Labor Day to be marked in separate meetings around Turkey

Labor Day to be marked in separate meetings around Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Labor Day to be marked in separate meetings around Turkey

A joint rally with the participation of all six major unions confederations was held in Istanbul last year to mark the Labor Day. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Hundreds of thousands people are expected to hit the streets in Turkish cities today for the International Workers’ Day, despite the main unions of Turkey being unable to strike a compromise on a common declaration for the event and separating their marches.

“The confederations tried to impose their preferences, redlines and understandings on the others, that’s why a common celebration failed this year,” Mahmut Arslan, head of the Confederation of Righteous Trade Unions (Hak-İş) said yesterday in Ankara.

The Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) and the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK) will be meeting in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, while two confederations known to be close to the government, Hak-İş and the Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions (Memur-Sen) will hit the streets in Ankara.

On the other hand Turkey’s largest trade union confederation Türk-İş and the Turkish Public Workers’ Union (Türkiye Kamu-Sen) will be marching in the northwestern province of Bursa, Turkey’s automobile and textile capital.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy İzzet Çetin held the ruling party responsible for this division.

“True to its policy of dividing everyone in line with its interests, the AKP has succeeded in dividing the laborers for May 1,” Çetin told reporters yesterday.

Taksim Square was reopened to celebrations in 2009, some 32 years after deadly celebrations in 1977 in which 34 people were killed.

Istanbul’s Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said 14,000 security personnel would be on duty today in Istanbul, adding that reinforcements were ready in case of an emergency.

Mutlu has warned that he will not allow Labor Day to be celebrated in Taksim again if any negative incidents happen. “Labor committees said they shared the same concerns with us [about the security issue] many times. That’s why we know that there is a common sense here ... my warnings are against marginal groups,” he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, for the first time in Turkey’s history a movement called “Muslim Anti-Capitalists” was set to join the Labor Day Celebrations to march with leftist organizations. The Islamist group used a tagline saying “Wealth belongs only to Allah” on their invitation, and announced that they would perform prayers in the historic Fatih Mosque before heading to Taksim.

Members of the “RedHack” group, which recently brought down the Ankara Police Department’s and Interior Ministry’s websites, have also called on its supporters to attend the celebrations by wearing Guy Fawkes masks from the V for Vendetta movie.

Turkey, May 1, Labor Day