Workers Party of Turkey

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Workers Party of Turkey (Türkiye İşçi Partisi) was a Turkish political party, founded in 1961. It became the first socialist party in Turkey to win representation in the national parliament. It was banned twice (after the military coups of 1971 and 1980) and eventually merged with the Communist Party of Turkey in 1988.

History[edit]

TİP was founded by a group of labour union members. After a year of inactivity, the founders invited Marxist lawyer Mehmet Ali Aybar to assume the leadership of the party. Following Aybar, several other Marxist intellectuals also joined the ranks and the party soon adopted a Marxist programme.

The party's breakthrough came in the 1965 general election when it got 3% of the votes in the national elections and won 15 seats in the parliament. TİP deputies' highly publicized active participation in parliamentary sessions contributed to a radicalisation of the political scene in the country. By 1967-68, militant left-wing student organizations and labour unions were formed.

In 1968, after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Aybar adopted a rhetoric hostile to Soviet Communism. However, when TİP failed to increase its votes in the 1969 general election, Aybar had to resign from the party leadership and Marxist sociologist Behice Boran, who had opposed Aybar's anti-Soviet stand, was elected as party leader in 1970.

TİP was banned after the military coup of 1971 and Boran, together with other senior TİP leaders, arrested and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. They were released following an amnesty in 1974 and re-established TİP the next year. In 1978 the Bahçelievler massacre saw seven student members of the TIP executed in Ankara by ultranationalists.

TİP was once again banned after the military coup in 1980. This time, Boran went to exile in Europe and the party continued to operate clandestinely. In 1988, it merged with the Communist Party of Turkey to form the United Communist Party of Turkey.

See also[edit]