To make it clear, as far as we interpret he sees hierarchy not like a dress or a jacket that you can change every time, in every different occasion but on the contrary,to his mind this hierarchy of work orders show its very existence in the social life as well in a continuity under circumstances of both worklife and Public House social milieu.


             To be more analytical I want to discuss the following sources of social differemces in work context. In four points which are gender,ethnicity, profession(engineer-engineer,engineer-worker) and backround(regional,educational in terms of university)


To start with, hottest topic is laid  in our operation table which is gender. Due to the nature of this job,in the first look it seems very inconvenient for women. Particularly positions linked to underground operations are banned for women all around the world. In the first days of establishment who were not appointed cadres who are women as a principle then women achieved to collect some posts within the organization, they also are the wifes of new engineers, admimistrative members of the organization and they play a crucial role both with their husbands in the recognition phase of women in the workspace. But the situation today as we listened fron Necdet Bey, ‘Sırf işe almamak için mülakatta bayanların yarı puanlarını kesiyorlar’ to make things worse now we hardly hear from Mr. Fısıltı: ‘ Bayan ve erkeklerin şansı eşitse erkek tercih edilir.’. Even though the nature of the work requires endurance in some positions as we have mentioned above, some other departments are suitable for women even more than men. So rather than its bond with hard requirements, the idea behind this institution has a big reminiscence of gender discrimination but in the story of Şule Hanım(a young lady who had the permission to work in the ground as a present of hard work and


effort) ,who is called ‘Şule Bey’ by her workers ,there are traces of how to blow this out. She somehow proved herself both to her superiours and her workers although İbrahim Gül says that: ‘.. bir işçi bayan bir mühendisi yeraltında içine sindiremez..’ she refuted this argument, showing that it is not the sex but perception of identity creates conflicts. But it cannot be passed along this subject without expressing that as a woman you should struggle much more than a man to get the position you desire just because of the perception mentioned above.  According to Şakir Yurdakul in General Directorate, there could be much more women than it is in the field operations having some directors of branches but they still do not have any women general director or assistant of general director since the establishment of the institution.


            When it comes to ethnicity, Necdet Bey’s speech first hit the one saying : ‘.. etnik kimliğe bakmadan bu ülkenin kalkınması için her milletten insanlar canlarını vermişler..’,

they were working together for the sake of this nation. With Sevim Hanım’s words: ‘ ..bizler bu devletin çocuklarıyız!..’ In our mind, one must pay attention to the changing words in history like ‘vatan’ and ‘devlet’... Then Şakir Yutdakul talks about group differentiations mostly based on ethnicity in the process of taking workers to the organization such as Kurdish workers prevail in one of those times of hiring period. But since 2000 workers are hired nationwide without giving privileges to some specific ethnic identities.(To our mind it should not be understood,since 2000, ‘fair appointments’ are held without any nepotism. These are observed differently in our work.)


   Professions can also be taken as an identity in the light of interviews.  It is a fact that mine engineering is the most favourite kind of  engineering in terms of both its position and its prospects for future. (such as becoming an assistant  or general manager)  When the one considers other engineerings into account it is extremely hard to get higher positions being


chemical engineer to give an example. There is also a worse class distinction between workers and engineers which will be discussed in section 6.


   Nepotism, hiring or appointing employees whether they are your fellow countyman or not, is especially is at the stake last ten years. ( It is possible to make such an analyze that forming cadres in the state institutions is always the cade in the politics of Turkey) It is also prefered to discuss it in section 6  passing along the role of educational backround of the engineers. Since the establishment of Karaelmas university, according to Şakir Bey: ‘..üniversite gençliği halkla bir türlü bütünleşemiyor..’, rather than filling an hole ( Which is the idea behind  the emergence of this university as a different entity as we write in the introduction.) it enlarges the gap between youth nation of university and local people and public houses’ community by creating another group that you lost your supervision from the beginning.


 Creative elements of social differences and hierarchies should be studied more extensively. To sum up again, although some life stories challenge with this fact it is very hard to change the skins of one place to another as it was mention as the reflection of work hierarchies in the social sharing of employees with different status and also we should always remember in the very essence of the public house although it is not written, there is a linkage to the worklife. On the other side, costumes with which it is meaned that identities are not so hard to combat as it is in embedded hierarchical networks in concluding with our opinions.



 A considerable amount of life stories of TTK employees is observed in their microcosmos called public house (Lojman) which is a French tradition pioneered by French companies in Zonguldak during 1940’s and 1950’s. As Sevim Erdönmez mentions ‘sosyal


tesislerde nasıl oturulur,kalkılır; nasıl geceler tertip edilir….’, they had not only brought an institution but also a tradition which becomes a role model for policy makers at those time.  In this section, we will try to mention about the life of TTK employees in these public houses. Most of the employees, who are working for TTK, live in the sites of TTK with their families. Each of them pays small amount of money (although the amount changed dramatically after the end of 70’s in a rising trend, coming closer to normal rents.) per month for these sites and this is one of the reasons  why they do not want to leave site. These sites dispersed all around  Zonguldak.


The hierarchical status at the work place plays an important role in distributing them. Especially in the first times it was based on meritocracy ranking employees according to success and experience but this changed quite a lot, which is a hot debate among engineers, which is projected just after the following example.  For instance, the sites of engineers are in the center of Zonguldak, while workers’ are out of the center of Zonguldak. On the other hand, Ahmet Hasim emphasizes that when A Party comes to government, the people, who have worked for A Party in the elections, can easily get a residence without looking their status. In these sites, there are clubs, tennis courts, basketball fields and etc. for these employees and their families. The workfellows of employees of TTK are also their neighbours or their social friends of them. They mostly pass their free time with each other. For example, they go on visits to each other in the evenings or they go picnics in weekends. is also an engineer in TTK, said that we go to  some places with weekends.. On the contrary Aykut Kırbıyık says: ‘ Lojmanlardaki sosyal hayat devlet politikaları yüzünden azalıyor.’ In the past, there were cinemas, theatres in the sites, but now these activities do not exist. Metin Heper evaluates such applications as a trail to establish scientific and intellectual traditions of the West, in a very short time period such as 50 years in Turkey.[7]


             Does the hierarchy in the work place also exist in the site life? Some of interviewers emphasizes that there is also a hierarchy between employees in the site with respect to their status in TTK. On the other hand, some of them say that there is no hierarchy in the site life. Ahmet Hasim, who is just an engineer, says “Çalışanlar arasındaki hiyerarşi, lojman içinde de devam ediyor”. For example, a worker is also a worker and an engineer is also an engineer in the club of the site. He asserts as following: “Ben lokale gitmiyorum çünkü bu durumu sevmiyorum. Benim arkadaşlarım da benimle aynı statüde”. Moreover, he says that if two employees dispute with each other, this situation reflects to the homes.  He continues: “Benimle aynı statüde olan bazı arkadaşlarım var, onlarla ya akşam üstleri ya evlerimizde buluşuyoruz  ya da beraber pikniklere falan gidiyoruz. Fakat statüleri değiştiğinde ilişkimiz de değişti, görüşmemeye başladık”. On the other hand, Ibrahim Gul, who is one of the administrators of TTK, says “Lojmanda böyle bir hiyerarşik ilişki yok, ben işçilerime onların statülerine gore muamele etmiyorum”. Ahmet Hasim and Ibrahim Gul have different perspectives and this difference originates from the different status of these employees in our point of view.


 Problematic view about public houses is about lack of privacy of the people because they are watched by each other in a very similar context to a family, some interviewees like Sevim Erdönmez are very happy from this family analogy saying that ‘.. kendinizi aile muhitinde gibi hissedersiniz o göz hapsini de kaldırmış oluyorsunuz…’ whereas Ahmet Haşim and Necdet Karabakan reflect their resentment from the involvement of neighbours to their private life. According to this paper, after some point mere individual is tracked by the group of people in a family context, acting as the reverberation of the word state. Maybe that is why Mr. Fısıltı who looks like being in favour of state policies is strictly opposed to leaving his life in public house, and replacing it with a life in a building block.


  Aykut Kırbıyık informs us after 1995 there was not any construction of new Public houses and with the decisions taken in april 5th of 1994 rent for residences increased, all the chores of house is given to the resident of that public house including electricity, water and of course combustible expenditures. Even though these new regulations and more and more rising rents could not lessen the demand for public housing.


              It is obvious that sales of residents and closing of social facilities such as local in public housing are the signs of social dissolution within the organization as well which is happening for last couple of years. The model which was adopted from Europe(especially France) and was developed by American settlers in Kılıç (with their premium quality wooden houses) in 1940’s and 1950’s, began to fall apart essentially after 80’s a rapid dissolution follows those breaks. Although middle aged and old people are still conformists about their living space, youth nation could not find the fountain from which he/she should refresh herself/himself. Passing years show that little girls do not have friends like sisters and brothers as it was in the case but this could also be related with number of young population who have young children to raise together.


            Section 5: Relations with local people 

            When we think of other topics it is the hardest part to give a clear and detailed account both because of lack of information and very nature of people houses. We consult to a research held in the purpose of solving people’s perception of Zonguldak Metropolitan, and with the percentage( %18 ) it was defined as ‘maden bölgesi,işçi şehri’. Moreover this survey could be intensified with another research done for the sake of categorizing the working population of the city and it turned out that people who work in the exploration and extraction of coal consists one forth of working populace[8].This statistics were to monitor how the numbers are effective to point out the importance of TTK in the whole city. And when we consider pioneering position of TTK in the restoration of city, in its contributions to both educational, social and entertainment life, as Aykut Kırbıyık mentions in the heading of ‘ KİTlerin öncü pozisyonu’ ( unfortunately this structure collapses too after 80’s with the onset of erosion in both social and structural aspects of the organization )


           İhsan ünlü mentions the traditional weddings and the honor which is brought by the engineers who participate to them. In his words the good aspects which left from this Pioneering position of TTK can be traced but Sevim Erdönmez states there is an undermining by the local people especially to the new coming engineers , a view that can be supported by our other interviewee Necdet Bey saying that ‘.. hani lojmanı olmayan için lüks yaşıyor havası veriyor..’ Although Sevim hanım does not say it directly but what brings the jealousy is laid bare in Necdet bey’s words: Lojman.  He continues his arguments that, ‘.. her zaman bir aşağılık duygusu vardı..’,( in fact at the time our interviewer emphasizes same point he gave the biggest reaction in the whole interview.) according to him due to this secret feeling of inferiority they buy those c-type residences in the privatization process of the Public houses which we discuss in detailed in section 6. But rather than taking argument in one way, we should also see the irritation of public houses’ community and one of its member as our interviewee in its unique context. As he unfolded it, he says it was a vengeance taken from the people who see themselves better than you, who share a better culture than you, who feel more qualified than you(‘others’) etc. But in these arguments also it should be  seen his self-definition as if it is their understanding.( the question is ‘how is he so sure about others’ feeling? And also another question pops up ‘ why is he so full of sentiments on this issue? ) To take from a different point according to Sevim Hanım jealousy can be discussed among state officers rather than local people’s perception of inferiority, in our opinion , is sounder argument. (Of course although they are unprofitable to buy such houses and there is sign of jealousy in the story of c-type residents but we does not believe it is generalized to our local populace.)


              Moreover Ahmet Haşim holds the subject from a different angle saying that ‘ madencilik sektöründe şehir hayatı yoktur ama ttk’nın farklı bir statüsü var..’, ‘its unique position’ is emphasized compared it to other mine industries and their public houses life so that is why according to him alienation from local people is not at extreme levels. He also sees local people like other parents of his children’s friends and her wife’s colleagues.  Whereas İbrahim gül mentions that ‘...taşkömürü dışında çalışanlarla ayaküstü merhabalaşmaktan öteye gidemiyorlar..’


  So as to understand a milestone in the evaluation of this bottle living  which is our agenda, American settlers, which were mentioned  in section 4 taken from Aykut Kırbıyık’s arguments, were one of the unconsidered sources of the elitist project, creating a no man’s land in the Kozlu’s citizens, without welcoming any trespassers.


              To create a tension both sides should required to give the account of this territory surrounded with wires, closed  to its periphery both sides movements and perceptions of each other rather than state’s performance being the puppet master should be seen. Although it is not frequent among public houses’ members, even one person (Ahmet Haşim) could be a sign of non-existence of clockmakers.



In this section relations of TTK with local, regional, and central state institutions will


be examined. Before examining these relations in detail, it is essential to give information about the characteristics of  TTK as an institutional body: The center of TTK is in Zonguldak, unlike many other state institutions, and General Directorate of association is directly bound to the Ministry of Energy. “Yönetim tam olarak bağımsız olmasa da, genelde kendi kararlarını kendisi veriyor.” says İbrahim Gül. The role of the ministry consists of giving advices and supervising. Given these information, it is aimed to be investigated relations of such an association with other important institutional bodies from three main aspects, in the light of Metin Heper's work "State Tradition in Turkey"[9]:

i)                            State policies which effect social life in TTK,

ii)                          Government policies on the institution,

iii)                         Unionist relations.


The most important state policy_and the one that will be examined in this paper, effecting social life of TTK is the privatization of public housing. All of the interviewees are agree that the main reason for privatization of institution and public housing is TTK’s losing money. According to Necdet Karabakal,because the production is too expensive and geological characteristics of region is not available for high mechanization, ‘state’ does not attend to its own possession. One of the senior administrators of the association explained the other reasons behind privatization as following: Firstly, intervention from higher levels of hierarchy reached to the extend that three ministers were calling the director, at the same time, for only one public house to secure that the house will be given to their own acquaintances. Secondly, living in public houses  almost turned into a lineal succession, descending from father to son. He says that the dwellers always found a way to settle their relatives to public houses, hindering the fair distribution. A question comes to the one's mind: Is the state really autonomus? And lastly, the restoration programs were not being ratified by the state.


Although many of the interviewees agrees that privatization of ‘some’ of the public housings is economically beneficial, most of them criticise public housing policy of the state due to ceasing to build public houses, reducing the state aid which was given to dwellers as coal or restoration charges, and increasing the rents of public houses. İhsan Ünlü very well demonstrated this general approach within the mining engineers by asserting: “ Hükümet politikaları sayesinde, devlet artık sosyal devlet değil!” As Metin Heper claims that the "periphery" always questions the "center" due to the tension between them which is the result of arbitrary policies of the center.[10] Although most of the workers literally says that there is not a intense tension or coercion from up to down, it is possible to read the effects of this tension between the lines, or in their lowered voices while talking about state and criticizing its policies.


As if Aykut Kırbıyık heard Ünlü’s explanations on social state he said that ‘there is a dense social erosion within the institution due to profit-making state policies. He adds in a sad manner: “ Artan kiraları bir yana bırak, TTK öyle bir dönem gördü ki, devlet üstüne para veriyordu bir de evlerine iyi bakıldığı için.”. In short, almost all of the middle class engineers were not happy about the reduced social policy of central state institutions.


Second aspect of institutional relations that will be investigated here is the  extend that TTK is affected from governmental circulation. Before concentrating on TTK, it is essential to emphasize political reflections on administarative cadres of institutions is not a characteristic only belongs to TTK and this is not a new fact but a traditional one. Heper asserts that the appointments made by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was made on the grounds of the officers political ideology.[11] Thus, although the interviewees  criticize this kind of relationship between center and periphery, this relation is overnormalized for most of them.


They are very well aware of the negative effects of political reflections on institutional cadres, however it is deeply rooted not only in institutions but also in the minds of people. For this reason, the reader of this paper will find criticisms on this issue but not transformation or reformation suggestions.


 The general view is that it affects the institution quite negatively, because administrative cadre changes in line with the change of the government. İhsan Ünlü informed us about the history of the political tension created by governments which adopt different political views. He asserted that “Yeni bir hükümet gelmesi TTK için 70’lere kadar sorun değildi. 75’ten sonra Ecevit-Demirel karşıtlığıyla bu gerilim arttı.”


Just like the other engineers that we interviewed, Mr. Fısıltı thinks that “Hükümet değişimlerinden kayanaklanan, yönetim kadrolarındaki ani değişiklikler yönetim kalitesini erozyona uğrattı“Bunlar kömür üretim oranını etkilemese de,daha yüksek potansiyele sahip yötecilerin yerinden edilmesiyle kurumun etkinliğini azalttı.” he adds. Moreover, politically initiated appointments causes a mass aggregation in higher levels of hierarchy, reducing the efficiency again. Şakir Yurdakul points out another problem which stems from this unfair appointments. According to him, “Eğer bir insan iktidar partisine yeterince yakın değilse hakettiği pozisyona getirilmeyebiliyor, aynı şey lojman dağıtımları için de geçerli.” “Torpil lojmana yerleşme konusunda çok etkili.” he adds.


Another important point about relations with other instutions is that all governing parties adopt a different attitude for TTK. Which one is the best? The answer of this question depends on the point of view of the people. For example, Çiller government is the worst according to İhsan Ünlü due to reducing production, and blocking the working principles of the association, while the “junta” regime is the best one, because of letting the institution to

act independently and effectively. On the other hand according to  Necdet Erbakal the governments who are in favor of EU have the best management because they let foreign capital enter in our counrty.


The last but not least type of institutional relation is the one with unions which is a very effective one too. There are two types of unions in the structure of TTK: one for workers, one for public employees. The union of the mine-workers is a sub group of Turk-iş, called General Mine Workers Union which was established in 17th november,1946 with a name ‘Ereğli kömür havzası maden işçileri derneği’ (Genel Maden İşçileri Sendikası) which is a very powerful one although its power and effectiveness is decreased in line with the reduction in in the number of the workers. On the other hand there are two main unions for public servants, namely: Turk Enerji-sen and Enerji-sen which have apposit points of view.The interviewees conclude that the relations between these unions are positive in general. However, beside this view Mr. Fısıltı touched upon another important issue about unionist relations. He said that “Yeni bir uygulamaya göre mühendisler de artık işçi statüsünde işe alınacak, ve işçi sendikasına üye olacak.” According to him this is a negative application because of the possibility of altering the relationship between workers and engineers. He asserts that “ Bu hiyerarşik düezene zarar verebilir.”


Of course there are negative points of views on unions. For example, according to Aykut Kırbıyık, for the workers are very much politicized, politics is deeply penetrated into the institution. He asserts that “İşçiler sendikalar sayesinde akord mekanizması olabiliyorlar.” For example, workers are involved in all decision making processes such as distribution of public houses, deciding on the new applications. He claims “İşçiler müdürleri atamakta bile etkili olabiliyorlar.”


        Although some unions became tools of state in its plans of rent-seeking, unions and TMMOB(Türk Mühendisler ve Mimar Odaları Birliği) form powerful reletionship  when it comes to work hand in hand against privatization according to Ahmet Haşim. He also asserts that engineers form brain and the workers form the muscle power of the whole embodiment and despite their conflicts in the social life, particularly in sensitive parts of production they always find a way to act like a single body.


In the mane of brevity, we can conclude that the most effective state policy on TTK is privatization, just as the other KIT’s in Turkey. Moreover it is obvious that approaches to privatization may change according to political and economical point of view of the employees, as it can be observed above.  In addition to this fact, government policies, changinging in line with the leading party are one of the factors which effects the working principles of TTK quite negatively. Lastly, although they are not as powerful as they are in the past, trade unions are very active in decision making processes of TTK, especially in deciding on the issues related to workers.



              After melting all of these integral parts in a pot, setting theoretical part of social relations in worklife, public house and the city aside, it can be concluded that what is common about the life experiences of these people in the first place following an inductive manner. As the content of most of the interviews reflect that almost all of these people share two common facet which stuck into two corner of their life experiences. One has a linkage to their choice  which is made unwillingly to be a member of TTK and to live in Zonguldak, the other is their indifference which is the state of mind brought by years of experience.


            To open up clearly, being more or less at the same age group (which is deliberately done in the purpose of  the survey as mentioned in the introduction), only one or two people have found strength and hope himself to act so as to change something into better rather than only being critical. In our opinion, although this looks like a shortcoming in our essay, it shows how people become very helpless in front of state and their perception of state is deeply shaped like an obstacle to their plans, dreams and etc. This also might be deciphered from their desires of better education, better environment, better future for their children, most of the time they are strongly against their children to do their father’s job. Even though they know this is the most secure(meaning economic and statuory security rather than bodily) one in the context of Zonguldak. In deeper sense,these men came out like some sort of intelligentsia ( we pick this word to be harmonical to the context of Public Housing as well,resembling with some kind of commune life as it was the case in Soviet Union) with old-fashioned patterns in their minds.


              Despite those weary concepts, they can still make reasonable comments in a simplistic format rather than going so deep in every subject like economics, politics, law etc. And also their values create an invisible shield for them without their knowledge and the fact that whether the shield is enough durable to protect them or not. Being the production farm of these embedded values public houses’ importance realizes itself once more. Although the field has started to erode little by little due to conditions that we have mentioned above such as discrimination of any kind, nepotism or rent-seeking.


             On the other side of the spectrum, analogous to the corruption of the individual, state lost its path in following necessary and right policies to create a sphere for those who are inclined to produce, to bring them together in order to ignite a collective action for the prosperity of its own. As the very nature of elitist project requires ‘not to dilute labour’,failing on this because of reasons which are given above such as favoritism,discrimination... as individual mistakes and troubles with (mainly stemmed from polarization within the fellowship) transforming a small town into a modern metropolitan with different classes and a new social makeup pave the way to the dissolution for this state institution in the very hands of itself by empowering  privatization, importation of coal, sale of public houses to who are not workers of the organization(TTK).


             To make a long story short, starting from individual, talking about organization, public houses, social networks etc. we finalized in reaching the state which becomes a source of pacification even only with its presence for some individuals. This work also shows that behind the macro theories, hopes and fears of individuals could be very helpful giving the basic relations within the institution and between the different institutions as well.    




[1] www.radikal.com, Hukuk ve Modernleşme. 18.02.2006

[2] ‘Dünya Enerji Ekonomisi Üzerinde Bir Araştırma’ Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi yayınları, Anakara Üniversitesi Basımevi 1968, sayfa: 31

[3] ‘Privatisation in the Uk and Turkey with particular reference to the coal sector’ Marmara univeristy European Community Institute, May 1996, Kadıköy, İstanbul, page 171

[4] Doç. Dr. Mehmet Ali Gürol.  , Zonguldak Kömür Havzası: Yapısı, Sorunları ve Bir Çözüm Önerisi, 1997. page:22

[5] www.taskomuru.gov.tr

 [6] Dr. Tunç Çelebi, page:251 Bizim Fener Mahallemiz, Zonguldak Kent Tarihi ’05 Bienali Bildiriler Kitabı

[7] Metin Heper, State Tradition in Turkey, Beverley, North Humberside: Eothen Press; Atlantic Highlands, N.J. Distributed in the USA by Humanities Press, c1985, page: 132


[8] Engin Erkin 1999 , Dört Maden Kentinin Değişim Öyküsü – 1973-1996 Karşılaştırmalı Bir Analiz Zonguldak-Kozlu-Kilimli-Çatalağzı page:249

[9]  Metin Heper, State Tradition in Turkey Beverley, North Humberside: Eothen Press; Atlantic Highlands, N.J. Distributed in the USA by Humanities Press, c1985


[10] Heper, State Tradition in Turkey, Beverley, North Humberside: Eothen Press; Atlantic Highlands, N.J. Distributed in the USA by Humanities Press, c1985page:40

[11] Heper, State

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