Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Empire

1914: how the bloodletting began

100 years ago, humanity stood on the brink of the abyss, about to plunge into the most terrible bloodletting ever seen in history. For generations after the Great War, 1914-18 was synonymous with senseless murder, a ghastly waste of life in the horror of the trenches, for which the suffering populations rendered the governments and the ruling classes largely responsible. To commemorate the war, one hundred years on, is thus something of an embarassment for those same ruling classes, and so 2014 became a year, not of commemoration but of forgetting.

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War and genocide: Ottoman socialism's trial by fire

The Italo-Turkish war broke out on 29th September 1911, with the invasion of the Ottoman Empire’s Libyan territory; it was to last until October 1912. Italy, which had been preparing for war since the summer, was a latecomer in the race to divide up the planet, and with the number of places not already occupied by the other great powers running out, the Italian bourgeoisie's initial military hesitations soon melted away.

After the 1908 mutiny: mass strikes and the socialist movement

The event that bears the closest similarities to the 1908 revolt, is the Russian Revolution of 1905. The most obvious similarity is the fact that in both cases, faced with massive opposition, absolutist monarchies granted constitutional regimes and parliaments. The difference was that the Ottoman Meclis-i Mebusan was considerably stronger than the Russian Duma, and the Ottoman bourgeoisie was determined not to hand power back to the monarchy.

The revolt of 1908

The Abdulhamid regime had been tottering since 1902. On July 3rd 1908 an eccentric military officer, Niyazi of Resen, who belonged to the Society of Union and Progress, ‘went rogue’ with the two hundred soldiers under his command and took to the mountains. In three weeks the mutiny in the Ottoman military had grown like an avalanche and the monarchy began to collapse. The spark turned into a fire that spread to almost all the Ottoman armed forces in Macedonia and to a significant section in the rest of the Empire.

The rise of the Young Turks and the attitude of the Socialists

On 21st May 1889 five students at the Military Medicine University of Constantinople met in complete secrecy in order to do something about a matter they deemed extremely important. Their names were Ishak Sukuti, Ibrahim Temo, Abdullah Cevdet, Mehmed Resid and Hikmet Emin. They were not to be as successful at writing their names into the pages of history as they may have hoped when they met that day. Nevertheless, the tradition they started was to live on for a long time. For that day they laid the foundations of the Society of Union and Progress.

Socialism and the workers’ movement in the Ottoman Empire

The article published here is the first part of The Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party, beginning a new edition of this pamphet. 

In 1889 the Second International was founded as a result of the attempts of the socialist parties of Western European countries such as Germany, France and Belgium to bring together different social democratic parties of the time. For the most part, the world communist movement of the future would emerge from this organization. While the Second International remained focused on Western Europe from its foundation to its collapse, and while it was designed from the start as a federation of national parties rather than a centralized structure, it was nevertheless to become a magnet for all the socialist movements of the time, from North and South America to the Far East.

Introduction to the 2nd English edition of the “Left Wing of the Communist Party of Turkey”

The purpose of this article is to introduce the new English edition of our pamphlet on the Left Wing of the Turkish Communist Party (Türkiye Komünist Partisi, TKP), which will be serialised in the following issues of the Review. The first edition of the pamphlet was published in 2008 by the Turkish group Enternasyonalist Komünist Sol (Internationalist Communist Left, EKS), which had already at the time adopted the ICC's basic positions as a statement of principle, and had begun to discuss the ICC's Platform.
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