Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has rejected a request from Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK) Chairman Kani Beko to hold May Day celebrations in İstanbul’s Taksim Square, according to the HaberTürk TV station on Monday.
HaberTürk reported that Soylu, who met with Beko on Monday, turned down Beko’s request to hold May Day celebrations in Taksim Square, which has long been the heart of these events.
Until 2009, Taksim was off limits to demonstrators following May Day 1977, also known as Bloody May Day, when 34 people were killed after unknown assailants opened fire on the crowd. Since then, May Day in Turkey has always been a source of tension.
In 2009, the government decided to declare May Day an official holiday and opened Taksim Square up for festivities. About three decades after Bloody May Day, under tight security, Taksim Square became the venue of peaceful celebrations aside from a few minor incidents in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Yet, Turkey has been engaged in the same debates on Taksim for the past four years.