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The gecekondu are the shantytowns of Turkey. This study by Kemal Karpat investigates within a broad historical, conceptual and comparative framework the migration and urbanization of the people of these settlements. It is based on personal interviews with people living in three gecekondu in the northern hills of Istanbul, along the Bosporus. The gecekondu are considered here as a part of the entire process of rural migration and urbanization - and so of the transformation of the economic, political, social and cultural order in the Third World nations. Special emphasis has been placed on the historical factors that undermined the traditional social structure in the third world and freed a large number of people for migration and resettlement, and also on the impact of the gecekondu upon the home villages. The author draws on several academic points of view - economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, history - and, himself a native Turk, brings a long acquaintance with that land and its people to this study of an institution whose importance has been largely unrecognized.