Thu Jul 11, 2024
July 11, 2024

On the loss of Adem Topal

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Adem Topal, one of the leading cadres of the Trotskyist movement in Turkey. Adem Topal was one of the recognised pioneers of the golden generation of the Turkish revolutionary movement that flourished in the 60s. His first years of struggle, going from an Aegean village in Turkey to a university would bring him closer to the armed vanguard. But not only to the armed vanguard but also to Sinan Cemgil (a youth movement revolutionary leader). When the pioneers of THKO (a guerrilla group in Turkey) were destroyed in the Nurhak mountains, Adem Topal was one of those captured by the forces of order.

We would not be wrong to say that in the 70s, the guerrilla line and Stalinism left their mark on the revolutionary movement in Turkey. For this reason, the fact that a respected hero of the guerrilla war like Adem Topal’s wanted to address the causes of defeat instead of coasting off of his fame from those years deserves to be emphasised. His methodical search for answers was the bridge that led him and several revolutionaries of the period to discover an internationalist Marxism centered on the cities, the industrial belts and the working class.

In a late capitalist and semi-colonial country, the tasks of democratic revolution and the quest for national independence were intertwined with those of socialist revolution. The understanding that the working class should take the leadership of all oppressed sections of society by proposing a revolutionary programmatic line was the main factor that brought Adem Topal together with the pioneering Trotskyists of the period.

Between 1978 and 1980, the effort to build a Leninist-Trotskyist organisation in these lands was accompanied by the attempt to create a Revolutionary Marxist literature.

The coup d’état of 12 September 1980 aimed to destroy the revolutionary movement. To this end, the short-term strategy of the state was terror and repressive policies; the long-term strategy was to restructure the institutional architecture of the state in such a way as to leave no space for these groups to build political power. The young organisation of the Trotskyist movement in Turkey suffered heavy blows in this first phase of the process.

Adem Topal was taken abroad by the forces of the Fourth International immediately after the coup and lived in exile in Dijon, France for many years. We are shaken by the loss of one by one the representatives of the first generation of pioneers who had left their mark on the Trotskyist movement in our country. Rıfat Ucur, Ahmet Doğançayır, Muhittin Karkın and now Adem Topal…

We know that these comrades, to whom we owe so much, will live on in every step we take in the fight for the world of freedom and of communism. Their true resting place is now in the hearts of those who love them.

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