Security Message for U.S. Citizens: May Day (Labor Day) Celebrations

May Day (Labor Day) Celebrations

April 29, 2016

Embassy of the United States of America, Ankara, Turkey

  The U.S. Embassy Ankara informs U.S. citizens that Turkey celebrates International Workers’ Day on May 1.  Historically, organized rallies and marches have created security and traffic challenges throughout the country. Specifics on this year’s gatherings are detailed below.

May Day (Labor Day) Demonstrations on Sunday, May 1, 2016


Organized rallies and demonstrations are being planned in the Bakirkoy Bazaar area of Bakirkoy District near Ataturk International Airport.  Spontaneous rallies and demonstrations may occur with little or no warning throughout Istanbul and other urban areas in the surrounding cities.  Be aware of the potential for violent confrontation between demonstrators and security personnel.  Taksim Square, the site of previous rallies commemorating International Workers’ Day, will be designated a high security area and sealed off by security forces.  


Thousands are expected to demonstrate in Sihhiye and Ulus squares.  Major roads around Ulus and Sihhiye will be closed to traffic due to demonstrations.  Demonstrations are scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. and will end at 5:00 p.m.  Authorities anticipate that labor unions may attempt to march to Kizilay.  Last year, riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters marching to Kizilay. 


Labor Day demonstrations will start at 10:00 a.m. at various locations including Konak Pier, Alsancak Train Station and Cumhuriyet Square‎ going towards Gundogdu Square for a rally that is expected to conclude at 5:00 p.m.  Large crowds and a heavy security presence are expected.


Demonstrations are expected to take place at the Train Station Square (Ugur Mumcu Square), Inonu Park, and Ataturk Street at 14:30 on Sunday, May 1.  Additional events are likely, as various labor groups will stage several protests throughout the weekend in Adana in commemoration of Labor Day.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara urges U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to exercise caution and avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens should watch local media for details and for detailed information on related demonstrations in other Turkish cities.

For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Turkey’s Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara, at +90-312-455-5555, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +90-312-455-5555 or +90-212-335-9000 (U.S. Consulate General Istanbul).
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, located at 2 Uçsehitler Sokagi, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, at +90-212-335-9000.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate in Adana, located at 212 Girne Bulvari, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana at +90-322-455-4100.
  • Contact the Consular Agency in Izmir at
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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