Authorities prep security measures for May Day in Taksim
Turkish authorities began taking security measures in Istanbul’s historic Taksim Square a day before May 1, International Workers’ Day, despite a government ban to mark the event there.
Barriers encircling the square were placed by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality staff on April 29.
Celebrations in Taksim, as has been the case since 2012, were not permitted this year as well, although the day is recognized as an official holiday, and Taksim, a symbolic location for it.
Kani Beko, head of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) announced on April 10 that the union will be spearheading the celebrations in Istanbul’s Maltepe district due to the ban.
In 2017, DİSK and other labor unions, such as the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) celebrated May 1 in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district despite efforts to keep the Taksim tradition.
DİSK cited a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling from 2012, in which the court noted the symbolic importance of Taksim due to the 1977 Labor Day Celebrations when 37 people died after an eruption of violence.
Following a committee meeting on April 11, DİSK decided to insist on their demand to mark the May Day at Taksim Square, specifically referring to the square’s symbolic value.
In its November 2012 verdict, the ECHR noted that “in 1977, during Labor Day celebrations in Taksim Square, 37 people died after clashes had broken out. Taksim Square became a symbol of that tragic event and it is for this reason that the applicants insisted on organizing Labor Day celebrations in Taksim.”