The IISH library holds about 20,000 records (books, pamphlets, and periodicals) on the social and political history of Turkey, most of them published in Turkey. Publications issued in the Turkish and Kurdish Diaspora are included. In addition to archives, publications of the social movement itself, such as periodicals and leaflets, are available for research. This material is abundant and may be retrieved through different types of searches in the IISH library catalogue.
The periodicals collections holds legal as well as illegal journals and dailies from Turkey and the Turkish and Kurdish Diaspora. There are more than 2500 records, 400 of these Kurdish. Unlike any other library or institution in the world (including Turkey), the IISH systematically collects and stores the journals and bulletins of the Turkish trade unions.
Printed and visual materials from the trade union federations Türk-Is and DISK and their unions, as well as the Muslim federation Hak-is and the employee federation KESK is collected systematically.
The IISH has the most important periodicals issued by early socialists including as Iştirak and Besheriyet (Ottoman Socialist Party). The first periodicals issued by the Turkish Communist Party are also present, as are complete runs of the leftist journals from the 1960s (Yön, Sosyal Adalet, Ant, Türk Solu, Aydinlik, Işçi-Köylü). Journals from the 1970s are nearly complete (Atilim, Yürüyüs, Kitle, Ilke, Devrimci Yol, Halkin Kurtulusu, Halkin Birligi, Halkin Yolu). There are 300 current subscriptions, including various dailies: Yeniden Özgür Politika (PKK-Europe), Evrensel (radical left), Vakit (radical Islam), and Yeniden Özgür Gündem (Pro-PKK-Turkey).
In addition to archives, publications, and audio-visual materials, the Turkish Desk has collections of press clippings and documentation, including Ismail Arar (mainly biographical documentation), Celâl Küçük (trade union actions), and HTIB (migrants). Over time, as a corollary to the collections in the areas described here, a wealth of material relevant to human rights in Turkey has been gathered, especially parliamentary material, reports, and court transcripts.