Government under fire for May Day violence

Government under fire for May Day violence

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Government under fire for May Day violence

Galatasaray fans celebrated their league championship in Taksim May 5. AA photo

A clash between the police and protesters during May Day celebrations, inflamed by a ban on entering the symbolic Taksim Square, led the opposition to castigate the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

The opposition put the blame on the government during the parliamentary group meetings yesterday, for the disproportionate use of force, banning the entry to the square and the reckless statements following the incidents. The government remained defiant, however. 

In defense of their ban on entering Taksim Square for May Day celebrations, despite allowing Galatasaray’s championship celebrations, Interior Minister Muammer Güler blamed it on spontaneity, saying, “It happens spontaneously in Taksim, what we can do?”

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu censured the approach of the AKP toward the May Day celebrations. “Because an instruction came from the dictator. He said ‘You will not celebrate the feast there.’ This order was complied with,” he said. 

Another critique came from Gültan Kışanak, the co-leader of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), condemning the banning in the first place. 

“The mentality that bans the May 1 is the mentality that does not wish to see the power of labor. Banning May 1 is a big mistake and we can never accept this. Laborers will celebrate wherever they would like to. The history of labor struggle is written in Taksim Square,” she said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, meanwhile, put the blame on a whole series of actors while underlining the existence of provocateurs. 

“Marginal and extremist organizations’ militants who benefited from this environment, took the stage and once more showed monstrously how they exploit violence and attacks,” he said.