“Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party” pamphlet

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This is an extract from our "Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party" pamphlet. It is not available online. Copies can be purchased for £4.

The Comintern's theses on the national question put forward the idea that ‘national liberation' movements should be supported and nations' right to self determination should be recognised. On the other hand, even if it had some influence, there was no need for the Comintern to pressure the Turkish Communist Party to accept the decision. The majority at the Congress, just like the majority who participated in the Peoples' Congress of the East, had not managed to break from nationalist ideology and some of them had feelings towards Westerners that were arguably quite racist. Following the Congress, the militants in Constantinople started crossing to Anatolia while Mustafa Suphi, Ethem Nejat and the founding cadres of the TKP called "the 15" had quite enthusiastically started to exchange letters with Mustafa Kemal in order to go to Ankara.

Unfortunately, the naïve calculations made at the TKP Congress were not going to fit the ruthless reality. Indeed the central bourgeois government did not intend to give any movement other than itself the opportunity to live. First of all, on 5th January 1921, the Islamic-Bolshevik nationalist gangs who aided communists in Anatolia were disbanded and the gang leaders had to escape and get out of the country. On 19th January 1921, lots of self-proclaimed communists, leftists in the parliament, as well as militants of the Communist Party in Anatolia ... were arrested, and were condemned by the "Independence Tribunals", a sort of revolutionary court of the nationalist movement, to 15 years imprisonment with forced labour for their efforts to "weaken the feelings for the defence of the fatherland". Sherif Manatov, a revolutionary who had played an important part in the organisation of communists in Anatolia was deported. Manatov returned to the Soviet Union where he was to be murdered sometime afterwards.

Finally on the night of 28-29 January, the 15 founding leaders of the TKP who had naively come to Turkey despite everything that had happened, were brutally murdered on the orders of Mustafa Kemal, who had shown a true example of bourgeois hypocrisy in order to pull "the 15" to where he could reach them, on the boat they had boarded in Trabzon in order to escape from the reactionaries who had attacked them. The Kemalist bourgeoisie had aimed to get rid of all those who called themselves communists with this attack. [...]

Even before the foundation of the united TKP, one of the important militants of the Anatolian TKP, Sherif Manatov, had warned Mustafa Suphi of what Kemal planned to do personally and had said he couldn't trust bourgeois politicians. Another important figure from the Anatolian TKP, Salih Hacioğlu, had said that "Mustafa Kemal is a dictator; he doesn't allow anyone to do anything. A Bolshevik who was sent from Odessa to do organisational work among workers was caught by the police in İnebolu, was tortured despite saying ‘I'm a Bolshevik' and was eventually tortured to death".The interesting part was that these observations of Salih Hacioğlu were reported a few days before the Founding Congress of the TKP and in this report it was explained that it would be suicide to cross to Anatolia openly and all together. And after the attacks took place, the Comintern did nothing but ignore them.

WR 9/3/09