In the run up to May 1, discussions regarding where the Labour Day celebrations would take place in Istanbul are prominent. Unions and trade associations decided to celebrate Labour Day in Bakırköy as the government has forbidden Taksim Square for celebrations.
Chairmen of DISK (Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions), TMMOB (Chamber of Mechanical Engineers), KESK (Confederation of Public Labourer’s Unions) and TTB (Turkish Medical Association) conducted a meeting with governor Vasip Şahin, and tried to decide the exact location of Labour Day celebrations. After the meeting, Kani Beko who is the chairman of DISK made a short statement on behalf of labour organizations in front of the governor’s office, and said “Governorship didn’t lean towards us to celebrate Labour Day in Taksim Square. Therefore, we are going to come together with the unions, trade associations and political party representatives in order to determine the location of Labour Day celebrations.”
After the meeting of labour organizations and political party representatives, they decided to celebrate Labour Day in Bakırköy due to the increasing terrorist threat. In addition, they stated “We had a talk with governorship about taking necessary security precautions in the meeting area”. According to the governorship’s statement, approximately 25,000 police were on duty.
Labour Day Affected Traffic in Certain Neighbourhoods
On 1 May, Taksim Metro Station and Taksim-Kabataş funicular railway were out of service. Also, Taksim Square and İstiklal Street were closed to traffic. In Beyoğlu neighbourhood, İstiklal Street, Tarlabaşı Boulevard, Mete Street, Gümüşsuyu Street and Sıraselviler Street were closed to traffic. Also, in the European side of Istanbul, traffic redirections applied in certain streets and neighbourhoods such as Unkapanı Bridge, Karaköy, Kasımpaşa, Dolapdere, Şişli and Beşiktaş.
News and Events from Labour Day Celebrations
Celebrations in Bakırköy started with the gathering of activists in an assembly area at around 10:00. After Anatolian folk dances, slogans and press statements, a large majority of the crowded dispersed without incident at around 16:00.
This year, compared to previous years, Labour Day Celebrations were uneventful. However, according to Istanbul Bar Association’s statement, 169 Activists were taken into custody by police by the reason of staging an unpermitted demonstration.
Unfortunately, a sad event took place in Taksim neighbourhood. A riot control vehicle crashed into a 57-years old man in Tarlabaşı Boulevard. The victim, Nail Mavuş, was hospitalized after the accident. Despite all efforts of healthcare personnel, he lost his life in hospital.
Terrorist Actions overshadowed Labour Day Celebrations
On the other hand, terrorist attacks which hit Gaziantep and Kilis overshadowed Labour Day celebrations in the whole of Turkey. The Turkish public was shocked by the news coming from Gaziantep and Kilis- two south-east cities of Turkey- . At the morning hours, terrorists belonging to ISIS attacked to the Gaziantep Police Headquarters by a bomb laden vehicle. As a result of this terrorist attack, 2 police officers were killed and 19 police officers were wounded. Simultaneously with Gaziantep attack, 2 rockets which are launched by ISIS militants from Syria fell into the centre of Kilis. Luckily, it didn’t cause any loss of life.
Born and raised in Istanbul where I’m a medical student at YeditepeUniversity.