Turkish union insists on marking May Day in Taksim Square
ISTANBULThe Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) has insisted on holding May 1 International Workers’ Day celebrations in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, rejecting a suggestion from main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul head Cemal Canpolat to refrain from “obsessing about Taksim.”
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 May Day at Taksim Square, specifically referring to the square’s symbolic value.
“We have 37 friends who were slaughtered at Taksim in 1977. Taksim should be the venue for unity and cooperation on May 1,” the union was quoted as saying by daily Cumhuriyet on April 12.
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 the Labor Day celebrations in Taksim.”
Although recognized as an official holiday, May Day celebrations have not been permitted in Taksim Square since 2012.
An April 6 report by Cumhuriyet stated that the Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions (Memur-Sen) had applied to the Istanbul Governor’s Office to hold May Day celebrations at Taksim Square but their request was rejected.