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M Sönmez’in R Yürükoğlu’nun 3.Ölüm Yıldönümü Anma Toplantısı Konuşması:

‘His theoretical background made him teacher!’


Today’s proceedings will be in English. However please allow me to say a few words in Turkish to our Turkish speaking comrades. We shall then revert to English.


Yurukoğlu Yoldaşımızı anma ve  ‘Komünıst Manifesto’yu tartışma seminerimize hoş geldiniz. Toplantı Ingilizce dilinde yapılacak. Gönül isterdi ki geçtiğimiz haftalarda Alexandra Palas’ta yapılan ESF toplantılarında olduğu gibi simültane çeviriler yapabilecek durumda olalım.  Ne yazık ki bizim elimizde bu maddi olanaklar yok.

Bildiğimiz gibi komünist hareket uluslar-arası bir harekettir ve toplantılara en geniş uluslar-arası katlımı sağlamak en başta gelen görevlerimizdendir. Burada anlatım birliğini sağlayabilmek için İngilizce’yi seçtik.

Bir yoldaşımız katılımcılar arasından yapılacak Türkçe katkıları İngilizce’ye tercüme edecek. Umarım ki başarılı bir toplantı gerçekleştiririz.


On behalf of the Communist Party of Turkey and the Communist Party of Great Britain I welcome you to this meeting.

I am pleased, and I am sure Comrade Yurukoglu would have been pleased, too, that this third anniversary commemoration of his death also serves as a platform to debate Marxist theory, something he kept so close to his heart. Perhaps it can be the start of a tradition in a small way.

And what better place to hold a Marxist school than Marx Memorial Library. Lenin published Iskra here. This building was also closely associated with the International Brigades. We, too, can claim some association with this building. Comrade Yurukoglu and a number of other comrades from the Communist Party of Turkey held a meeting in this very building in 1979 when the bureaucratic leadership of the TKP started to pursue a policy of exclusion and expulsions against the revolutionary majority of the party. They launched an organised opposition under his leadership.

The fact that the Communist Party of Turkey has survived many years of turmoil, without interruption, not having lost any of its revolutionary zest is mainly due to Comrade Yurukoglu’s leadership and legacy.

He attributed a great deal of importance to theory and scientific thought. He also believed one should always study direct from the source whenever possible. He extensively read Marx’s and Engels’ works. He was a firm believer in the motto that: “there can be no successful action without theoretical backing”. This theoretical background also made him a teacher. All of his works have been hammered out and discussed at seminars, schools, year in year out, week in week out, day in day out at Sunday meetings, special meetings, and so on. There aren’t many Turkish communists or socialists from the seventies or the eighties, especially whose paths have crossed London,  who can say that they haven’t sat through discussion groups or seminars chaired by him lasting into the small hours of the morning – often in smoke filled rooms.

Among his definitive works are: “Turkey, Weak Link of Imperialism” published at the height of the revolutionary situation in Turkey in the late 70s, “Living Socialism” written in 1981  , dealing with the problems of “real socialism” and examining in depth the possibility of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Before his death he was working on the trilogy: “What is Socialism?” He had published the first volume while he was alive. Two further volumes were published posthumously, assembled from his manuscripts (or computer scripts to be more precise) by an editorial board selected by him from among his party comrades.

The books address fundamental questions such as: “Can there be socialism in one country?”, “Can there be commodity production under socialism?”, “Can there be a Socialist State?”, “Problems of the Socialist Revolution and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” etc.

Regretfully Comrade Yurukoglu’s life came to an abrupt end at the age of 56. Had he lived longer, not only would he have contributed a great deal more to our theoretical work, but he would also have continued his struggle to establish the unity of communists in Turkey – as well as abroad. But it was not to be!


Here lies the purpose of today’s school: To study Marxism, to participate in the debate among communists, and to seek the ideological and organisational unity of the communist movement through debate and discussion:

And what better topic of discussion than the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”? The Manifesto of which communist party one may ask? No comrades not of “which” communist party, but of “the” communist party – not the communist party of one country, but the communist party of all countries: The Communist Party of the World.

And what better time to discuss it than the present?: In a globalised world,  where no borders exist for capital and capitalists; Where it is the present duty and immediate aim of every communist, and communists together,  to raise the struggle for one working class and one coordinated struggle to smash the capitalist state and establish the rule of the proletariat. The manifesto also gives us clues about the focal points of the forthcoming struggle.

I am sure my comrades will dwell on these issues shortly.

However before leaving the platform I would like to ask you to stand in silence in Comrade Yurukoglu’s memory for one minute.