Istanbul / Foreign Influence and the Capitalist Shift
Post the World War II, Turkey had quite a challenging time as the country’s economy was badly affected by the war. Firstly, due to the Soviet pressure and territorial claims on the control of the Straits and the north-eastern border towns of Kars and Ardahan. Secondly, with the economic devastation of Germany, Turkey got impacted as Germany was its major trade partner. Faced with this crisis, Turkey chose to align with the United States and Western Europe.
The alignment of Turkey with US helped Turkey to rebuild itself as it received abundant aid from the United States known as “Marshal Aid” for the economic revival and infrastructure modernization. The aid helped in upgradation of technical expertise and the availability of financial needs. In addition, the American technical and economic help sped up the construction of all-weather roads, which increased accessibility, and the progress of especially the machinery industry. With all this, there was an accelerated internal migration pattern observed. The “Marshall Aid’’ helped in the introduction of farm machinery and technological methods for modernization of agriculture. The era of 1945-1960 was marked with Turkey’s total dependence on the West. Therefore, the transition from the period of etatism to a more Western-influenced economy model was initiated with respect to global changes.
The flow of resources available for investment whether directly or indirectly increased, however in the 1950s, the income distribution gap widened as the share of the wage-earners in the agriculture fell by 7 percent and for the employees working in state enterprises by 22 percent1. This caused the widening income inequality which led to people migrating from rural to urban areas which later on was the starting point of the formation of modern Turkey (Refer to Table 1). Istanbul, due to its strategic location benefitted and a lot of development took place which included the building of wide road networks connecting Istanbul to rural areas and modernization of its urban landscape.
 Eastham, p. 132-133
- Akdogan, Gizem., Marwan. Ghandour, Claire. Cardinal-Pett, Hsain. Ilahiane, and Iowa State University. Architecture. Dealing with Rapid Development [electronic Resource]: Creation of the Informal Urban Economy and Gecekondu Housing in Istanbul.
- Eastham, J. K. “The Turkish Development Plan: The First Five Years,” The Economic Journal, vol. 74, no.293, (March, 1964): 132-136.
- Yalcintan, Murat Cemal, and Adem Erdem Erbas. “Impacts of “Gecekondu” on the Electoral Geography of Istanbul.” International Labor and Working-Class History 64 (2003). doi:10.1017/s0147547903000218.