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Taksim is the place for May Day Ceremony

Leading Turkish labor UNIONs announced Thursday that they would gather in a “reasonable numbers” to hold May Day celebrations in Istanbul’s controversial Taksim Square.

The decision was made public by Suleyman Celebi, chairman of the Confederation of Progressive  Trade UNIONs of Turkey (DISK), in a joint press conference with the heads KESK, TMMOB and TTB.


Turkey banned all celebrations or party meetings in Taksim Square in 1977, after 36 people were killed during May Day celebrations when still-unidentified gunmen opened fire. The incident is seen as a turning point in Turkish history and an important event that paved the way for the military coup in 1980.


“We will be in reasonable numbers. This number should not be compared with other organizations,” said Celebi, whose organization, DISK, has more than 400,000 members. 


“Tomorrow we want to be in Taksim in a free environment in accordance with the nature of the day” he said. He added the UNIONs definitely would not support or encourage violence during the celebrations.


Turkish officials, including President Abdullah Gul, earlier this week met with UNION chiefs to convince them to hold celebrations at any place but Taksim Square.


May Day celebrations brought the Turkish UNIONs and government to loggerheads in 2007 and 2008, and thousands of demonstrators were taken into custody. This year, the Turkish Parliament declared May 1 an official holiday. 


DİSK and KESK are going to meet in Pangaltı at 10 am to march through Taksim Square. International trade UNION delegation of 100 people is going to be with Turkish trade UNIONs. Representatives from ITF, ICEM, ICATU and trade UNIONs from  German, Greek, Italian, French, Indian, Austrian, Arabic Trade UNIONs will be there.


“We will be waiting for the executives and representatives of the labor institutions in ‘reasonable numbers’ with flowers in Taksim tomorrow,” Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler said earlier Thursday.


He added the Confederation of Turkish Labor UNIONs, or Turk-Is, would be at Taksim Square with a group of 500-600 people and the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade UNIONs, or Hak-Is, with at most 1,000 people.