CHP supports labor unions’ call to celebrate May 1 in Taksim Square

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has invited all workers to Istanbul’s Taksim Square on May 1, supporting calls made by various labor unions to reopen the symbolic location for Workers' Day celebrations.   

Duvar English

Deputy chair of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Gamze Taşçıer, on April 18 invited all workers to celebrate Labor Day at Istanbul’s emblematic Taksim Square during a press conference. 

Taşçıer shared the party’s message to all workers of Turkey while emphasizing the poor economic conditions in the country. 

“The unemployed, retirees, civil servants, blue-collar workers, white-collar workers, they are all unhappy. Everyone in Turkey who earns a living with their labor and sweat is unhappy. Because no one believes they receive the compensation they deserve for their labor,” she said.  

In the face of this hardship, May 1 was a “symbolic day of struggle” for the party. 

“Such a symbolic day naturally has a symbolic location for us, and that is Taksim Square,” the deputy chair held. "We are well aware that Erdogan has turned Taksim into a closed prison every May 1st for years."

The party called to implement the 2023 Constitutional Court ruling that lifted the ban on Labor Day gatherings at Taksim Square. 

“We want the square to be opened to millions of people, not just a limited number of symbolic permits,” Taşçıer continued, repeating demands by unions and democratic civil organizations on this issue.

The party criticized the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for  attempting to create a May 1 culture detached from its historical significance and the “reality of struggle.” 

The CHP invited the working class that is being rendered organizationless and isolated, minimum wage earners, retirees, and “everyone who says 'enough' to double standards, oppression, and exploitation,” to the town squares on May 1st.

“We will be out in the city squares to say 'Yes to living, No to merely surviving,'” stated the deputy chair

Even though Taksim Square has been the historic center for Workers’ Day celebrations, the Turkish government has banned any protest at the square since 2013 and only allowed labor union representatives to hold a symbolic vigil.

In December 2023, the Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled that denying permission for the May 1 celebrations in Taksim Square in 2014 and 2015 constituted a violation of rights. AYM determined that the right to "assembly and demonstration" was violated, emphasizing Taksim's significance as the "shared memory" and "symbolic value" of workers.