May 1 celebrations to be held in Istanbul’s Bakırköy instead of Taksim Square

May 1 celebrations to be held in Istanbul’s Bakırköy instead of Taksim Square

May 1 celebrations to be held in Istanbul’s Bakırköy instead of Taksim Square

AA photo

May Day celebrations in Istanbul will be held in the city’s Bakırköy district this year after authorities again refused to heed workers’ demands to use Taksim Square, the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) said on April 26.

DİSK Chair Kani Beko said they would use Bakırköy’s public market, which is located in front of the courthouse, as a venue for a celebration of the workers’ holiday, adding that they were hoping to celebrate May 1 in peace across Turkey.

The decision on Bakırköy was taken alongside the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Turkish Union of Doctors (TTB) and the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects’ (TMMOB).

“May 1 witnesses magnificent meetings all over the world. Workers freely express their opinions, hopes and feelings in the streets as they wish. Unfortunately, May 1 is celebrated under the shadow of government bans in Turkey. The government imposes a place that it favors for celebrations and does not give an ear to workers for their demands,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Labor Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said  “security” was a priority issue for the celebration.

“We will celebrate May 1 in Tandoğan Square in Ankara. Security is a priority issue for the celebrations,” he said.  

Müezzinoğlu also commented on the debates on May Day celebrations in Taksim Square, describing workers’ yearning for celebrations in Taksim as “persistence.”

“If there is no problem with regard to security, celebrations will be held in [Taksim]. But, there is a problem in security; the most important thing is celebrating May Day across the country in peace,” he said.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told Beko on April 24 that the government would not permit May Day celebrations in Taksim, adding that celebrations could only be celebrated at venues permitted by the Istanbul Governor’s Office. 

Taksim Square is a symbolic venue for Turkey’s left after suspected ultranationalists opened fire from what is now the Marmara Hotel, killed at least 34 people in 1977.

Türk-İş, one of the leading workers’ trade union confederations in the country, will hold a celebration in Ankara’s Anadolu Square, formerly known as Tandoğan, for the first time after many years.

The Hak-İş Trade Union Confederation will hold an event in the eastern province of Erzurum. The conservative trade confederation has previously held its May Day rallies in different provinces such as the northwestern province of Sakarya, the Central Anatolian provinces of Kayseri and Konya and the northern province of Karabük.