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Friday’s Turkish dailies mostly dedicated their front pages to news about May Day protests in Istanbul where security forces used tear gas and water cannon to block demonstrators from entering the city’s central Taksim Square.
Some dailies also covered Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with a senior Armenian cleric, Archbishop Aram Ateshian of the Armenian Patriarchate.
Daily SABAH headlined: "Festival on one side, terror on the other,” a reference to different Labor Day celebrations on Istanbul’s European and Asian shores. The newspaper reported that “Workers danced in the Anatolian part of Istanbul while in the European part protesters threw stones.”
"Masked terror" reported daily YENI SAFAK, adding that the insistence of unions on celebrating May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square overshadowed festivities elsewhere. “Masked groups terrorized Taksim with molotovs and blast bombs,” the daily said.
HURRIYET DAILY NEWS ran with "Turkish police prevent May Day Demonstrations in Taksim.” The paper claimed that Turkish officials’ refusal to open Taksim Square resulted in battles and traffic chaos around the city as police ultimately succeeded in blocking entry to Taksim. Elsewhere in Turkey, the holiday passed largely peacefully.
Taksim Square has symbolic status for trade unionists and labor activists in Turkey. On May 1, 1977, as some 500,000 people gathered there to celebrate Labor Day unidentified gunmen fired on the peaceful crowd. Thirty-six people died in the rioting and fighting which followed. Taksim Square remained closed to Labor Day demonstrations between 1977 and 2010.
Turkish dailies also covered PM Erdogan’s meeting with Archbishop Aram Ateshian.
DAILY SABAH reported that Ateshian expressed pleasure with Prime Minister Erdogan’s condolence message on the 1915 incidents during a visit to the prime ministry.
“Do not let the extended olive branch dry,” headlined AKSAM. The daily said that PM Erdogan was the first Turkish politician who expressed his condolence to the Armenian community on the anniversary of the 1915 incidents in the Ottoman Empire.
Daily MILLIYET quoted Archbishop Ateshian saying: “The two communities should come together.”
On April 23, Erdogan said: "Regardless of their ethnic or religious origins, we pay tribute with compassion and respect to all Ottoman citizens who lost their lives in the events of 1915."
The Armenian diaspora and government describe the 1915 events as ‘genocide’ and have asked for compensation. Turkey says that although Armenians died during relocation, many Turks also died in attacks carried out by Armenian gangs in Anatolia.Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Mayıs 2014, 11:19