Turkey main opposition in 'high-profile' May Day show
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
ANKARA - Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party, has announced all its members will attend Labor Day celebrations.
The party's deputy chairman and party spokesperson, Haluk Koc, said at a meeting of his party's top decision-making body Wednesday that those who attend May Day celebrations across the country should use common sense in the face of any provocation, and called on police to act responsibly.
He pointed out that during May Day celebrations held in Istanbul's Taksim Square in 2010, 2011 and 2012, no one has been harmed.
Rallies at the square were not permitted by the government last year due to extensive construction work. However, some unions insisted on marching, but were stopped by security officials.
The office of Istanbul's governor has said that Taksim Square would not be open to May Day demonstrations due to intelligence reports indicating that "illegal terrorist organizations" could provoke violence against security forces.
Taksim Square has remained closed to Labor Day protests in 1977 after 36 people died during riots which broke out after unidentified gunmen fired on a 500,000-strong crowd. It reopened in 2010.
- 'Constitutional crime'
Meanwhile, Koc criticized Istanbul Public Prosecutor Mehmet Demir for calling on main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to testify as a 'suspect' in an ongoing investigation, the subject of which has not been disclosed.
Koc said the prosecutor was at fault as Kilicdaroglu, being a deputy in the Turkish parliament, enjoyed legislative immunity.
The party deputy Bulent Tezcan filed a complaint against the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) on Wednesday, saying the prosecutor had committed a "constitutional crime."
The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office said on Tuesday the prosecutor's call was made "mistakenly"' and a legal process had begun to withdraw it.
- Egypt death sentences
Koc also criticized a decision by a court in Upper Egypt's Minya province on Monday to sentence to death 37 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and commute 491 death penalties to life imprisonment.
He said "we are against death sentences" and added that the court decision would not bring peace to Egypt.
"We are ... not interfering in Egypt's internal affairs, but we want to point out the importance of peace, brotherhood and sustainability," he added.
The court also referred 683 other defendants, including Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie, to Egypt's top religious official for possible death sentences on violence charges.
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