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From today’s Turkish press


KURDISH PROBLEM/TURKISH ELECTIONS: Rahmi Turan argues that the government has changed its tune on the Kurdish peace process in secular, Kemalist tabloid Sozcu: "The peace process is blocked for now, according to HDP [pro-Kurdish leftist alliance] member Sureyya Onder. This was only to be expected. For years, we have been saying that sitting at the table and negotiating with terrorists who have weapons in their hands was sheer nonsense. Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister, insisted on a settlement, and said they were going to resolve the Kurdish problem. Now the same Erdogan is saying the complete opposite. The ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) is apparently panicking because it can see its votes shifting toward the opposition parties. That is why its narrative has changed."


MAY DAY PROTESTS: Guneri Civaoglu fears for what may happen at today’s planned May Day protests in centrist Milliyet: "May 1st poses a painful challenge once again. The government has closed Taksim Square [Istanbul site of previous protests]. The worker-civil servant unions and NGOs are determined to gather at Taksim. I hope there will be no incidents. What is behind this mutual attitude of obstinacy?"

Oral Calislar calls for peaceful celebrations in centre-left Radikal: "Due to the tense climate, May 1st has not been celebrated in Istanbul as the festival of workers for a long time. The workers cannot express their demands. Let us accept that the party actually responsible for this is the government that does not open the square to demonstrations. But are those who insist on entering the square despite the ban, not preparing the atmosphere for those irresponsible elements that just want to confuse matters? It is possible to celebrate May 1st in a peaceful manner despite the ban."

Gungor Mengi charges the government with over-reaction in centrist Vatan: "They say that 40,000 policemen will be on duty at Taksim today. 40,000 policemen will be deployed to a square where there will be 10,000 demonstrators at most. Why? Is it necessary to be afraid of Taksim Square forever? With the impending general elections, and if chaos is not the object, is it impossible for the police to take the necessary measures beforehand and open Taksim to both workers and unions on a day that is globally celebrated as the Workers' Festival? We all want May 1st to end without incident, but one should not also forget that the right to celebrate festivals and demonstrate is also a constitutional right."

Emre Kongar suggests that the government suffers from political agoraphobia in secular, Kemalist Cumhuriyet: "Democratic governments are not afraid of streets and squares, because democratic governments arise from there! Democracy does not live behind closed doors, but on the streets and squares. Governments of countries on whose streets and squares there is no democracy, are not democratic! Agoraphobia means the fear of open spaces and crowds." 

Ihsan Caralan accuses Ankara of police terror tactics in leftist Evrensel: "The Istanbul governor and the AKP government behind him who have ordered the May 1st ban on Taksim and defended it by absurdly evoking six legal articles, seem to have achieved their goal this year. In fact, they have declared martial law in Istanbul today. They want to suffocate the city with tear gas and water cannons, and leave it to police terror." 



The Iranian press does not appear on Friday



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