Workers’ Istanbul, Istanbul’s Workers
Wealth Tax
Changing Society, Changing Professions
June, 15-16 Incidents

Economic Life

Istanbul has been the economic center of its region, the empire, and the country where it is located since ancient times. The main reason why it is a commercial center is that it is the crossing point of the commercial roads of the east and west.

The industry was in the form of small manufacturing shops in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods and after the industrial revolution of 19th century, Istanbul and especially Balat, Fener and Ayvansaray districts of Istanbul on the coast of the Golden Horn were leading in the industrial production. Today, the industrial facilities and factories have moved to the periphery of Istanbul, including especially Tuzla.

In the Byzantine and Ottoman period, the manufacturing industry was organize with guilds and monopolies and in the Republican period, trade unions have become the new address of the workers’ organization. Workers’ movements appeared together with the trade unions and the worker’s march that spread across Istanbul as the incidents of June 15-16 has been the best example of this.

The Wealth Tax decree that was passed for the purpose of removing the economic problems experienced during the Second World War has had a negative impact on the non-Muslim communities living in Istanbul.

From the past to the present, Istanbul has preserved its position as the most significant industrial and commercial center of Turkey. In early 20th century, the Banks Street in Galata district was replaced by the multi-national finance companies with offices in the skyscrapers in Levent-Maslak axis.

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