The period (1961-1973) of the Turkish guest workers in Federal Germany is a topic of a large literature, but not much light has been shed on the disagreements and even conflicts among worker organisations about labour activism and democratic participation in trade unions and production processes. If anything, in the early 1960s Turkish workers massively gathered under trade unions, even at a time when guest workers’ rights had been of secondary importance in trade unions. Based on the archival material published by the worker associations in Cologne and Frankfurt, the paper discusses the key attitudes raised within the early Turkish associations towards how to engage German trade unions and work councils at companies individually and in the organisational form. In brief, the legal framework about the temporary work in Germany, trade unions’ positions, and nationalist forces consolidated in Turkish governments and bureaucracy underpinned conflicting disputes about the idea of democratic participation through labour activism.
Dr. Caner Tekin is a researcher at the Institute for Social Movements of the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), where he leads the project “History of the Turkish Migrant Organisations in Comparison” funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung. He received his doctor title at RUB in 2020. He worked previously as postdoctoral fellow at the Georg-Eckert Institute for Textbook Research and as teaching fellow at the RUB Centre for Mediterranean Studies. He authored the Book “Debating Turkey in Europe: Identities and Concepts” (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020), edited a recent volume of the Journal Moving the Social (No:65/2021) and co-edited (with Stefan Berger) the volume “History and Belonging: Representations of the Past in Contemporary European Politics” (New York: Berghahn Books, 2018).
The online seminar is free and open to the public upon registration: https://forms.gle/A8AJDvdaQyUiG5qD8
This event is part of the lecture series:
Lecture series in the academic year 2021/22
The Historicity of Democracy Seminar