Labour in Turkey during the 1960s: The Long Hot Decade of the Working Class

In: Turkish Historical Review
Author: Aziz Çelik1
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  • 1 Professor, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Industrial Relations and Labour Economics, Kocaeli University, Izmit/Kocaeli, Turkey,
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The 1960s were unique and sui generis years for the labour movement in Turkey. This decade not only witnessed the emergence of industrial capitalism, but also was a critical and intense period of class struggle in which the formation of the country’s working class accelerated. As the working class gained momentum, it proved itself to be a new social class after being dismissed in previous decades. At the beginning of the period, trade unions gained constitutional guarantees, thereby increasing the momentum of the labour movement, even as traditional trade unionism eroded somewhat following a period of dominance in the previous two decades. Ultimately, class-based and independent unionism grew in strength in the 1960s, while the decade also represents a critical moment in the process of working-class politicisation.

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