Social History Research Foundation of Turkey – TUSTAV was founded by the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), which had been formed in 1988 with the unification of the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TIP) and the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP). The decision to establish TÜSTAV was made in 1992 in the TBKP’s First Annual General Congress. Nabi Yağcı, Ahmet Kardam and Abdurrahman Atalay became the founders of the Foundation.
In January 1997, TÜSTAV’s Board of Directors invited everyone who could say “This history belongs to me as well” to participate in the Foundation’s as founding members. In line with this invitation, many people, and networks who had been the subjects of the history of the left and labor movements in Turkey took part in the Foundation’s activities.
TUSTAV’s principal objective was initially defined as collecting, preserving, opening to access, and publishing all the written, visual, and audio files, all the archive documents of TKP, TIP and TBKP. Starting in 1999, however the Foundation has embraced the history of the labor and left movements in Turkey as a whole. In May 2006, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees emphasized this perspective as follows: this approach was emphasized by in May 2006:
“The history of TKP, TIP and TBKP cannot be separated from the history of the workers and leftist movements in Turkey. Therefore, TUSTAV will endeavor to collect and bring into use the materials and documents of the workers’ and leftist movements while pursuing its founding aims.”
In this context, a number of archival documents, such as the records of the trials of peace movements, leftist organizations and labor movements, have been collected, classified and made available to researchers.
TUSTAV is one of the first institutions in Turkey to use digital technology in the field of archiving. Our foundation is committed to the principle of open data, open information and opposes the commodification of information. It goes without saying that, it expects the labor to be treated with respect by citing the source of the information used. With this understanding, it has made and continues to supply archive funds, and make periodicals, books, and has transferred some audio-visual archive materials to digital media and made these available on its website.
In recent years, TUSTAV has become an important source for academics and intellectuals interested both in the history of labor studies and leftist movements and their current issues. Especially since the beginning of 2015, a significant number of academics joined TUSTAV as members, contributing to the activities of the Foundation, and participated in the TUSTAV Board of Trustees. This body was legally consolidated and gained institutional permanence with an amendment to the Foundation Bill in 2018.
TUSTAV has carried out all these activities with the contribution and participation of its members and supporters many of whom are indeed also the subjects and the makers of the history our Foundation curates. The Foundation continues its existence through this collective effort and devotion.
In its 30th year, TÜSTAV is a historical and archival association that aims to collect, preserve and bring into use the information and documents related to the last century of communist, workers and leftist movements in our country, as well as the trade union movements and the political action of the working class and other working people, with the aim of gradually evolving into a labor history research institute.