Labor Day, Istanbul May 1, 1977

It was evident that May 1st celebrations were better organized in 1977. I arrived in İstanbul a few days earlier to pick my DISK press card. This time, my area of work encompassed the Taksim neighborhood over Saraçhane and Tarlabaşı. There was political tension, but Taksim Square was full. It all began after DISK President Kemal Türkler delivered his address and the one-minute silence commenced. I was taking photographs at the podium at that instant. I was only able to capture a single frame. For security reasons, as gun fire started on the podium, they brought us down from the podium and put us down on the floor to keep us protected. I remember being face to face with Kemal Türkler. As the sound of gunshots mixed with bomb explosions in that panic environment, I thought, “This must be it,” and began to wait. Soon, an off-road vehicle drove Kemal Türkler from the area; I went back up the podium when the sounds diminished. The square was completely empty; there were people on the ground surrounded by banners and signs. The next day, I learned that 37 people had died. The paramilitary forces that created the incident could not be found within the past 40 years and the incident was not enlightened.

 

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