Osman Öztürk / The Labor Unionism of 1946

An abstract of the thesis of Osman Öztürk for the degree of Master of Arts from the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History to be taken in October 2006

The Labor Unionism of 1946

During the transition to a multi-party system in Turkey during 1946, the prohibition of founding societies “based on class” was lifted. Thus, the way was open to unionist organizations. At this turning point of the Republic’s history, socialists had been forced to work underground to establish legal parties and take their place in the political arena. The Türkiye Sosyalist Partisi (TSP), the Turkish Socialist Party, and the Türkiye Sosyalist Emekçi ve Köylü Partisi (TSEKP), the Turkish Socialist Workers and Peasants Party, were founded and started to organize unions. Although the two parties adopted different methods in organization, this unionist experience conducted by the supporters of TSP and TSEKP is known as “Labor Unionism of 1946” in the Turkish unionist literature.

Both socialist parties and the unions that were founded by their supporters were closed on December 16, 1946 by the Martial Law Command. Labor Unionism of 1946, even though it lasted only a short period, was organized in a noticeable and speedy fashion among the working class. The prohibition of the Labor Unionism of 1946 which was essentially of a socialist worldview based on class unionism opened the way to a different type of unionism that is known as the “Labor Unionism of 1947” in Turkey. The Labor Unionism of 1946 and the developments that took place around it, is an early example of indicating how a multi-party system would take shape in Turkey and provide clues for the understanding of Turkish politics and the history of the labor class.

Atatürk Ilkeleri Inkilap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde Yüksek Lisans derecesi için Osman Öztürk tarafindan Ekim 2006’da teslim edilen tezin kisa özeti

1946 Sendikaciligi

Türkiye’de çok partili yasama geçildigi 1946 yilinda Cemiyetler Kanunu’nda degisiklik yapilarak “sinif esasina müstenit” cemiyet kurma yasagi kaldirildi. Böylece sendikal örgütlenmenin önü açildi. Cumhuriyet tarihinin bu önemli kirilma noktasinda, uzun yillar boyunca yasa disi çalisma kosullarina itilmis olan sosyalistler de yasal partiler kurarak siyasal yasamda yerlerini almaya çalistilar. Türkiye Sosyalist Partisi (TSP) ve Türkiye Sosyalist Emekçi ve Köylü Partisi (TSEKP) kuruldu ve sendikalari örgütlemeye basladilar. Örgütlenmede farkli modeller izlemis olsalar da, TSP ve TSEKP yandaslari tarafindan yürütülen bu sendikal deneyim Türkiye sendikacilik literatüründe “1946 Sendikaciligi” olarak tanimlanir.

Her iki sosyalist parti ve bu partilerin yandaslari tarafindan kurulan sendikalar 16 Aralik 1946 tarihinde Sikiyönetim Komutanligi tarafindan kapatildi. 1946 Sendikaciligi sinirli bir zaman diliminde de olsa isçi sinifi arasinda dikkat çekici bir hizla ve yayginlikta örgütlendi. Ana karakteri sosyalist dünya görüsüne dayali sinif sendikaciligi anlayisi olan 1946 Sendikaciligi’nin bu sekilde yasaklanmasi, Türkiye’de “1947 Sendikaciligi” olarak da adlandirilan bir baska sendikal tarzin önünü açti. 1946 Sendikaciligi ve onun etrafinda gelisen bu olaylar Türkiye’deki çok partili yasamin ilerideki yillarda nasil sekillenecegini ve sinirlarini gösteren erken bir örnektir ve Türkiye siyasetini ve isçi sinifi tarihini anlamak için önemli ipuçlari saglamaktadir.