The purpose of this paper is to provide an account of how leading radical left movements of Turkey in 1960-71 conceptualized the state. The analytical framework draws on the mode of exchange framework developed by Kojin Karatani. The Turkish Left was unable to theorize the autonomy of the state, the construction of the nation as an imagined community, and the importance of popular resistance against the state's destruction of traditional communities. Right-wing political parties filled this vacuum with the populist discourse of nation. The Turkish Left conceded its social base to right-wing parties and hence lost the opportunity of winning political efficacy. Our critical assessment of the Left of Turkey in 1960-71 is pertinent to discussions about present-day left-wing strategies that leave the nation and ravaged communities to right parties to exploit or utilise as part of their program.