Comrade Halil Çelik: a fighter for Trotskyism

We are publishing here the tribute given by Deepal Jayasekera, General Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party in Sri Lanka, to Halil Çelik, founder and leader of the Sosyalist Eşitlik Grubu which is the Turkish section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Jayasekera’s remarks were read at a memorial meeting for Halil on the fifth anniversary of his death held Sunday, January 14 in Istanbul.

Dear comrades,

On behalf of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka, I am sending revolutionary greetings for the memorial meeting held by our comrades in Turkey, the Sosyalist Eşitlik Grubu (SEG), to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of comrade Halil Çelik. I pay my tribute to the memory of this great revolutionary leader, whose pioneering work in close political collaboration with and under the guidance of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) was crucial for the founding of the SEG and its development as the Turkish section of the ICFI in June 2022.

Comrade Halil was not alive to see the ICFI’s acceptance of the SEG as its Turkish section. His central political role very much contributed to that historic advance for the fight for Trotskyism.

Through his unrelenting struggles for the principles of Trotskyism, Halil inspired many younger comrades, laying the foundation for the establishment of an ICFI section in Turkey.

Although he had a relatively short life, as cancer ended it at 57, he devoted four decades to the cause of socialist revolution. The last quarter of that period was dedicated to the struggle to build a section of the ICFI in Turkey.

Halil Çelik

From the age of 16, Halil was searching for a way out of the misery to which crisis-ridden bourgeois rule has condemned workers and youth. Due to the treacherous role played by Pabloite revisionism, which emerged within the Fourth International in early 1950s, Halil’s road to Trotskyist principles was very difficult and bitter.

Having come across the World Socialist Web Site for the first time in 1999, he started translating articles from it and took a serious, principled attitude towards the political analysis developed by the ICFI through those articles. He was attracted to Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution elaborated by the ICFI/WSWS.

Having begun close political collaboration with the ICFI in 2007 after meeting some of its leaders for the first time, he devoted himself to the struggle to build an ICFI section in Turkey until his death.

I had the chance to meet Halil personally when he attended the IC plenum held in Berlin in the summer of 2014. He delivered a detailed report on the political and economic crisis confronting Turkey, placing it in the broader context of the global crisis of capitalism. That IC plenum unanimously passed a resolution accepting an application presented by comrade Halil on behalf of the Social Equality Group to start discussions with the aim of establishing a section in Turkey.

The intense political and theoretical collaboration of the ICFI with our Turkish comrades led to the acceptance of the SEG’s application to become a section of the ICFI in June 2022.

Comrades, we are looking forward to the founding congress of the Socialist Equality Party in Turkey. It will be a very fitting tribute to the memory of Comrade Halil.

Long live the memory of comrade Halil Çelik!