Ethem Nejat

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Ethem Nejat
Ethem Nejat and school football team players.

Ethem Nejat (1883 – 29 January 1921) was a Turkish revolutionary communist militant.

Nejat worked on education during the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire. Originally a pan-Turkist, in 1918, the Ottoman government sent him to Germany, where he became a Communist and participated in the Spartacist German Revolution along with the "Workers and Peasants Party" he formed with Turkish students and workers who were in Germany. This group published the paper Liberation. They were recalled in 1919 back to Turkey, where they changed the name of the party to the Turkish Workers and Peasants Socialist Party. Members of this party were eventually going to make the bulk of the Istanbul organization of the Communist Party of Turkey. Liberation was published in Turkey, and Ethem Nejat was writing articles about the proletariat, capital, class struggle; the paper also had articles about the October Revolution.

The Turkish Bolshevik Mustafa Suphi, exiled in Russia, was planning to get in touch with communist groups in Turkey and form the Communist Party of Turkey by uniting the different communist groups in Turkey. As Suphi was in Baku, Nejat took the initiative among communists within Turkey. This enabled the first congress of the Communist Party of Turkey to be held on September 11, 1920, in Baku, at which Nejat made a speech on the "Workers Struggle in Istanbul". The Turkish Workers and Peasants Socialist Party constituted one of the three major factions of the new communist party. He was elected as the general secretary of the new party.

With the Communist Party, Nejat's supporters published the magazine Enlightened, which became the de facto legal press organ of the party. After several months, the leading militants of the Party decided to return to Turkey in order to join the ongoing struggle. One their way to Ankara to meet Mustafa Kemal, they were attacked by the inhabitants of the cities they were passing. Finally they decided to return to Baku with a boat from the city of Trabzon. Ethem Nejat and Mustafa Suphi were killed along with 14 comrades at 29 January by Captain Yahya.[1]

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