Meeting of Turkey's opposition parties discusses May Day

ANKARA - Turkey's opposition leaders have discussed Labor Day and the presidential elections during a meeting Tuesday.

Turkey's Republican People's Party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, criticized the government's refusal to permit any gatherings in Istanbul's Taksim Square for celebrating Labor Day. 

Kilicdaroglu added that "people should celebrate their own holidays where they want."

Last year, due to extensive construction work at Taksim Square, the Turkish government did not permit any Labor Day rallies at the site. Even so, unions insisted on marching, but were stopped by security officials.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Chairman Selahattin Demirtas said that he and party members plan to be at the site May 1 during the meeting. 

"What could be the reason behind the ban of the celebration of May 1 in Taksim Square?" Demirtas asked.

Back in 1977 on May 1, some 500,000 people had gathered in Taksim Square to celebrate Labor Day when unidentified gunmen fired on the crowd. Riots and fighting ensued leaving 36 dead and the government closed Taksim Square to Labor Day protests until 2010.

During the meeting, Turkey's Supreme Election Board decision on voiding the mayoral election results in Yalova was also debated with Kilicdaroglu saying he believed the citizens should stand behind their elected mayor.

The board voted 9-2 Monday to void the mayoral election results in Yalova, a province on the eastern coast of the Sea of Marmara, following the findings of a local election commission. The findings of the commission have established that seven people not eligible to vote did so. 

Regarding the upcoming presidential elections in August, Demirtas said "if we want a president that represents all of the people, we should show our will at the polls." 

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