First of May – workers’ struggle in Istanbul

1 May in Istanbul

(2 May 2024) Joining the EPSU affiliates of the Turkish confederations DISK and KESK for 1 May in Istanbul was an eventful day. It started with meeting leadership of Genel-Is and DISK to discuss the current political and economic situation. Turkey is plagued by high inflation which is not offset by pay increases. Precarious jobs are rampant and problems with democracy, union rights and collective bargaining remain. We also discussed the issues Istanbul is facing like the lack of affordable housing.

We set off for Sarachane square in the municipality of Bȕyȕkşehir, part of Istanbul. We had to go there as the governor ignored the wish of the unions and other organisations to meet in Taksim square, the historical meeting place of the unions for 1 May. He forbade a gathering there and put rings of fences around the square. The unions contested this referring to a verdict of the European Court of Human Rights and the constitutional court in Turkey.  To prevent people gathering in mass numbers all major roads were blocked, all public transport (trams, trains, busses, ferries) was cancelled and the Sarachane square surrounded by riot-gear wearing police. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, the greetings by the recently re-elected mayor of Istanbul Ekrem İmamoğlu and several members of Parliament,  police prevented people from continuing. The police removed all protestors from the square.

Apart from the 1st May in Istanbul, the affiliates of DISK and KESK organised many demonstrations across the country including in Ankara, Izmir and Van. The affiliates of the confederation Turk-Is gathered in Bursa for a large national rally while the affiliates in HAK-Is joined a national event in Kocaeli.


For more background

-  Statement of Disk with affiliates Genel-Is and Devrim-Saglik-Is.

-  Position of KESK, the public service workers  confederation with unions Tumbel-Sen, Yapi-yol-Sen, SES, BES, ESM.

-  The Turk-Is confederation meeting in Bursa announced it would be holding 1 May next year in Istanbul Turk-Is includes affiliates Belediye-Is, Yol-Is and Saglik-Is.

-  Message of the HAK-Is with affiliate Hizmet-Is.

-  Journalist report on the event 

  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
  • 1 May in Istanbul
Türkiye