Tag Archives: tear gas

Turkey Arrest Professor Over May Day Incidents

Nongovernment organizations and political leaders have strongly criticized the Turkish government for its detention of Professor Gencay Gursov, chair of the Turkish Medical Association(TTB), who was allegedly arrested because doctors provided medical assistance to demonstrators in the May Day attack by police and army units against workers. His detention came two days after the TTB issued a criminal complaint against Istanbul police officers who used tear gas against workers who had taken shelter in the emergency services of the Sisli Etfai hoospital during May Day demonstrations.

Onder Okay, head of the Ankara Medical A ssociation stated bluntly: “We know the real cause of the detention. We, doctors, do not accept being detained and kept silent.” In most nations of Europe, workers marched peacefully on May Day, but in Turkey, the govenment used its power to smash this peaceful form of worker pride. It is apparent the Turkish government fears the power of workers and this will be an issue when it applies for membership in the European Union.

Does the Muslim oriented Justice and Development Party of Turkey fear the emergence of a more secular worker movement?

May Day Mayhem In Turkey

May Day is an occasion during which working people throughout the world march in demonstrations that ordinarily entail nothing more than a peaceful stroll through the streets of a major city. But, May Day in Instanbul, turned into a something short of torture for demonstrators, tourists, expats, journalists and the average citizen because the Turkish government exerted its power against trade unions. As the day began, thousands of police were stationed on roads leading into Taksim Square where unions wanted to hold their rally, the square has symbolic value to those in the union movement. Observers noted the police outnumbered marchers and the scene at the square became surreal as marchers clashed with police and soon were assaulted by a barrage of gas which caused many to choke and gasp for breath.

A Finnish born doctor living in great Britain named Margarita, noted in most countries, May Day is a time for “holiday, big peaceful demonstrations. This is bloody annoying. I am terrified.” Soysal, a deputy with the CHP tried to stand up to police and urge, “Don’t do this, it is wrong. Police provoked the people here. May Day is celebrated all around the world as a day of celebrations, workers paid the price for this right. But the government does not want to hear the voice of the workers. The ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP) does not want an organized opposition.”

During the day, police even sent tear gas into the Sisli Etfai hospital causing patients to flee in terror. The police claim they arrested about 500 demonstrators but union offiicals believe the total is closer to 900.

The real result of this massive use of police power for no purpose other than to demonstrate the power of government is the impact of the AKP’s actions on its proposed membership in the European Union. Few EU governments will tolerate such abuse of the rights of workers to demonstrate peacefully on an important holiday.