Communist Party of Turkey (historical)

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The Communist Party of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Komünist Partisi) was a communist party founded during the Turkish War of Independence. One of the oldest political parties in Turkey and one of the oldest communist parties in the Middle East, the TKP was founded in September 1920 in Baku. Its founder was Mustafa Subhi and first general secretary was Ethem Nejat.

Founders and the Trabzon Incident[edit | edit source]

After the October Revolution, Mustafa Subhi, one of the founders of the party, arrived in Moscow and entered the service of the "Centromkom", which was being organized at the level of "Narkomnak". He was the first Turk to offer his support to the Soviet government. Mustafa Subhi's support for the Soviets caused the reaction of the nationalist Muslim intelligentsia and opportunist socialists, who launched a vicious campaign against him in their newspapers ("Koiassi" and "Ioulduze" in Kazan and other cities). The nationalist Tatars could not understand how a Turkish professor could ally himself with the Bolsheviks. Mustafa Subhi and the Turkish communists distributed copies of the newspaper "Yeni Dünya" (the New World) among the Turkish prisoners of war in Russia and called on them to fight to establish a Soviet government in Turkey, the newspaper gained great popularity among the Turkish prisoners of war. At a conference organized by the Central Committee of Muslim Socialists and the Muslim Socialist-Communist Committees, Mustafa Subhi organized Turkish communists and formed a Turkish regiment to fight against the Czechoslovaks to help the Bolsheviks. Mustafa Subhi was active in Turkestan until 1920, but later moved to Baku with the declaration of the Soviet government in Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, the Turkish bourgeois nationalists, the Committee of Union and Progress, created a fake "Turkish Communist Party", but they were later purged by the real Turkish communists. In 1920, the Communist Party of Turkey was formed by the merger of various organizations. It organized in the occupied territories and all over Anatolia. In Southern Russia the party organized cells. A combat regiment was being prepared to be transferred from Baku to Anatolia, but Mustafa Subhi and 15 communists were shot and killed by nationalist army generals under the orders of Mustafa Kemal Pasha.[1] When the news arrived in Moscow, the Soviet Politburo issued an official statement to inform the members of the Soviet Communist Party. The statement mainly referred to the dangers posed by "leftist and adventurous initiatives".[2]

After the Trabzon Incident[edit | edit source]

Kemalists outlawed the TKP in 1925. Some Russian Bolsheviks believed that a communist program could not be adopted in Turkey at that time because of the religious loyalty of the population. At the Third Congress of the Comintern, Süleyman Nuri strongly criticized the incident in the Trabzon, but said that Mustafa Kemal should be supported "as long as he fights imperialism". In 1928, at the Sixth Congress of the Comintern, Turkish and Iranian delegates claimed that Kemalism had moved into the counter-revolutionary camp, but the Comintern continued its policy that Kemalism was progressive, with arguments made especially by Otto Kuusinen. the Communist Party of Turkey was a party that was loyal to Moscow in general. During the Second World War, the TKP carried out anti-war and anti-fascist propaganda activities. In 1943 the party plenum approved a document on behalf of the "Front for the Struggle against Fascism and Robbery". When the Cold War began, the bourgeois state has become even more reactionary. Turkey has been transformed into an American satellite state. In 1951 and 1952, TKP members were imprisoned en masse. All its important members were arrested, tortured and sentenced to heavy prison terms. This caused the party organization to collapse in the 1950s. After 1953, the party's activities were mainly limited to activities carried out from abroad.[2]

Central Committee in Europe[edit | edit source]

The party was organized abroad among Turkish migrant workers and students. When İsmail Bilen became general secretary, the TKP experienced a period of great progress.[3] During this period, the activities in the country increased and the TKP strengthened within various trade unions. However, some people criticized Ismail Bilen about directing the party from abroad and for being a "Soviet dogmatist". After the 1980 fascist coup, the TKP lost its power just like other communist parties. İsmail Bilen died in 1983 and the the party disbanded in 1987.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev (1921). Mustafa Suphi ve Yapıtı (TR) / Mustafa Subhi and His Masterpiece (EN) (Russian: Мустафа Субхи и его шедевр). İştiraki Dergisi.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bülent Gökay (2020-09-10). "The Communist Party of Turkey" İştiraki Dergisi.
  3. TKP-1920. "Comrade Bilen is 110 Years Old"