Labour Day 1 May in Istanbul – Symbol of struggle or celebration?

Turkey´s government had declared May Day a public holiday this year. May Day celebrations were banned in Taksim Square in 1978 after workers were allowed in to commemorate the painful incidents of the year before. From this year on, May 1 Labor Day will be celebrated again as a legal holiday. Around 5,000 people participated in peaceful May Day celebrations in Istanbul´s controversial Taksim Square on Friday for the first tim in 31 years, making a history day in Turkey. However, May Day in Istanbul turned again violent and into clashes during the demonstrations. For years, Istanbul’s famous center has been at the focus of violent clashes between the police and leftist groups and workers’ unions, who press hard to get into the square despite the usual ban on demonstrations by the Istanbul governor.

Job seekers are facing diminishing chance to find works as the number of unemployed people keeps growing. Although being skilled, having a good CV or being a university graduate used to be significant in finding a job, times are desperate and young people are really pessimistic about their future.

Almost one in three young people in Turkey is without a job and the government fears social unrest and increased ethnic tension because of the downturn. Unemployment in the country has reached 15.5 percent with almost one in three young people without a job.

Labour day on 1 May in Turkey – Fighting day  for one´s rights in this bad labour market situation or official holdiday celebrating this day, but if so is there a reason to celebrate on the streets ?


5 thoughts on “Labour Day 1 May in Istanbul – Symbol of struggle or celebration?

  1. ..i can imagine that situation in Turkey is not easy, of course, it is related to people´s lives..but in Slovakia is 1 May strongly connected with communism, red colour, lot of people in the streets with banners and words like “Česť práci!” for those who understand and for those who not, i am sorry,maybe someone with better english skills can translate it, it has something to do with honour and work..and nowadays for lot of young people it is just a day off 😀

  2. to blavacka: I am very amused now 🙂 Of course, 1st of May was very big feast when people were going with banners and so on. But i know this only from speaking my parents and older people. You did not mention that this was maybe 20years in the past for not confuse other readers 🙂 So, in my opinion, nowadays is this feast for all of people in Slovakia just day off.

  3. ..i apologize to all confused people 🙂 ..niveolo is right..1 May does not look like it used to..there should be some revival 😀

  4. From my point of view the unemployment of youth people is a problem which is facing by whole Europe. Sure the numbers are not in all countries so high like in Turkey but this not an excuse for fighting on the street. In Berlin youth people also use the 1 May each year for street fights with the police. Even for this reason young people from all parts of Germany arrive in the city on the first May. Perhaps in the beginning there were some political reasons but the last years their fight only for the fight.

  5. In Hungary the radical people (most of them are young people) just get each and every opportunity to go down the streets and fight with the police. On 1 May and on every national holdiay. Some of them because of political reason, but I really think that it is closely linked to the bad economic conditions of the country. Anyway, if the people have work, they might be that satisfied (but at least occupied)not to go to fight…


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