The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that several Labor Unions throughout Turkey will celebrate Labor Day, also known as the International Workers’ Day, on May 1. The Embassy advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to be alert to the potential for violence on May 1, to avoid those areas where disturbances have occurred, and to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. Everyone should practice astute personal security awareness and remain vigilant at all times.
May Day (Labor Day) Demonstrations on Friday, May 1, 2015
Following the lifting of the decades-long ban on May Day demonstrations in 2010 and the designation of May 1 as a national holiday, May Day events have been generally peaceful. In 2013, however, police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters who attempted to march to Taksim Square.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office has approved the Yenikapı (Europe side) and Pendik (Asia side) areas as the official protest/demonstration locations on May 1. The U.S. Consulate General strongly recommends that all U.S. citizens avoid these areas, as well as Taksim Square, where the potential for unofficial protests/demonstrations exists.
In Ankara, thousands will celebrate Labor Day in Sihhiye and Ulus squares on May 1st. Major roads around Ulus and Sihhiye will be closed to traffic due to celebrations. Celebrations are scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. and will end at 5:00 p.m. Turkish National Police (TNP) anticipates that demonstrators might attempt to march to the Kizilay area. TNP expects more than 20,000 people at each of two different demonstrations – Abdi Ipekci Park (Sihhiye Square) and Tandogan Square (Besevler). The police have said that portions of Ataturk Boulevard and Hipodrom Caddesi as well as other side roads will be closed to traffic. Last year on May 1st riot police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters marching to Kizilay.
In Adana at 1:00 p.m., groups will gather in front of the Yasar Kemal Culture Center located at the intersection of Ziyapasa Blvd and D-400 road. They will then proceed to walk North on Ziyapasa Blvd to Ugur Mumci Square (train station) where there will be a music concert at 3:00 p.m. Additionally, members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will gather in 5 January Square (south of the D400) at 2:30 p.m. for the celebration.
For detailed information on related demonstrations in other Turkish cities, American citizens should watch local media for details.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Monitor the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution on State Department’s website. Read the Country Specific Information for Turkey. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist.”
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.
Contact information for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey:
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklıdere, 06100 Ankara, tel: (90) 312-455-5555, fax (90) 312-468-6131.
The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is located at İstinye Mahallesi, Üç Şehitler Sokak No.2, İstinye 34460, İstanbul, tel: (90) 212-335-9000, fax (90) 212-335-9102.
The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at 212 Girne Boulevard, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yüregir, Adana, tel: (90) 322-346-6262, fax (90) 322-346-7916.