Turkey labor minister warns of Labor Day provocations

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Faruk Celik calls on unions to give up demand for holding rally in Istanbul's Taksim square for the sake of public securtiy

Faruk Celik calls on unions to give up demand for holding rally in Istanbul's Taksim square for the sake of public securtiy

ANKARA - Turkey's labor minister on Wednesday called on the country's trade unions to give up their demand for holding Labor Day rallies in Istanbul's Taksim Square in a bid to prevent the day to be marred by 'provocations.'

In a conference titled "Ten Years of Work Life in Turkey" at the Ankara-based Institute of Strategic Thinking, Faruk Celik said the government had taken numerous steps in favor of laborers including the declaration of the previously banned day as an official holiday – the 'Day of Labor and Solidarity.'

"I hereby call on the unions insistent on holding rally in the Taksim Square to take a step for the sake of public security and hold their rallies at the Yenikapi square instead," he said.

He said Taksim was not appropriate for such a big meeting and there were two proper rally squares in Istanbul. 

"Istanbul governorate will provide all conveniences and logistics for the unions which will celebrate the Labor Day in other squares," said Celik.

He said the country's two biggest unions HAK-IS and TURK-IS announced to hold their rallies in other squares, but there were some unions who tried to provoke street violence.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kani Beko, chairman of the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions, said they would be in Taksim "to oppose an irrational and unlawful ban."

Chairmans of the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) also stood with Beko at the press conference. 

Istanbul governor's office said Taksim Square would not be open to May Day demonstrations due to intelligence reports which indicate that “illegal terrorist organizations” would provoke violence against security forces.

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