A Revolutionist in Istanbul: Leon Trotksy

In Istanbul Trotsky firstly staid in the Russian Consulate in Beyoğlu, which is still active nowadays, after which he moved to the Tokatlıyan Hotel, which was one of the most popular hotels at that time next to the Çiçek Pasajı. Because he resumed his work as the opposition of Stalin immediately and sent some essays […]

In Trotsky firstly staid in the Russian Consulate in Beyoğlu, which is still active nowadays, after which he moved to the Tokatlıyan Hotel, which was one of the most popular hotels at that time next to the Çiçek Pasajı. Because he resumed his work as the opposition of immediately and sent some essays abroad which were met with controversy from the international media, the question of security became urgent for the Turkish police.[7]

Trotsky's Turkish hideaway
Trotsky’s Turkish hideaway

Finally the revolutionist was placed in the İzzet Paşa (Yanaros) mansion in Büyükada, where his movements could be traced most easily.[8] Here the daily life of the Trotsky was shaped around his political work. His gift for writing helped him again both to finance his living and to carry on his oppositional political practices especially against Stalin. He regularly published essays in influential newspapers and released the Bulletin of the Opposition, which was printed in both Paris and Berlin and distributed secretly in the Soviet Union under the supervision of his son Lev Trotsky who had left Büyükada to maintain the resistance outside of Turkey. Furthermore he wrote his autobiography and the History of the Russian amongst others to balk Stalin´s policy to change the history of the at his own benefit.[9] On the side Trotsky became a keen angler and established a close friendship with a fisherman despite the language barrier on both sides.[10]

Numerous Trotskyists visited Büyükada traveling from various countries. This in contradiction to the response to Trotsky´s arrival in Istanbul by the Turkish left, which remained relatively silent. One reason for that is that the revolutionist kept himself away from the political developments in  the republic. Another one is the bilateral attitude of the Turkish government against communism; The domestic policy strictly suppressed the communist movement. So the first Communist Party of Turkey was banned[11]  and his leader Mustafa Suphi died of suspicious circumstances in the 1920’s. At the same time the Soviet Union and the Turkish Republic had established strong networks since the Turkish of Independence as the nations were created on similar backgrounds.

Our Revolution, one of his books
One of his books

For all numerous rebounds Trotsky still staid an eager revolutionist who believed in a possible comeback. This was also encouraged by the general tendency to shift to the left or right wing in politics in order to improve the living standards due to the collapse of capitalism after the First World War and the outbreak of a financial crisis.[12]  After all people´s search would be ending advantageous for the right wing and Trotsky´s dream of a world revolution would be receding into the distance.[13]

 


7. Coşar, Ömer Sami: p: 33–42
8. Coşar, Ömer Sami: p: 59
9. Service, Robert: p: 456-501
10. Coşar, Ömer Sami: p: 74-75
11. Coşar, Ömer Sami: p: 30
12. Coşar, Ömer Sami: p: 111-116
13. Service, Robert: p: 495

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Photo Credits: International May Day, Panama, Old Picz, The Guardian, Revolutionary Books




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